The regular readers know I left the Magallanes club in December 2026 within my main FM19 save after I decided I need a new challenge and mainly a new motivation. It was not needed to start a new save, I will surely continue within the same save and I was sure I will find some good challenge in different South American country as it is my destination for the whole FM19.
You who follow me on Twitter or you’re in the FMSlack channel know that I joined Arsenal de Sarandí from Argentina.
It’s not a new save but it feels like it.
I wanted to join the really bottom club. I was convinced to join some club from Argentina or Colombia.
In the end, Arsenal de Sarandí was the choice. They were bottom in the regular league table of the Argentinian second tier but the relegation was not too actual because Sarandí was 17th in the Average Points table.
This is really important because the rule is simple: The 2 worst Primera B teams from the average points table are relegated to Tercera División. The top tier has this rule: The bottom 3 teams from the average points table are relegated to Nacional B. The second one could be good to remember if we will win promotion in the future…
Another thing I liked for this challenge was the club has quite a big loan to pay (€14,5M) in the next years, finances are very tight and the first thing I had to make was to adjust wage budget because we were in the red numbers.
The club has a senior squad, reserves and U19s squad. When I joined the club I spent the first few days just with analysing players and with a comparison of all of them between each other.
I, for example, wanted to know why 16 years old newgen goalkeeper is set as a key player, why midfielder without a single appearance in this season is a joint top highest earner or why there are 15 above average players around their twenties in the reserves squad.
I got the contract until June 2028 after I joined the club at the end of December 2026. I knew I just have to win at least four matches from the remaining 12 league matches to ensure the club will not be relegated by the average points rule.
I continuously switched between formations (4-3-3, 4-2-4, 4-1-4-1) during these 12 matches and it resulted in 4 wins, 2 draws, 6 defeats. Relegation avoided as the team ended 17th in the Average points table.
There were two team meetings with players before the last league match against Banfield (the 2nd tier champions this season) and players were unhappy and they told they don’t enjoy football here.
“I know things haven’t been great but it’s just as much down to how you lot perform on the pitch. Nobody’s blameless here.”
They accepted it.
A few days later we beat Nueva Chicago in the Copa Argentina despite an early red card and the season has ended.
As we talked in my FMSlack channel with Ed or Mike, this first half a year was a new starting point for me. I saw what works and what doesn’t work. On but also off the pitch.
The squad(s) rebuilding was absolutely perfect thing and the best feeling I had in a very long time in terms of Football Manager. That’s the main reason why I wrote it feels like a new save.
I had to make everything from scratch and I think I discovered the small magic of that moment when you join the different club within the same save.
There were around two months off between the end of the season and the start of the pre-season. I had enough time to decide who will leave the club and most importantly who will join the first team squad.
It resulted in a big clearout.
- 29 players were released
- 2 players left for a free transfer
- 4 players left for small transfer fees to lower leagues
- 1 player left for a loan
Only one player left in the Reserves and that was only because I was unable to sell or loan him out because none was interested in him.
The U19s squad was reduced to 9 players with a view it will be filled with newgens after the first Youth Intake during the new season.
There were also incoming transfers and it ended on the number 9. You can see all of these players below.
The main idea was clear – sign young players which will be much stronger in terms of strength, speed and they will be more aggressive and more hungry for success.
All of these players were for a free except Hugo Galván. In his case, I decided to pay a compensation fee. The signing of Iván Rossi is also an exception within these transfers because he is an experienced player but I felt I need someone like him.
He still is able to offer a lot as a Deep Lying Playmaker and he can learn young players.
This is the squad I put together for the new season, the first complete season with Sarandí. I still think it’s a good mix of talented players with some more experienced players and it can work…
I already mentioned I tried three different formations during the first months of my time with Sarandí but before the pre-season, I decided to stick to 4-3-3 with a flat central midfield.
But I had to make some changes in comparison to this tactic version from Chile. I felt this league is more aggressive and I need to adapt to it. I felt this team miss some kind of “lightness” during matches and there is a potential to make it very difficult for our opponents.
