Recreating specific styles of play requires specific players to be able to pull of, what you’re creating. This means that over time you need to identify possible transfer targets so when you do have the resources to improve the squad, you make the correct player choice. For me this is one of the most important factors to being successful as I only buy players, who complement the style of play I’ve created or is currently creating. I’ve not really done a post like this before but it’s one people are always asking for. Hopefully what this article outlines is my approach on identifying specific potential transfer targets not only short-term but with long-term in mind. It’s not unusual for me to be looking at players I’ll be buying in three or four seasons time.
At the very start of the game, I normally send my scouts out all over the world to increase the amount of players I know and see what they bring up. However as I was in League One and then the Championship I can’t afford to do that straight away, so I have to manually search for players for the time being (as well as relying on scouts scouting limited areas). Obviously though, I’ll be aware of some players from other saved games. I’ve also used a shortlist I made on a previous save with Swansea, to make the job easier initially to identify possible players. Squad building with the Arsenal Invincibles in mind though is even trickier as I’m looking for specific traits that a player must have, or that I think they’ll be able to learn.
For the foreseeable future the current goalkeeper I have at the club, is capable of playing up until the Premiership. Plus I will be able to attract good loan players for this position. So the planning here is very much long-term and seeing as I can’t be in the Premiership any quickly than two years, then I’m trying to identify players for that time frame or longer. So I set my filters up like this;
I’ve set the age limit to be no older than twenty-seven years old, this is because in two to three years time they’ll be in their thirties and that means the player might be too old for what I’m creating. I want to build a squad that will be able to play together for seven or eight seasons and I’m not sure someone thirty years old fits that. Also it’s going to take me four or five seasons to find all the players I want and then I have to find the resources to be able to afford them.
Anyway, back to the keepers. You’ll see I also set some attributes to look for. The key here is to look for specific attributes you want the keeper to have but try to keep them to a minimum so you don’t miss good players who might have one attribute low. What I tend to do here is look for between three or five attributes that are vital. This way the player pool is bigger and you can then look at the player's profile and add them to your shortlists and scout them or ignore them, but at least you’ll have been aware of them.
Looking through the list above the players valued the highest aren’t going to be realistic options at this point in time because I’m not going to be able to afford the transfer fees for quite sometime. However I still shortlist them because contracts expire and I might pick up a bargain on a free or cheap if they get transfer listed. However before adding them to a shortlist I have to search through the players and see which ones I need to shortlist. After all I set the attributes I was looking for in a goalkeeper relatively low, so the older players on the list are probably poorer than you’d hope for, when you could actually afford to bring them in. I try to take age into account here when looking at players because the younger they are, the more likely they have developing left to do.
After looking through the list of players I identified five possible players that could be up to the job I require. Those players were;
Those are the five players I’ve identified as being a real possibility of playing for us in the future. If I was to rank them in order it would look something like;
However out of the five of them I think Rajkovic is the one who could develop better than the others and look quite a different player in the three or four years. He’s also younger than the others which means I might be able to get more years out of him once I’ve found the ideal squad.
I wasn’t able to find any suitable fullbacks in the first season, so I’m not going to discuss those as there is nothing to discuss. I will update for season two though because I found quite a few.
For the central defenders I set these filters;
This time I’m looking for younger players than the filter I set for the goalkeeper. That’s because outfield players tend to have shorter careers, so if I’m building for the future I need to look at younger players. But I follow the same principles as above and list three attributes I believe the players must have and are vital for what I’m creating.
This time though I haven’t got a top five, it more like a top fifteen. Rather than list them all, I’ll list the player I’m the most interested in.
I like his attributes and I like his versatility. He’s also a natural midfielder as well as a defensive midfielder and defender which makes him appealing. He also fits the Kolo Toure player mould, where he was a converted midfielder. So for me he is the stand out for now but I will be tracking all twenty-three players closely over the next season or so and narrowing them down a lot more and possibly adding newer candidates to the list that I identify as my game progresses further.
The shortlists I’m currently using doesn’t really have the type of central pairings I need because I was building a different way with Swansea so wanted different types of players. I do have someone in mind for the central midfielder role though, which won’t come as a surprise if you’ve followed my Santos career.
