.. okay, not quite.
Following a successful 18 months at Southampton, I suggested that if a decent offer came in for me to move elsewhere, I’d accept it. Well Joachim Loew had just won the EUROs with Germany, and felt enough was enough, resigning following his second successive major tournament win. The man to replace him: Jurgen Klopp.
When Dortmund come calling, you don’t say no. I don’t usually like managing an already large club on FM, but it’s slightly different when you don’t just drop yourself in there at the start. Maybe that’s just me.
First order of business was to put Marco Reus on the transfer market. And when the £41.5m bid came in from Bayern Munich, to accept it. There’s method to the madness. Hear me out.
Having being inspired by Cleon’s post on focussing on attributes over position (here: http://sisportscentre.com/meet-the-deep-lying-forward/), I decided I’d analyse the Dortmund squad and see if FM & my own eyes were misleading me in what I thought of each player.
So I set up an Excel spreadsheet, and plugged each player’s attributes in. Then I simply took the average of all the attributes for each specific role, and this gave me a player’s ‘rating’ in each role. I then did some mathsy stuff to allow me to compare each rating (because it’s a lot easier to get a good rating on a 7-attribute role than a 22-attribute role), et voila; out of 10 ratings for each player for each role. This sort of thing is never perfect for analysing players but it gave me different perspectives on a number of players.
– Sven Bender is a tremendously good defensive player. He rated as the best player in the squad when in his preferred roles. The spreadsheet also told me he’d make a marvellous defensive forward — something to consider when Bayern come to town.
– Newish signing Max Kruse, who scores goals for fun for Gladbach in real life, is a wonderfully gifted deep-lying playmaker. Who knew? There were a few other
– Alongside Bender, Shinji Kagawa and Ilkay Gundogan are the men to build the team around. Kagawa is primarily an AP-A, meaning a switch from my beloved 4-2-2-2 to a deep 4-2-3-1 may be in order. Gundogan should fulfil the Schneiderlin role well, with a touch more elegance on the ball.
– Marco Reus. Whilst versatile, he’s not my best player in any of the roles. His best role, so Excel tells me, is as a Poacher. We don’t play with a poacher, but not a problem, what’s his second best role? IF-S. Oh, um, we won’t use that either. IF-A? Nope. SS-A? Nope. T-A? Nope. You get the gist.
Even if we did use these roles, there are players who are superior in each one. In FM, it appears Reus is a jack of all trades, master of none. I’m sure Bayern will get some excellent football out of hi, but £41.5m? Yes please.
It was a big sale so the last thing I did before confirming was check his 2015-16 radar.
The Reus money should give the club coffers a much needed boost; with the transfer budget to move from ~£20m to ~£60m. But where do we need to spend?
The main area we’re seriously lacking is full-backs. Durm, Schmelzer, Piszczek and Großkreutz are the options. Via my Excel calculations, Durm is the worst player in the squad, and Schmelzer and Piszczek aren’t far behind. Großkreutz is a really good player, and can play a number of roles, but he’s most effective much further up the field in a high pressing system.
So in reality we’ve got no good full-backs. Definitely need to spend some money there.
Elsewhere, we look good.
Up front, we’ve got players who can drop deep (Walter, Max Kruse), and those who like to play closer to goal (Ciro Immobile). Another player who I quite like in real life but who came out poorly in the Excel squad comparison is Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, so he’s gone.
The base of midfield houses Gundogan and Bender; much like at Southampton where the Schneiderlin/Wanyama pivot laid the foundations for our success, two of our best players are in CM/DM. Milos Jojic represents a good value backup for Gundogan, as well as Max Kruse being an excellent option. If Bender is unavailable for whatever reason, I’ll be looking to use Sokratis at the base of the midfield.
Then we have a couple of handy midfield options. Mkhitaryan, Kagawa, Großkreutz, and Douglas Costa all represent versatile, good quality options. Jonas Hoffman is a reasonable player, but at an FM value of £9m, could bring in some decent transfer funds.
Next update will highlight the Summer’s activity and how/why certain players were signed or sold. I’ve joined the club in late July, so don’t really have a pre-season to operate in, but I’ll do my best.