The Rookies Guide to Clinching a Deal

8 02 2007

In a new series of guides, Blog FM will offer assistance to those new, struggling and/or desperate managers who need a little help with some of Football Manager 2007’s various features and areas. While hardly revolutionary, the articles are part of the revamped Blog FM (2.0) and are aimed at the many visitors who find our website through search engines while looking for Football Manager related help. Part one, a guide to securing the signatures of your target players, is online now.

When you’re managing the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United, persuading a player that joining you would be in his best interests isn’t that difficult (although they are exceptions, detailed below). However, trying to beat off the big teams to bring that star striker to your mid-table club is a little more challenging. But occassionally you can find yourself shaking hands with the next best thing, while Jose and Sir Alex look on in envy.

Let me point out two things first: this guide will not guarantee the signature of a player, but it is likely to help. Secondly, don’t think that these tips will work if you’re managing in the Conference and you’re jostling with Arsenal and Real Madrid for David Villa. It’s just not going to happen.

Declaring your Interest

Once you’ve analysed your team and worked out who will be the best player(s) for your squad, it’s time to start making some moves. For the purpose of this guide, I am going to show you how you might convince Anthony Vanden Borre, a much coveted defender, to turn his nose at the big clubs and join your side.

A quick glance at the players profile will show who your up against to clinch the transfer. Vanden Borre nearly always attracts the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United and a host of European clubs. He won’t cost you too much (around £2.5m) and you can’t rely on putting in a higher offer than the competition and persuading Anderlecht, his current club, to turn down all of the other offers.

Before making your offer to the club, make it known how much you admire the player. With a youngster, you can do this twice, telling the press that you believe he will become a star player, and also showing how much you admire him. For these two comments alone, the player will usually respond with a positive reaction, especially if they are after a move. And let’s be honest: if you were a player and someone praised you, wouldn’t you feel happy? Getting the player to like you early on is very important, and while you’re praising the player, make it known that you intend to make a move for him. The next day you should be able to read what the press are saying, including a comment by the player himself. If he’s flattered by the interest being shown, or says he’d jump at the chance to join you, then you’ve made a good start. If he say’s he has no intention of joining you, then you’ve got a very small chance in persuading him to join you.

Put in the offer

You may wish to put an offer in for the player at the same time that you comment on him. It won’t cost a penny to you if he doesn’t join, so getting your bid in early wouldn’t harm you. However, if you did want to wait one day it’s doubtful that the selling club and another bidder would have agreed a price and signed a contract in this short space of time. Don’t set a deadline for the offer to be responded to – a club who have an in-demand player are not going to be held to ransom by a desperate manager. If you’re not sure how much to offer, and don’t want to risk having your bid rejected and others accepted, you could try waiting until another club makes a public approach. However, this does not always reveal the figure, and in my opinion you’d be best of making an initial bid, then upping that bid if it is rejected. You normally have enough time to do so before the player agrees a move to another club.

Contract time

Footballers are greedy. Or so it would seem – you do get the occasional martyr, but in general footballers love a bit of extra cash. If you’re battling it out for a star player who will revolutionise your time, you might want to think about offering him the best deal possible: maximum wage, various add-ons, etc. Take some time to evaluate what this will mean to the club financially. It’s no good paying a player a ridiculous figure that will take the club in the red. Don’t offer him too long a contract – new signings don’t like to be tied down to a long deal, in general, so a two/three year contract will be plentiful. If you can afford to, and you really want to sign the player, then offer him a fantastic contract, and he just might decide that playing for Watford is going to be a lot better than playing for Chelsea.

Deciding Factors

There are numerous reasons why a player might choose one club over another. Some of these you can’t control nor fight against, and you have to admit that there will be players who you can’t sign. Possible factors include:-

European Games: Is your target moving from a Champions League side to your relegation-favourites? Is the player very ambitious? Remember that if you’re not involved in a European competition – especially when signing players from outside the UK – you will probably reduce your chances of signing him.

Favourites: Does the player have any particular favourite clubs, players or managers? If you’re managing his favourite club, and three of his best mates are playing in the side, perhaps he would prefer to move back to where he feels comfortable, rather than pushing for a place in the United squad. But this can work the other way round: does the players favourite club want to sign him? Tough luck if they do.

Location: Some players just don’t fancy moving to another country. You might miss out on a player because they would prefer to move to a Spanish club, and if this is the case, what can you do? Nothing!

Age: A young player on the books of his home towns team might prefer to develop his football skills back home, rather than move elsewhere. Unless you can offer something special – such as a great youth setup – he may turn his back on you.

You: Are you a brand new manager, starting off with no experience with your very first club? Then why do you think this star player would choose you over the guidance of Sir Alex? After a few seasons, with a good track record, you might find players warming to you, hoping the development skills you put into that wayward striker that made him an International legend might rub off on him.

After all is said and done, you just have to sit back and wait. You might end up missing out on the player, but you will certainly give yourself a better chance of signing someone by following these steps. The bigger the club, the better chance you can sign players – that tends to be the case. However, I’ve managed to snap players from under the noses of Chelsea, Arsenal, United and co while managing other Premiership sides. Give them the big sell, and who knows: perhaps you’ll be making the headlines.

Need more help?

Check out the forums where you can read other peoples suggestions and tips, and leave your own.

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