The downside here is he’s small and can’t jump, something which Gilberto was known for. But for now he is an option and I’m going to have to make some kind of sacrifices as I’m not going to find like for like players based on the Invincibles. As long as I create the style they used and players have the traits needed (PPM’s) then that’s the most important factor. Plus Arsenal had back up players who were different and the actual starting eleven people attribute to the Invincibles, didn’t start that many games together.......
As for the other positions, I’m struggling to find a Patrick Vieira type of player who I can realistically bring in or identify as a possible future target. I will find one, I’m still at the start of the game though. I always thought this would be the hardest position to fill though because he was a unique player and there’s not many modern-day plays of the same mould.
Searching for the wider players is more tricky though because I run the same search several times but change the position I am looking for. I could just search all midfielders but I prefer doing it this way. One of the reasons for doing this is because retraining a player isn’t an issue, the attributes someone has, is the main thing for me to consider. So if I want a left sided playmaker for wide playmaker slot then I’ll search ML, AML, AMR and MR positions as well as the fullback positions. Players in those roles all have similar attributes and traits. If I wasn’t working from a shortlist, I would probably just search for attributes with no positions filter and filter that way. It’s more time-consuming but getting the right player is vital so worth it in the long run for me.
These set of filters are me focusing on finding a future wide playmaker for the Pires role.
I did this for all the positions I mentioned above. Lots of players match the criteria I was looking for, in particular two players caught my eye.
The reason why these two interest me is I’ve seen them sold or released on almost every saved game I’ve done. Not only that but both have good attributes for what I’m looking for. I need a player who is able to dribble with the ball at their feet comfortably. Both players are young and should have some developing to do still. Plus they are young enough for me to teach several PPM’s to them. If the player was a lot older than I’d have less time to teach them PPM’s considering they take six months to learn.
On the right side of midfield for the Ljungberg role, I’m still struggling to identify someone for those roles too. I do however have Che Adams at the club who might fit the role and if developed right might be able to play at a much higher level. It is something I need to watch over the next twelve months or so.
If you’ve been following me on Twitter then you’ll know who my strikers are already and how important they are. I didn’t need scouts or filters for these positions though, I know already who I want for these roles long-term based on other saved games I’ve had.
What makes these so special? Romero can fill the Bergkamp role, he is creative, got good technique, he can dribble and pass the ball. More importantly he is still sixteen years old too. It might be hard to see the end product by looking at him but I can already see it.
As for Kelechi, he is going to be my Thierry Henry! He needs lots of work but his physical attributes are all what I would want from such a player to fulfil the role. There is also a very high chance I get him on loan, which if I did, would mean I can start developing him straight away for how I envision him to be. Exciting times!
In this section I’ll take a look back over the first season and discuss the signings I’ve made and explain why, as well as identifying new possible transfer targets. On top of this I’ll also look at the tactic being used and see how far away from the end goal we are and to see if we can see any Arsenal Invincible characteristics already, even though it’s early days.
Before all of this though I’d like to touch upon something else because some of the comments I’ve been getting are starting to annoy me. People keep saying things like ‘Those players are nothing like the ones who played, those players don’t have the attributes, he’s wrong footed’ and so on. I explained this in the other posts, if you think I can play this way and find all the players needed and it be perfect from the start, then you’re an idiot. It takes time and I need several seasons to find the right sort of players and even then I don’t know how perfect they will be. There are bound to be some kind of sacrifices along the way but as of yet, I don’t know what those will be but no doubt, these series of articles will highlight those. I’m looking to follow the Invincibles as closely as possible so this includes inverted players on the wings. But you have to realise that before I find the ideal players needed I might have to identify possible transfer targets who are slightly different for now. I can only buy what I can afford and I still need to be successful while aiming to reach the end goal. So before making silly comments about someone being wrong footed or lacking certain traits, remember, I already know this and have explained several times why.
Be patient and remember we are building towards something, it isn’t going to happen straight away, it’s a big project for a reason..........
I guess a good starting point for this article would be the transfers ins and out.
