I should start this blog by clarifying that the graphic content held within is, sadly for some, not images from my latest OnlyFans stream, rather they’re reference to some wonderful graphs kindly put together by @FMAnalysis – welcome to my real-life-but-not-because-it’s-FM-analysis blog.
My last blog detailed how I’ve evolved and eased the restrictions I set myself in the transfer market to enable my save to continue being a hell of a lot of fun. This blog is a bit of fun and a lot of coolness. I’ve teamed up with Lee (@FMAnalysis) who has been incredibly kind and agreed to utilise his real-world, analytic skills to my FM save with Bodø.
A few months ago Lee showed me a graph, the kind of graph that gets me excited. I parked it knowing that one day he said he could replicate a similar one for me in my FM save. So this season I decided to rope him in to be my scout/analyst.
I’ve been worried about losing Tjåland for a while as he continues to bang in the goals, yet I’ve never received a bid for more than £5m to date and even those were from clubs in the USA (the interest in my players comes from really weird clubs I’ve found in FM21).
I’ve also been relying on Geelmuyden on loan for the last season and a half and know that this isn’t a long term solution, so I was in need of a new striker. Primarily as a backup but if I found someone even better than ABT then brilliant.
So that was the brief, find a striker within my spending parameters (i.e. not market valued over £10m) based off the in-game stats that are available. Lee kindly took my save, worked his magic and came up with the following graph:
As the heading on the graph explained Lee filtered his search by goal contribution and shots per 90 for players who had played a minimum of 700 minutes across the season (I requested this search done in July 2024) so we had the latest full season of data to call on as well. This is also partly down to the fact I want a player who can play as an Advanced Forward.
The larger the circle, the more minutes played, so those players that eek up towards the top right of the graph AND have a larger circle are ones to be sought after. Yet let us not forget that this is like plugging in 75% of the puzzle, I need to consider the boundaries as which I’m operating in Norway so further research is required.
Naturally, I looked up the majority of ‘dots’ in the top right of the graph, doing follow up scouting if you will, a number of players I looked at were already earning a wage in excess of £8k-£10k a week, immediately ruling them out of my recruitment model.
Given the look of some of these players and my penchant from previous FMs to ‘buy all da wonderkidz’ it was hard for me to so easily cast aside some cracking looking talent. But I stuck to my guns. I’ll cling on to my ever-evolving restrictions for now.
The names that leapt out to me on initial viewing were Pau, León Gómez Ferreño, Zandvliet, Jesús, Adeyemi and Botea, one by one they were discarded:
- Pau – £8k a week and no desire to join us from Athletic Bilbao C
- León Gómez Ferreño – River Plate’s main striker, no desire to join us
- Zandvliet – agent enquiries showed he would demand a minimum of £18k a week!
- Adeyemi – incredibly, had a fantastic season with Salzburg and was able to move on a free to Dortmund by the time I checked in on him. He’s now valued at £61m!
Botea was the one I had identified then. The fact that he was playing for CS Craiova meant I felt confident he would join me if this price was right.
He had a minimum fee release clause of £6m and would accept nothing less. I wasn’t too pleased about this but went along with it given he looks an exciting prospect. But then it came to the contract offer. The bastard wanted £10.75k a week (over double my highest earner), I counter offered a structured contract with a base of £5k a week and he insta-rejected me.
This one hurt a little and no doubt so many of us, like real-world clubs have near misses and cases of ‘he almost signed for us before he joined them’ – this feels like one I may regret not breaking the bank for but when I initially wanted a backup to ABT I just couldn’t stomach the wage given how I’m playing this save. It felt like the right decision but also the wrong one. Time will tell.
I love having Lee scout/analyse in my save brought up a whole raft of players I hadn’t come across, Botea I had on my shortlist as it turned out but had never noticed him until this brought him to light – like seeing a girl you knew at school 10 years later and finally noticing she was a stunner, still, I won’t Craiova spilt milk.
Hunting around some more players highlighted in the top right it ended up being a player that Lee had personally picked out (alongside Botea of course), a certain Stiven Gonçalves.
Performing just above average in goal contributions and a little more above average in shots per 90, he’d also racked up a good number of minutes (34 starts) for Varzim in the season just gone, scoring 18 league goals. At 19 years old this is all sounding good and when I looked at him, I knew he was the one.
Botea may just edge it when compared with Gonçalves but I was able to pick this fella up for £2.2m and only £2.6k p/w in wages; a great deal and one that sits within my recruitment model.
The Progress of Gonçalves
Due to a stupid bug/feature of playing in Norway, when you sign someone in the August window, they come during the Champions League qualifiers, at this point I had already played 2 rounds and had 2 more to go.
In between each round you can register only 1 additional player and, for reasons I’ll cover later, it was more pressing for me to register another player in the first instance. This led to an instant relationship breakdown, the lad felt betrayed and his time at Bodø got off to the worst imaginable start. His morale was low & I think this was reflected in his early performances.
I also had to consider the season we were having and where he fit in. As I stated before I wanted a backup striker & fully appreciate he’s better than that. Contractually he was happy to be given the ‘Regular Starter’ berth and I thought I could keep him happy by giving him more regular game time at AMC as my Shadow Striker, this was despite me agreeing to play him as an AF-A when I signed him.
Part of the problem was a certain ABT who ended up banging in 37 goals in 41 games this season, I couldn’t and didn’t want to drop him initially. So the early days were a little rough.
