I'm liking the look of your business so far. Olympiakos are a real powerhouse in the domestic game but can't seem to compete with the huge budgets in Europe to force their way through. Hopefully you'll find a way to compete and topple the giants, as well as maintaining a constant flow of success in Greece.
@Scott: That is a dream for most Olympiakos fans; to go a step further in Europe. And while I share that dream, it's definitely not a realistic target for my first FM18 season.
It could be somewhat realistic if the transfers AI wasn't that bad, but I have to play with the cards I'm given. And that means, make a few non-impressive signings and try to rebuild the squad completely in due time.
Hopefully, that can happen during the next summer transfer window; assuming I'll be still at the helm (you might know how crazy it is to be the manager at this club).
I love the fact you're writing a story Stam, for the fm beginners & advanced players like myself it's informative all around, especially in the way you handled sales.
a few things I wanted to point out is, the gk you signed will take years and years to develop to be anything you'd sought out in a realistic market to start for a CL qualifying squad, & if you're interested I have some greek talents I want to share with you that you may want to shortlist for later, in case their contracts run out and you want to sign them on a free in january etc.
so far so good though, hope you don't lost interest!
Apologies for the lack of updates guys. I've played just a couple of competitive matches so far and I'm into August in-game. I should be able to fill you in the details with a proper story update tomorrow.
@Justice: Cisse is good. Though I'm slightly worried that I'm relying on youth as starters from the get-go.
@Icarus: Thanks man. I appreciate your feedback.
I agree Stergiakis is not exactly ready for a CL side and I'm not sure how fast he can develop to reach his 147 PA. I'll probably use Silvio Proto for CL matches.
Not sure if I got unlucky with my save in terms of Greek talents with negative PA. Sadly the good ones are a handful or less. And the accomplished players are abroad on high wages. I mean this first transfer window won't be very successful I'm afraid.
It's about time I wrote the next story update as I've just completed my summer transfers in-game.
The plan was to let you guys in the decision making for my signings through this story, but I kinda did that on chat. And since transfers is my favorite part of the game, I was sucked in and kept scouting players and making bids instead of writing story updates.
It's like entering a toy store - where you're supposed to buy 1-2 things that you need - and end up getting 10 things because they were on sale (and too cool to skip).
So let's move on to...
Roster Rundown & Transfer Targets - Part II
A couple of options available for the DM spot, all of them seem quality players. Togo international Alaixys Romao (33) and Greece international Panagiotis Tachtsidis (26) stand out. Plus former Belgium international Guillaume Gillet (33).
With the exception of Tachtsidis who I wanted to keep due to building a home-grown core, the other 2 I wasn't too keen about because of their age and high wage demands. As you can imagine, I've put them on sale but sadly they didn't attract any interest.
A clear transfer target emerged after my very first scouting attempts. WonderkidDaniel Braganca (18) seemed within reach and with very reasonable demands. Let alone possessing enough quality to feature on my first team already.
I've negotiated a 700K bid for him and Sporting CP allowed me to offer him a contract. He agreed on a 2.5K p/w deal (rotation status) with 10% yearly wage rise and possibility for his wage to increase to 3.5K p/w after 30 league games.
This was my first signing in FM18.
Then I spotted another opportunity. The iconic Andrea Pirlo (38) was available on a free transfer planning to retire at the end of the year. I approached to sign him and thankfully he was interested to play in the Greek league, on a reasonable wage too.
I'm hoping he'll be a good tutor and potentially a good coach too, so I didn't feel there was a high risk in him being this old.
Surely his physical attributes are way poor, but his technical and mental skills will definitely help the team for 30-45 minutes per match.
Belgium international (though not recently capped) Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe (28) is the highlight of my roster at central midfield.
I still transfer listed him because I wanted to get rid of his high wage. Unfortunately, he failed to attract any interest.
Tachtsidis (mentioned him at DM) can also play as MC (natural) and this might even be his best position.
Portugal international (also not recently capped) Andre Martins (27) provides quality depth for the MC spot.
