The beta version of the new edition of Football Manager is out and Iain Macintosh has been in lockdown ever since it downloaded to his laptop. He’s barely even stopped to wash. And he’s prepared a list of available signings to match any budget. Because he’s a giver.
Juan Cuadrado - Fiorentina begin the game knowing full well that they’ve got no hope of keeping their Colombian speedster on their books. If you’ve got a big budget, you should be able to liberate him for less than £30m. And you owe to it yourself to have a go. Cuadrado is preposterously quick, he loves a dribble, he can play anywhere in the front line or the gap behind, and he’ll even make a decent wing-back, should you feel so inclined.
Sami Khedira - A perennial target for Football Managers since his days at Stuttgart, Khedira is the low maintenance midfielder of choice. He can run all day, he doesn’t make mistakes and he can break up even the most inventive attacking play. The only issue is that he can be a little injury prone. But given that you snatch him from Real Madrid for a little over £15m, that’s a risk you can afford to take.
Nathaniel Clyne - In real life, Southampton stemmed the flow of talent before the exodus destroyed the club. In Football Manager 2015, it continues apace. You could bleed the Saints dry too, if you’ve got a bit of cash knocking around. Everyone loves a rampaging full-back and they don’t get much quicker than Clyne. He’s also pretty decent with a cross, so set him to overlap and watch your £10m outlay look like more of a bargain with every passing game.
Gregory van der Wiel - For a cheaper right-back, why not chance your arm on PSG’s Van der Wiel? They don’t want him, they’ve got Serge Aurier. He’s 26, he’s a Dutch international, he can run, he can cross and PSG are so mad, they’ll take less than £2.5m for him. Frankly, it’s rude not to get stuck in.
Salvatore Sirigu - Van der Wiel is not the only bargain on offer at PSG. Desperate to land a new goalkeeper, they’ll toss Sirigu out like a sack of dirty laundry. And that’s where you come in. For around £4m, you can snare yourself a stopper with almost immaculate handling, amazing reflexes and a body like a Greek God.
Ignazio Abate - FM15 really is the game for bargain right-backs, a tagline that’s unlikely to feature in any of their marketing. Nevertheless, should you wish to shore up your backline and you can’t get Van der Wiel or Clyne, why not chance your arm on Abate? He travels faster than gossip and he can be lured out of AC Milan for less than £2m.
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Antolin Alcaraz - He’s 31 and he’s one of Roberto Martinez’s favourite defenders, but don’t let that put you off. Alcaraz’s stats for tackling and heading are excellent and you can take him from Everton for around £600k. He could be so good for you.
Milos Krasic - A Serbian international who’s not yet 30 for £100k? A man who signed for Juventus for £12.75m just four years ago and still retains pace, acceleration and outrageous dribbling stats? Okay, so his work rate is a bit lacking, but it’s £100k. Manchester United pay that to Wayne Rooney every three days. What are Fenerbahce thinking?
Alex Revell - If you’re in the lower leagues, there’s one thing that will always save you: A great big lummox who can head the thing. For £100k, Revell can be that lummox. He leaps like a salmon and he’ll head a meteorite back into orbit if you ask him nicely. You don’t have to be pretty, you just have to win.
Piotr Trochowski - Latterly of Hamburg and Sevilla, 30-year-old midfielder Trochowski is available for absolutely nothing. Technically superb, though physically lacking, he’s an affordable luxury for your harder working players to carry through games.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake - Still only 28, Ebanks-Blake is always good for a few goals. His stats aren’t exactly off the chart, but he’s respectable across the board and it wasn’t that long ago that he was the driving force of Wolverhampton Wanderers’ promotion team.
Papa Bouba Diop - They call him the Wardrobe and they do so with good reason. He’s 6ft4, he’s the better part of 15 stone and he cannot be killed by conventional weapons. Yes, he’s 36 now, but he’s still good for a season or so in the lower reaches of the second flight.
* - All players found on Football Manager 2015 (v.15.0.2) on games involving English, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch and French leagues.
Iain Macintosh is one of the authors of the acclaimed book 'Football Manager Stole My Life'
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