None of these players are long-term and are just to either raise funds or stop-gap players so we can carry on progressing through the leagues with results. However one future transfer that doesn’t show on that list is;
What caught my eye is his creativity. Now he doesn’t fit the Gilberto role so he won’t be developed with the more defensive minded midfield role in mind. I’m hoping he can maybe fill the Patrick Vieira role. I’ll need a lot of luck and hope he has high potential for that though as I need his physical attributes so all be over fifteen at the bare minimum. I’m not sure if he will fit the mould or will just fall short when he hits the age of twenty years old though. But it’s something I will keep track of very closely. For 30k transfer fee he was worth the gamble!
As the game progresses I have a feeling I’ll be picking a lot of players up like this who are young and might need developing a specific way. I will update more about Ian in season two. If he (or anyone else I buy)aren’t up to standard by a certain age, then they will be moved on at a later date. But right now, he has every chance of being the player I need.
That was it for transfers that are worth mentioning, at least with the end goal in mind. Although I did identify a possible potentially Patrick Vieira type of player who is young and has some of the attributes needed. This is him;
I’ve seen him on other saved games I’ve had but he tends to be developed as a right winger, although he is also a natural central midfielder. He lacks the physical attributes Vieira possessed and the tackling but again, he is still extremely young and can develop. There is a massive stumbling block though, and that is his value. He’s already valued at £2 million and I’m nowhere near being able to attract a player like him to the club. This means that his value is likely to have risen dramatically when I would have been able to afford him, so I still won’t be able to. Make sense? I hope so lol.
Other than that, I didn’t really find any other possible players just yet. It’s still early days though but I’m hoping things get better next season and I become aware of more players.
There isn’t that much to talk about here as it went as expected for a club of this stature. We won it comfortably and wasn’t ever really troubled. This is the final league table;
As you can see nothing out of the ordinary. Here are the player stats for this season;
As a quick overview they show me that my keepers distribution is poor which I had assumed anyway because I haven’t instructed them to do different to the default at this stage. I wanted a full season with the base tactic I posted before and to see how many times the keeper started attacks when the opportunity was there. I saw this on a couple of occasions but I need to check in more details to confirm just how many. This requires watching more games back, which is time-consuming so I might wait until next season and pay more attention to this aspect actually.
Something else these stats also tell me is there was a bias down the left hand side for goals because Woolford and Harris got a lot of assists. So maybe the left side of the current base tactic does resemble Arsenal?!
Most of the goals we scored though came from the two strikers and right wing. This is also very Arsenal like in terms of stats but we don’t know what the player is actually like yet. I’d have liked to have seen more goals from the left side of midfield though as Pires used to chip in with a good amount of goals. Apart from the stuff mentioned above it doesn’t really tell me anything useful, at least, not from a contextual point of view.
Goals and Assists
The goals I score are all from pretty central areas of the pitch which I guess, is expected. But what about the goal types I score?
Almost all of them are placed shots, which explains why they are all mainly central scored goals. I’ve no doubt that as I improve the squad with more suitable players, that the goal types I score will become more varied.
The above screen is important though as it’s the assist location and the assist type screen. Arsenal scored a lot of goals from through balls and passes, something which I seem to have also done this season. The amount of goals from crosses it far too high though and something I need to reign in a little bit, somehow.
According to the stats, (without context) we are resembling Arsenal to some extent. But what about actual match play? I don’t really want to go into a full on tactical analysis because the team isn’t anywhere near what I want so I’m not sure what I’d learn. But it might be good to have a brief look at play down the wings, especially the left side to see how close or far away from what I’m creating, I really am. To keep it easier to follow by looking at the screenshots, I’ll use the proper Arsenal teams names on the pictures themselves.
Immediately I can see it doesn’t work how I want, which we already knew. But the Cole role isn’t pushed on enough, Henry is tucked in too deep. The Pires role though he’s cut inside which is what we want but the fullback has to do more and push beyond him. Henry should be closer to this side of the pitch too.
This is the same move still. It’s actually good movement and I have plenty of options going forward but it’s nothing like the Arsenal way, which I’m trying to recreate. During the rest of the game I saw similar things and it highlights why the left side got more goals and assists because of the positions the players are taking up. I’ll not add any more analysis because, well, it’s pointless at this stage.