IntroductionFutebol Clube do Porto, or FC Porto, is one of biggest clubs in Portugal. With 31 league titles, 16 national cups, 20 supercups and a total of 7 international cups, they are the most successful football team in Portugal’s history. FC Porto has their biggest and historic rivals in SL Benfica and Sporting CP, in the constant 3-way league title race. In a club where the current Chairman Pinto da Costa was first elected in 1982, the current formula for success is based on hiring cheap South American players with great potential and sell them to major European teams.
Will you conquer Portugal like the fans are used to for the last 30 years? Or you follow the footsteps of José Mourinho and Andre Villas Boas and bring more international glories to the club?
Finances & BudgetFinances will probably be the most difficult part of the club to manage. After the wreck that was the 2013-14 season, the club decided to hire a Spanish Manager: Julen Lopetegui. By his suggestion, he brought seven Spanish players with him, either hired or loaned. Although his stay in Dragon Stadium was cut short by your arrival, he has put even more pressure to you finances. In the beginning FC Porto has a budget of around 17 million €uros to spend and 80.000 €uros spare of your weekly wage budget which allows you to strengthen the team. However, during the season, expenses will be much larger that your income, so you’ll have to be careful in the future, as some of your best players and only loaned.
The 50.498 all-seater Dragon Stadium provides close to a million €uros if you fill it during a UCL match, although you'll probably average the season at 35.000.
There’s only one possible expectation: win the league. So you can’t really change this budget too much.
Most Suitable TacticsStrongest Tactic
This formation follows somewhat of a heritage in the club. The squad was also build around it as it best allows you to take advantage of all Porto's best players.
Specifically, both Jackson Martinez and Vincent Aboubakar are the typical lone target striker, and the wingers provide some width, especially in the right flank. Advanced playmakers Oliver and Quintero, and versatile Attacking Midfielder Yacine Brahimi will aim to dribble the opponents, create 1-2 situations and produce great assists. The centre midfielders provide intensity as well as passing options, but also the necessary cover to the fullbacks, as they all like to support the offensive effort, so your defensive midfield might have to play in the “anchor man” role during tougher games.
The most important team instructions would have to be pressing higher up, attack the flanks and work ball into box. You could also give some instructions about passing, however these would be the basics.
Adrian Lopez can be an option if you are looking for a deep lying forward pairing up with your regular striker. That will ask a little more of your midfielders, meaning that some of your attacking players will have difficulties in defending. It is a different option, but you’ll need some signings and adapt some players to new positions in order to use this tactic more regulary.
The 4-2-3-1 formation is also another option if you like a strong midfield. However, the 4-2-3-1 will require more width out of the team and the only left foot player available in the A squad is Quintero. This layout also allows you to use Brahimi in a N10 position. He works very well on that role and puts a lot of pressure on your opponent. However, your team might be a little overexposed, as it will ask more of your midfielders like Herrera and Casemiro.
First 11 Positional AnalysisGoalkeepers:
Fabiano is at the moment your best GK, but he is in your B team (Default database). Rescue him, immediately! Andres Fernandez and Ricardo will be your backup options, however, for the future, you may want to scout for a new GK. The veteran Helton is a great GK, but he is injured until 2015. If you like to develop your youth, Kadu has some potential, so perhaps you should try tutoring with him.
Personal note: It didn’t work out for me though. I had to invest hard on a new GK.
Full backs are probably the position where you can be more relaxed about. Brazilian internationals Alex Sandro and Danilo provide the necessary quality to face the top wingers in the world. José Angel and young Daniel Opare gives you the much-needed depth. They wall adapt pretty well to the wing back role as well. In the B squad you will find Rafa, the biggest prospect you have. Prepare him, as you have very few Portuguese players available.
Personal note: Both Alex Sandro and Danilo will demand new contracts in a short period of time so pick the best opportunity to anticipate that.
Newcomer Bruno Martins Indi will probably be undisputed in your starting XI. Decisions now start. Maicon might be the obvious choice (he scores a freekick once in a while), but Rolando is the most experienced. Marcano and Diego Reyes are not really up to the same level. However both of them are good enough for cup and league cup games. In this position, you don’t really have any great youth prospects. Signing another good CB might be an option.
Personal note: I don’t like Marcano so I sold him at the end of the season. Reyes is more versatile but he never made great games, so after 2 loans I ended up selling him too.
Another position you might want to give it a thought, as none of best options available are really anchor men or half man. Ruben Neves, who is on the B squad by the way, is not a young prospect. He is a guarantee! Starts good enough but he has amazing potential. My sincere advice: pay him whatever he wants, as long as he does not get a release clause in his contract. Casemiro will probably start the season, but steady and surely, Ruben Neves will gain his spot. Campaña and Diego Reyes, depending on the tactics you want to use, can also play in that role if there is any injury crisis, but stick with the first two for the season. Mikel Agu is a young prospect but he’s injured until 2015. Perhaps sending to the B team might give him the necessary gameplay in order to be an option for the next season. Casemiro is a loan to the club for the rest of the season, so there is your first decision to make, financial wise.
