Seven virtual seasons passed since I started the Football Manager 2019 save with CD Magallanes aka “La Academia” in Chile. If you are in FM Slack or you follow me on Twitter you maybe know the success of this team was very fast and we already won all the trophies available.
I used several formations during the time of the save so far but I ended with 4-3-3 wide with a flat central midfield. And I’m trying to develop this tactic last two seasons.
As we won Copa Libertadores twice in a row, it looks like it works…
But…this is not about the tactic, team instructions and other stuff. During the previous three seasons, I decided to go back to what I like the most. And that’s the player development when I try to produce the best possible own young players and try to find the best or the most ideal young players from other teams.
When this save started, the average age of this team was almost 25. Nothing wrong but I’m usually used to have the younger squad. If I look back we had 5 players with the age over thirty at the end of the season and Sebastián Abreu who was 42 before he retired in December 2018.
There was no player under the age of 18 and only one player from 11 players with the age between 18 to 20 was more than the only backup option as Manuel Vicuna made 28 league appearances in his 19 years.
As we moved to the top tier straight after the first season, the squad was continuously different and younger.
Most over 30s players retired or they were released and we switched the focus of squad planning to players maximum up to 30.
In December 2020, at the end of the third season when we won the first league title, we didn’t have a player older than 29 years.
But as you can see in the table, the season 2020 was also the season when we had 0 players under the age of 18 in the first team squad (same as in the first season) and the lowest amount of players from 18 to 20.
The reason was easy as players from previous seasons got older and we had bad Youth Intakes. That led into the situation when we signed almost none of the newgens this year.
At the end of the latest season, we had only Rodrigo Echeverría who was 29 years old but some key players getting older so there will be squad rebuilding soon.
If you ask why there is “Foreign players” column, it’s due to league rules of foreign players we can use in the match and how many we can register them. 🇨🇱
- Maximum of 9 foreign players can be registered
- Maximum of 5 foreign over-20 players
- The match squad must have at least 2 under-20 players
- The match squad must have no more than 5 foreign players
For example, the last point about maximum foreign players in the match squad was interesting in the first and fourth season when we had 6 foreign players and I always had to decide who will be out of the squad. It was harder in the first season when all foreign players were key players and I needed them during a promotion fight.
The difference was also about the squad status of foreign players. As I mentioned, they were key players in the first season but I took some promising foreign youngsters on trials and decided to sign them later but only one of them was a key member of the squad.
As you can see there was a big drop down in terms of average age between the first and the second season. Mainly after an Abreu retirement.
When we won the Copa Libertadores for the first time in 2023 and 8 my key and first team players spent almost the whole pre-season on international duty I decided to promote six or seven young players from U19s squad.
It was quite a big clear-out at that time because I also released 10+ players from the club, mainly from U19s squad so the youth team was almost empty. As youngsters were perfect during pre-season, I decided to keep them in the 1st team and I just only let them play for U19s squad.
Other very good thing happened before the last season when I was able to convince club board to negotiate affiliate club. I chose Deportivo Nublense from Chile second tier. It was a club I thought about to play with before I decided for Magallanes.
I sent there six players. One of them came back after six months as he refused to renew loan spell there and he was released at the end of the season.
Goalkeeper Hans Zárate was there just only as a backup because Nublense had two keepers injured for a long time. But the rest of the players did well, Pablo Donoso was voted the best midfielder and the best player of the season and Nublense won the promotion back to the top tier.
In terms of a comparison of our own newgens vs. bought youth players and the next profit including players up to 20 years old, it’s interesting too. Until the time before the last season there surely were more bought players in the first team than our own newgens but I’m sure it will change in the future.
We took five players on-loan during the first season and four of them were under 20 but I don’t count them as they were no permanent transfers.
Before the second season, I signed four young players for a free to fill the numbers in the U19s squad but none of these players made it to the first team and they were released.
It was the same number next season but this time, three of newly signed players were foreign including Bolivian defender Juan Hermoza. I bought him for €450K and I hoped he can be really good. Unfortunately, he had release clause at €750K.
And it ended with this story – he moved to Santos Laguna only eight months later for €750K and as they met release clause we were without some % from next transfer. Hermoza moved to Boca in 2022 for €15M and one year later he moved to Juventus for €20.5M.
It was a great move to sign him but it would be even better with some profit.
Probably the best player so far who was bought from other club and he developed and he moved already to a foreign country was midfielder Gabriel Paredes.
We bought him in June 2022 from Huachipato for €825K when he was 18 years old. He wasn’t the one and untouchable player but I liked him and he was rotated with other youngsters.
And two years later he moved to Club América for €4.3M when they met his release clause.
Another example could be central defender Nicolás Fernández. We bought him for €600K in 2022 from Universidad Católica, he made 60 appearances during two years and we sold him to Atlas for up to €4.8M. It was not about a release clause but I felt it’s a perfect deal with some % from the next transfer and I had other players prepared for this position.
We won the Copa Libertadores in 2024 for the second time in a row and I thought I will resign and will go elsewhere.
But, I probably don’t know how to move between clubs and I want to continue to develop CD Magallanes.
Youth & Training facilities improvements are underway, stadium capacity will be increased within the next one and a half year and the other reason is Nicolás Lobos.
We bought three and four young players respectively in the last two season. We had 6 transfers planned before the next season and 5 of them are under-20 players.
It’s mainly because of not good enough Youth Intake in September and my strategy to not sign all newgens from the Youth Intake if they won’t be good enough.
But the main man of the last Youth Intake was Nicolás Lobos. A central midfielder whose best role is CM(A) and I decided to move him straight to the senior squad, I changed central midfield roles and he started his professional career only a week later after he arrived at the club.
He made 14 appearances in the rest of the season, scored 5 goals and made 5 assists. Mainly the first five league matches and domestic cup semifinal were great by him.
He is already valued at €1M and I expect he will be wanted by bigger clubs soon but until he will be there I have a hope there is a possibility to have more players like him.
Especially if we will continue with club development and facilities and other stuff improvements.
If you are interested, this is our squad at the end of 2024. Some of the young players are already key players. And that’s another big change since the start of the save where youngsters were here just only to fill the space in the squad.
There is probably only one or two seasons before experienced players like Romero, Verdugo or Echeverría will leave to let youngsters play more despite I like these three.
The last thing. There are some young players if you want to take a look. Alfonso Reimann and David Gareca are probably the first two who will leave for some big transfer…
Here is also a picture of the current U19s squad before the end of the calendar year. Only two of them will be released, some of them will go maybe for a loan but most of the loaned players will be youngsters from the first team squad.
I will, hopefully, have time to write more about this save, even if it will be shorter posts because it will mean I will play slower.
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Until next time…take care!