To celebrate the release of the latest edition of the game, Football Manager expert Iain Macintosh is writing a series of FM-related features exclusively here at bet.unibet.com. Today, on the eve of Football Manager 2014’s release, he brings us part three.
And, though FM14 doesn't come out until tomorrow, Iain has already spent two weeks in a secret undertground bunker playing it. Here he provides a shopping list for every budget...
£30m - Marek Hamsik - Napoli
The big clubs will be prowling around attacking midfielder Hamsik from the start, so you’ll need to be quick and you’ll need to offer big money to keep up with Manchester City and PSG. Not strictly a bargain, granted, but he's worth every penny. There are some you buy for the future, there are you some you buy for a short term fix, but Hamsik will make you a better team immediately and he’ll last for another seven years at least.
£23m - Ever Banega - Valencia
If you can’t quite stretch to a Hamsik, then perhaps I can interest you in a Banega? A very similar player, though a lot shorter, he’ll be spraying passes around the pitch in no time at all. Valencia struggle to keep their stars these days and as the poor boy is ‘only’ paid a pitiful £35,000 a week, you won’t have to break the bank to lure him away. A player like this can secure Champions League football. Consider this: it might cost you more not to buy him.
£15m - Cheick Tiote - Newcastle
Sometimes you don’t want a player to create, you want a player to destroy. Few are more destructive in the midfield engine room than Tiote. With an aggression of 18 and a work rate of 20, he’s like a really violent version of the Duracell bunny. Bill Shankly once said that a football team is like a piano; you need three people who can play it and one who can smash it to matchsticks with a mistimed challenge. I think that’s what he said anyway.
£6m - Alvaro Arbeloa - Real Madrid
Full-back is one of the most important positions and if you want to know that at least one side of the pitch is locked up tight, then you need Arbeloa. You can snaffle him away from Madrid for as little as £6m and at only 30, he’s good for at least another two seasons at the top. He’s the ultimate insurance policy. What will you pay for peace of mind?
£2.5m Michael Turner - Norwich
We’re not going to try and convince you that centre back Turner is the second coming of Baresi, because you deserve better than that. But if Baresi was making his second coming via helicopter, Turner could head that helicopter back out to sea and barely blink in the process. The man was carved out of a cliff.
£1.6m - Nicky Maynard - Cardiff
The game may have changed at the top, but there will always be a place underneath for a striker who can run quickly and score frequently, even if he can’t do anything else whatsoever. Think of Maynard as a poor man’s Darren Bent if it makes you feel better. But don’t turn your nose up at this price. He will plunder goals aplenty at Championship level.
£1m - Lee Wallace - Rangers
One of the hidden gems from north of the border, Wallace is a cracking left-back and there’s no way that Rangers can hope to keep him in their reduced circumstances. A £1m bid should be enough to steal him away and yet he’s probably worth five times that much, at least.
£300,000 - Albert Riera - Galatasaray
It’s hard to keep Riera focused, but for a team in search of a steady supply of crosses and the occasional searching set-piece, the 31 year old winger could be a real bargain. What he lacks in determination, he more than makes up with that lovely left foot of his. He’ll let you down occasionally, but who doesn’t, eh?
£145,000 - Lee Barnard - Southampton
Poor Barnard is that classic example of a player whose club has outgrown him. Excellent for Southampton in the third tier, he’s something of a spare part in the Premier League. But at just 28 and with all the ability to score goals outside of the top flight, this journeyman striker is an absolute giveaway.
£0 - Nick Chadwick - Plymouth
For the club that wants to go back to basics, where better to start than with this towering lump of a frontman? Once a teenage hero at Goodison Park, Chadwick’s career never quite took off in the way he would have wanted. But with heading and anticipation stats of 14, you can throw bricks at him until the sun goes down and he’ll happily nod them into the path of your goal poacher.
Iain Macintosh is the author of the best-selling book, Football Manager Stole My Life.
Read part 1: The top 5 versions of the Football Manager/Championship Manager series.
Read part 2: The Greatest Bargain Buys In Football Manager History.
Read more from Unibet columnist Iain Macintosh.