Everyone knows about World Football’s (that’s Soccer to you Americans) greatest transfers. Players like Cristiano Ronaldo moving to Real Madrid for the ridiculous amount of 132 Million US dollars and Real Madrid President Perez boasting about a transfer budget in the vicinity of 800 million Euros which means they can pretty much buy out buy every other major club in the world.
What about those clubs that are worth less than a pair of Cristiano’s used boots?
I’m talking about clubs like Hyde United, Northwich Victoria and Bognor Regis Town. Clubs with almost zero finances that rely on amateur and part time players to succeed.
In this somewhat-regular column, I will be advising Football Manager 2009 players managing the lowest league clubs on where to find excellent footballers on the cheap. I gathered these from my own experiences playing the game as lowly Hyde United as well hanging around the Football Manager fandom. I don’t claim to be the best LLM there is, as stories of conference teams becoming European champions are common in the fandom and that achievement will pretty much melt my face if I ever accomplish it.
Name: Pascal Bedrossian
Pascal Bedrossian is a strange breed in lower league football. He’s actually the captain of the of Armenian national football team!
You’ll find him playing in a weak amateur French team called Crozon and you don’t have to pay the club anything to sign him.
For lower leagues, he’s Cristiano Ronaldo. Place him on the wing and let him run with the ball and he’ll happily dribble past opposing full backs and unleash deadly (well for lower leagues that is) crosses to your strikers. He also has good set piece ability as well as the technique to pull it off so he should be your designated corner and free kick taker as well.
The downside? He’s nearly at retirement age and his stats will only go downhill from here. Plus, sometimes he gets called up for national team duty and he tires easily, so have a spare left midfielder ready.
Name: Sergio van Kanten
Sergio has two things going for him. Passing ability and dribbling.
He can dribble past most players in the lower leagues and also has the ability to unleash defense splitting passes time and time again (though whether they are converted depends on your striker’s ability). He’s not good for much else but that’s all you want from a midfielder, right?
Name: Alan Navarro
Alan is the first defensive midfielder on this list and he is a good one. He’s equally comfortable playing in the regular central midfielder and I suggest you play him there as well for one good reason: This is the lower leagues.
These players are lucky enough not to trip over themselves when they pass the ball so asking them to understand what a “defensive midfielder” is asking a bit too much. So just place him in the center, set his “closing down” slider high, increase his “tackling” slider to hard and he’ll put some spine in your team. as his work rate and determination ratings are high he’ll work his ass off to win the ball back and then feed some assists to your strikers.
Name: Mustapha Hadji
I think Mustapha Hadji is the only World Cup player who will ever show up on this list. That’s right! Hadji played an integral role in Morocco’s 1998 World Cup campaign and getting on the scoresheet as well against Norway and was named African Footballer of the Year for 1998! What a pedigree!
For the past few years, he’s been a godsend to lower league managers as he’s very much like Pascal Bedrossian, but on the right side of the field instead of the left. He’s not as good in set pieces though.
In every new iteration of Football Manager, Hadji gets worse because of his advancing age and at 37 years old, he’s not going to be playing for very long, so he’s very much a short term investment.
Name: Herold Goulon
Another defensive midfielder. He’s very similar to Alan Navarro but not quite as good. So you might be asking yourself why get him?
First off he’s young (only 20 years old), so he has plenty of room for improvement (players keep getting a growth spurt until they are 24 in Football Manager) and he also has great physical attributes, especially Strength and Balance, so he won’t be muscled off the ball easily.
Set the same instructions I gave for Alan and he should do well for your side.
And that’s it for midfielders, next week we’ll have a look at what defenders you can acquire to tighten up at the back and stop conceding goals.