Personal note: I sent Casemiro back to Real Madrid as soon as I signed Lucas Romero. Ruben Neves had a 45M€ release clause in his second contract and PSG just took him away without even ask.
The variety of players in this position is good. But most of them are attacking options. In a 4-3-3 display, you may want to train them to be more comfortable in the CM position. Herrera will provide you with both intensity and support for all phases of the game as Quintero and Oliver will be your playmakers. Newcomer Evandro is not up to the same level as the previous mentioned. However, he’s more experienced and doesn’t lose his tempo, so for easier games, he is a nice option. Campaña will also be a nice backup for you. I’d put him in the B team but I’d also include him in the A team registration. Both Campaña and Oliver are loaned players and they will want to stay in the club, but they have very different situations. Campaña might offer you some depth and the 3,16M€ future fee is not that high, but Oliver doesn’t have a future fee, so he will always be very expensive. However he has a bright future ahead of him and he’s very versatile. Also, take a look at 16 year old Moreto Cassamá. He lacks the physical attributes but sometimes he shows some potential.
Personal note: I’d let Campaña go. To be honest, Oliver didn’t play that much, but I extended his loan for another season (I used Campaña’s money) and, after a little back and forth with Atletico and the player getting involved as well, I was able to hire him for 24M€. It seems a lot but after 2 season, a successful adaptation to the right wing, and decisive performances in the UCL, Bayern Munich paid 68M€ for him. A nice investment.
In the beginning of the season, four wingers will be available: Brahimi, Quaresma, Adrian Lopez and the loaned Christian Tello. All of them can play on both sides of the pitch and will provide necessary width to the right wing but they’ll try to cut deep if they start on the left wing, as they’re all right footed. Brahimi will flourish as a left inside forward. On the right, Quaresma is the best options if you want quality in you crosses but Tello provides more speed to explore spaces behind the defence. It will be up to you to decide, depending on the opponent and game tactics. Either way you have an option. Adrian is more a second striker than a winger, but he can play on both sides. If you are looking for a left footed player, Quintero is the only one in the A team. However, the direct choice would be Kelvin, from the B squad. Great technical skills, very fast, but lacks the mental skills to support it. He has some potential and tutoring might help him so perhaps you can move him to the A squad for a while. Nevertheless, register him on both squads just in case. Another great prospect is Otávio. He was the last signing of the summer transfers and starts on the A squad. Perhaps moving to B squad will help him as he need some pitch time. Another case of double registration. He might be helpful during the season on the right wing and in the center.
Personal note: Tello is in the clube on loan for two season. After that, he becomes very expensive, so perhaps you’d like to look to the future, as Quaresma is not getting any younger and Adrian simply won’t cut it. Start scouting for a winger or two.
Jackson Martinez is a world-class CF. He plays mainly alone and has a great finishing skills. For backup you have Vincent Aboubakar. A Cameroonian powerhouse, he’ll get upset if you don’t play him very often. Both of them will provide you with the necessary goals to succeed. However, making them play alongside each other might not be the best idea. If you want two strikers in front try pairing Adrian Lopez with one of them. You also have a young prospect in André Silva. As good Portuguese youngsters are hard to come by, you might want to pay attention to his development and help him a little.
Weaknesses and Recommended SigningsThe main weaknesses of this squad are probably the Centre Backs and the Defensive Midfielder position. The squad also lacks a left footed winger. Since FC Porto is a Portuguese team, South America is a great place to look for talent. These are just a couple of suggestions:
Centre Back: Éder Álvarez Balanta, Jeison Murillo, Fabian Schär
Defensive Midfielder: Lucas Romero, Gustavo Gil Romero, Federico Bravo, Pedro Obiang
Left Winger: Pavel Savitskiy, Ladislav Krejci, Jorge Correa, Ruben Garcia
Depending on who you sell, you can take a look at:
Portuguese players: Bruno Fernandes and Bernardo Silva;
Goal Keeper: Simone Scuffet
Right Back: Sime Vrsaljko
Left back: Emanuel Insua
Midfielders: Guido Vadala and Albin Ekdal.
Strikers: Luka Jovic and Lucas Boyé,
Right Winger: Hirving Lozano
Loaned Players13 players are loaned to various teams around Europe. Out of these players, attacking midfielder Josué and winger Silvestre Varela should be considered for a spot on the second season. Josué would be a most welcoming left foot player and Varela plays surprisingly good for his abilities. Both of them are Portuguese, so an extra reason to consider him.
You should also take a look at Marat Izmailov and Walter. Izmailov loses his physical skills rapidly but he might still be of use. Walter has very little space in the squad, but he can add depth to the squad if a sale opportunity arrives.