Eventually, about 2 months after being registered to the Champions League squad, he forgave me ‘leaving him out’, morale improved and during a rare ABT goal drought Stiven got his chances.
He only managed 5 goals from 12 starts in the end but I think next season he will really kick on. Once his morale improved his was regularly one of our best players in training & that was reflected in performances, even when he wasn’t scoring he was linking the play well.
Two moments stood out for me, a great goal to make it 3-3 away at Leverkusen and a simple finish in the Norwegian Cup Final (NM SAS Braathens Cup). He finished the season strongly.
As the season was wrapping up it was nice to see him in form and improving.
I think he has a really high ceiling and that Season 6, in 2026 will be the making of him. It was a lot of fun to let Lee dive into my save to pull this data out and I’ll no doubt be calling on his services again. He has already performed a similar task should I need to replace Patrick Berg one day, the graphs are there, have be scoured and a shortlist drawn up.
More Traditional Methods
I do very much enjoy some of the more traditional methods of scouting within Football Manager, it takes hours but I love scouring country after country, squad after squad, player after player in the hope to unearth some gems. I found quite a lot. Of course, 95% are out of my league, on too much money, want too much money or just plain aren’t interested in the freezing cold of Norway, so it’s even more special when you find someone willing to join you, that doesn’t want a fuck-load of money & available for a reasonable price. One such player joined us on August 1st 2024.
Colombia has some insane talent in my save and Tolosa is one of them. £2.1m and he has partnered Bodo at the heart of the defence. His personality when he joined was ‘temperamental’, not ideal yet it has already developed to now be ‘balanced’ – neutral but better than a negative one. In 13 games in the league he averaged a rating of 7.48 and I already love him. He was the labour of many hard hours spent rifling every squad of each Colombian squad, time well spent.
Just before and around the time Tolosa joined we were severely disrupted, squad-wise, by a flurry of incoming bids that led to the following outgoings:
Bostanci (DR/DC), Rønningen Jørgensen (MC) & Fagerli Halsøy (MC/AMC) all left for very handsome fees that I could not reasonably reject. Given the market value of my players rarely rises above £2m I’m making over 5x their ‘value’ with these sales. Given that we are mid-season in July/August it was imperative I had replacements lined up as soon as possible. Bostanci I was happy to replace with Jørgensen (A Danish right back I had snapped up as a 16yr old, now 18), but to ensure I had a squad that could meet the rigours of 3 competitions I had to bring in a couple of central midfielders.
As it my first priority I looked to replace my two outgoing Norwegians with more Norwegians. I want to keep that core as high as I can! Odin Holm grew upset at how far Valerenga had fallen and so I met the £3.6m asking price set by the club. A great replacement for Fagerli Halsøy.
Syver Aas set me back more than I’d have liked £4.7m (rising to (£7.5m) but large European clubs such as Milan had had a bid rebuffed so I moved as quickly as I could to bring him in. Both have slot in incredibly well. You don’t always need a bit scouting operation, sometimes the answer is very close to home.
I’ve just got to the end of the season, our 5th, and wanted to summarise it here whilst I’m on a blog roll rather than write another one. I’ll keep it brief. Well, I’ll try to anyway.
We won the league for the 5th time in a row and broke some records doing so.
We dominated domestically, winning the league with 6 games in hand and I really believe the tactical tweaks made a big difference. We only conceded 14 goals and scored 84, nearly 3 goals per game. I very much used my ‘home’ & ‘away’ systems just as their names suggest and it paid off very well.
We also won the NM SAS Braathens Cup for the first time. Thrashing Rosenborg 4-0 in the final.
ABT also become our all-time leading goalscorer, moving onto 93 goals by the end of the season.
Those 93 goals come from a total of 90 games!
We also had a double stadium boost.
When finished this will almost double are original capacity. A very welcome expansion!
Winning the league. Completed it mate. I’m desperate, somehow, to achieve greatness beyond greatness by winning some European silverware.
Our season kicked off with the Europa League knockouts (from the previous season) v Fenerbahçe Spor Kulübü and we were pitiful for too much of it. An awful 1-0 loss at home despite being the better team we then we 4-0 down within the first 20 minutes of the return leg. We managed to then score 3 goals to keep the scoreline respectable but it was a really galling defeat. Another season goes by…
But as quickly as that finishes it is forgotten and a new potential path to glory never-ending commences.
We qualified comfortably for the group stages again and we drawn in an incredibly tough group. From the first two rounds of matches it became clear it would be a shootout between ourselves and Napoli for that coveted 3rd place.
When we lost 1-0 at home I feared the worst, they were a team that had a still incredible, 32yr old Neymar, but we were the better team at home despite losing. As you can see we managed to earn a fantastic win in Naples to swing the pendulum back in our favour.
The 5-3 loss in Madrid was a quite incredible performance. We were 2-0 up after 20mins and 3-1 up with 20minutes left to go, but alas, they showed their class in the end, Lukaku in particular and we conceded 4 times in 15 minutes to go down brave losers.
We then managed a really credible 3-3 draw at Leverkusen as I mentioned above when Gonçalves grabbed a late equaliser. After that we hosted Real Madrid & managed another really, really good point against a top team. I do feel like we are getting better each season. We drop into the Europa League where I feel we have our best chance of European Silverware. We’ll face Vitesse in the First Knockout Round and I’m determined to win that tie and see how far we can go.
Thanks for making it this far. You’re great. Hope you’re enjoying keeping up to speed with this save as much as I am in playing it.