The Villarreal Project – Transfers

As discussed in my last post, I wanted to separate the transfer updates from the main post because years ago there was an unwritten rule on forums that you didn’t reveal attributes (these guys played the game in hardcore mode!). 

So, I briefly mentioned that I had written down the areas of the squad that will need strengthening: 

  1. A pair of right backs to replace Mario Gaspar who is leaving for Manchester United.  
  2. A solid centre back to replace Ramiro Funes Mori who departs for Southampton but must be someone who would complement Alvaro & Victor Luiz.  
  3. A left back to replace Jaume Costa who is joining Bournemouth.  
  4. A pair of defensive minded midfielders to suit our system.  
  5. Wide players to suit or system and replace Roberto Soriano who joins Arsenal & Nicola Sansone who joins Napoli.  
  6. A striker to replace Carlos Bacca who is on his way back to Milan after a successful loan period.  

With this in mind I started scouting around for replacements and used a mixture of scout recommendations & the player search function to find the following recruits: 

The Right Backs 

Replacing Mario was going to be no easy task, arguably he was my best squad asset, but when Manchester United activated his release clause I was under no illusion he’d be leaving the club. The requirements for his replacements would be one ready for first team action and one for the future. In line with Ingredient 5, I’m buying players I know I will have to sell, so having a replacement ready and waiting is a necessity.  

1st Team Right Back: Sébastien Corchia 

Backup Right Back: Álex Robles 

Corchia is a very solid player but he has started to become a bit of a journeyman since his emergence at Sochaux but when compared to Mario he’s very similar which suits our system well. His scout report comes with some great positives; Naturally fit, enjoys big matches & he’s a consistent performer.   

Corchia Mario Comp

His understudy Robles came in from Malaga and is next in line for the right back slot, at just 20 years of age he has plenty of room for improvement and is very similar to Corchia he also has the added benefit of being Spanish. His coach report also bodes well, he has the ability to make the right decision, good off the ball movement & handles himself in a professional manner. 

For a combined £7.1m I consider these two signings a great piece of business considering Mario left for £29m. 

The Solid Centre Back 

I probably put more scouting into this area than any other, I had nearly 20 players scouted for this position and in doing so have managed to create a shortlist for the next generation of Villarreal centre backs. 

But there was one man that stood out above all others & because of the business we done with the right backs I had a bit more money to spend on this position, in came Jorge Meré from FC Köln for a pricey £20m. 

I have history with Jorge, in FM17 he was my captain for 10 seasons with Villarreal so he holds a place close to my heart. His in-game attributes in addition to being Spanish make him slot into our squad with relative ease.  

His scout report stands out from most, but I’d expect that from someone that we’re paying a premium for. He enjoys big matches, is a current international and for a centre back is a technical player. He does however have the PPM ‘Marks Opponent Tightly’ that we might train out of him as this isn’t an instruction we use in our system. 

Mere Scouting

Left Back 

This was a fairly easy position to fill, Jordan Lukaku was transfer listed at PSG for £8.75m. Lukaku, much like his brother, is an absolute tank, he has PPM’s of ‘Knocks Balls Past Opponent’ & ‘Gets Forward Whenever Possible’ which linked with his physical attributes complement our system perfectly. He’s another player that enjoys big matches which is a big tick for me when recruiting players. 

The Defensive Mids 

We’re lucky to already have Bruno & Pablo Fornals that will be the starting players in our system, however the depth chart is looking like it’s been on a diet! We have Manu Morlanes that I believe with the right development will come through the ranks and fight for a first team spot in the next couple of years, but we need cover for right now. 

First Team Cover: Kristoffer Ajer & Lucas Romero 

Prospect signing: Sandro Perpétuo 

Ajer joins from Celtic for a reasonable £5m & Romero comes in from Cruzeiro after I activated his release clause of £6.5m. Both players are great backups for Bruno and Fornals, both are extremely versatile & look to dictate the tempo. In terms of coach reports, only Romero enjoys big matches so the race for first team action could already see Romero a step ahead. 

The signing of Perpétuo was purely an asset acquisition, his scout report came back glowing and for £1m the reward outweighed the risk. I’ll be looking at potential tutors and loan deals for him over the next couple of seasons. 

Wide Players 

Whilst our standard system utilises Inverted Wingers I still need to have a contingency plan. Samu Castillejo & the returning Nahuel Leiva are solid first team regulars so I was mainly looking at younger prospects. A £4m deal for Javi Ontiveros plus a £1.8m double swoop for Braga pair Xadas & Francisco Trincão meant we done our business in this area very cheaply giving us great flexibility should we need to change our tactic at any point. From a reporting point of view it’s disappointing to see that Ontiveros doesn’t enjoy big matches so we’ll keep an eye on this as we go. 

Forwards 

As you would have seen in the last post, my top target was Luciano Vietto, unfortunately that deal didn’t come to fruition and we looked elsewhere. After spending the end of FM17 in Argentina there was only one place I was going to find a striker, Boca Juniors. Playing a network save as River Plate meant I watched a lot of players that I knew I’d never be able to manage & Darío ‘Pipa’ Benedetto was one of those players.  

Pipa came in from Boca in a £10.5m deal which was slightly higher than the deal we were looking at for Vietto, however, Pipa’s £41.5k per week contract is significantly lower than we’d have paid Vietto. The Vietto deal would have worked out at approximately £18,510,000 (Transfer plus basic wage) the Benedetto deal works out at on the same equation at £16,974,000 so in total I feel we’ve got a deal that represents better value for money. Ultimately the proof will be in the pudding as we measure strikers on goals not transfer fees! 

I also got a deal done for another young player. Flamengo’s Lincoln is a player that ticks a lot of boxes for me and my scouts & as we’ve been frugal with our expenditure I had some spare cash to make this deal happen. £7m sounds like a hefty outlay for an 18 year old, but when your scouts are recommending him as a future leading striker in La Liga you need to do that deal!  

All in all, I’m very happy with this summer’s business. I tend to make wholesale changes in the first window and then as the seasons progress we will be wheeling and dealing our way through windows in keeping with the ingredients listed in the opening post. 

Transfers In Out

With the transfers now done and dusted until January we’ll start working on the tactical posts & see what we can do to replicate some really interesting systems. 

Thanks for reading, Vamos Villarreal!