I changed and repositioned central midfielders, our starting mentality is Positive and I moved the defensive line up to max the same as the line of engagement. I also decided to use Counter-Press in transition.
One of the biggest change of the changed tactics is a combination of Play Out of Defence instruction and using Sweeper Keeper. If you follow me on Twitter you were able to see some examples of a perfect building play.
Same as within the old variation of this formation, Inside Forward and Winger are the most effective players as the first one is the best goalscorer and the second one has most assists so far after first four months of the new season.
Training, mentoring, I enjoy everything…
The perfect thing about this “new” save was the fact I had to make everything from scratch and I love it.
For example, mentoring. I think we all (except some of the players) consider this new mentoring system as an experiment. It’s been a while already when we talk about it in the FMSlack and I thought about it would be great if there would more info about players when you hit “+ Add Player” button in the Mentoring screen.
The custom view panel I created for my skin works very well for this purpose despite it’s slightly bugged by the game and I can’t make work some other ideas. But the info I put together here is very useful. Especially when you don’t know all your players when you join a new club.
This is how it looks when I cleared all mentoring groups and I am able to see this. It’s only a shame Social Group column shows always the “Core Social Group” despite it’s the same XML ID as for different views. And it’s also a shame it’s ignored despite I raised it as an issue but that’s a normal thing when it’s not so important.
The Argentinian second tier consists of 42 matches. As you can see in the picture with the results below, it means matches are played Wednesday/Saturday during the first part of the season.
As we progressed in the Copa Argentina, we played 9 matches in October, for example. Training schedules were needed.
I created them already during my time in Chile but I decided to spend even more time with them in the new club. I created two variations for a short 4 weeks long pre-season. The core was similar but there were some different schedules sessions.
During the start of the season, I used only “One match per week” training schedule. It’s much harder in comparison with the “Two matches per week” schedule I set later.
I like to work and train very hard in real life and I’m always sick from young people who have a full mouth of moans when they have to run or do something more than only play head-to-head. I fought with the training schedules a little bit when this version was released and when my team had two matches per week because I inclined to set training session softly to not overtrain player.
When I joined Arsenal de Sarandí, I decided to insert also some harder sessions despite there two matches per week. They can’t do only set pieces and talk about before and after the match.
This is how one month of training schedules can look when there are two matches per week.
Same as I updated our formation, set pieces, training schedules, mentoring and all other things I’m able to edit, the club development in overall is in the process.
Training & Youth facilities are Adequate, Youth Recruitment is Fairly Basic or Junior Coaching is Average. Despite some early success on the pitch, I was not allowed to improve something so far and all my requests were rejected.
The main reason is poor Finances as we have only around €3M in the bank right now despite I lowered wages a lot but €105K per month is a big factor as we don’t have income from competitions like Libertadores or Sudamericana and there is no prize money for league matches and TV revenue is about €16K per month.
There is a picture of the results from the first four months of the 2027/2028 season. You can see we are still unbeaten.
One of the biggest change between this and Magallanes job is I have to be clever and consider how to rotate squad properly due to Wednesday/Saturday schedule.
I had certain starting XI with Magallanes and I made only small changes between really big matches in Copa Libertadores but his is different.
The best example was in September and October before Copa Argentina matches. I fully rotated squad before Belgrano game and we only tied away against Sarmiento but most importantly, it was a lucky draw as the hosts were better side and it was obvious we are playing with the second string.
But I was able to use the best players for match against Belgrano from top tier and we won 3-2 and made it to the Copa Argentina Quarter Final.
The same I made in October before match against Racing Club but the difference was we won the league match this time. But key players were fresh again for the tough match with the opponent from the top tier and we made it to the Semi Final.
It’s another thing I enjoy and it’s probably the right thing I needed as the league system and the league schedule is different in comparison with the standard league with 16 teams who play twice each other.
If nothing will go wrong I think we will be included in a promotion race.
Hopefully, the joy from the new challenge will continue. Thank you for reading.
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Until next time…take care!