However, since Pirlo and Braganca can also play at MC and with Odjidja-Ofoe being impossible to sell... Martins was also transfer listed and he quickly attracted the interest of Las Palmas that snatched him up for just 1M (I was determined to sell even below value).
The presence of (current) Germany international Marko Marin (28) would likely impress most managers, but not myself.
I've quickly placed him on the transfer list and he immediately became wanted by a couple of reputable clubs, such a Werder and Lyon. Few days later he moved to Lyon for a mere 2.4M bid; as I said, I'm on mission to get rid of high earners and work towards a younger core of players, preferably Greeks.
Seba (25) provides depth at AML at the expense of taking up a foreigner's slot. I wasn't keen on keeping him either as I don't rate him high enough, so he found himself transfer listed too... I know, what a surprise
A couple of Chinese clubs showed some interest and I was able to come to an agreement with the one named Fuli for a regular transfer. One problem though; I didn't notice the transfer would take place in January, so I'm stuck with him for a few more months.
There's a number of versatile players on my squad who can play at almost any spot in the front third of the pitch. This certainly helps cover whatever positions are needed, regardless of formation.
Colombia international (just 1 cap, but still) Felipe Pardo (27) stands out here, from the players the club actually owns that is. But he was taking up 1 of (max) 5 slots for foreigners, plus I don't rate him much... so, he was listed in a blink of an eye but I'm guessing you expected that already.
A couple of clubs showed interest in securing his services, and he was quickly sold to Saint-Etienne for 1.9M.
Now there's a (current) Belgium international we have on loan who's taking up 15% of the total wage budget and sadly I can't terminate that loan.
I'm referring to Kevin Mirallas (29) who admittedly is a very capable footballer (and an Olympiakos crowd favorite in real life), but there's no way I'd agree for anyone to be on my team on such a high wage.
I'll have to live with that until the end of the season. On the bright side, he's extremely versatile, which should come in handy on a number of occasions.
I felt I needed to find at least one player to provide sufficient depth at AMR. My transfer target was Red Star's wonderkidLuka Adzic (18).
I snatched him up towards the last days of the transfer window and still haven't had the chance of using him in a match. His potential ability is on the lower end of -8, but I'm hoping he'll be worth my 700K investment.
The AMC spot features the most expensive asset of my roster. Greece international Kostas Fortounis (24) has immense quality and is my best Greek player by some distance.
I consider him a star player, which means he'll be one of the pillars to build the team around. There's slight room for him to improve further; I'd expect his PA (145) to be a bit higher if I'm honest.
Thanasis Androutsos (20) is an academy product that the team has high expectations from in real life.
He found some more playing time this past season (though not at his natural position) and showcased some of his skills. Hopefully his rather limited PA (125 on my save) will see a boost in FM19.
I've used him more times than Fortounis during pre-season and I intend to give him ample playing time in the domestic league too. He should be able to reach his potential swiftly.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Braga accepting a 450K bid for him. I was quick to accept that and follow up with a contract offer. His wage demands seemed reasonable enough (7.5K p/w) so the deal was imminent.
He's natural at AMC but can play on the sides too. I'm tempted to train him as AMR and rotate him with Mirallas, depending on my tactical needs.
Phew, that took me a while to write as I'm having to help with the kids at home.
In my next update I'll share my last few deals on the transfer market. And then, I'll start talking about tactics and pre-season friendlies.
Pirlo is a wonderful signing. Could be very important in those tight moments where a 20 rated free kick taker is needed to win the game But more importantly he'll do a job for you on the training pitch, as player and coach with a bit of hope that he's good enough
I've been avoiding to write this story update for some days now for two reasons. Roster rundown is time consuming and I kept moving forward in-game.
As a matter of fact, I've just completed my first season, so there's plenty of catching up to do.
Roster Rundown & Transfer Targets - Part III
This is the final part of pre-season's roster assessment and transfer targets.
Two solid choices in Karim Ansarifard (27) and Uros Djurdjevic (23), plus a decent backup option of academy product Nikos Vergos (21).
I tried to sell Ansarifard, but couldn't attract any serious bids. As a result, I ended up loaning him out to Strasbourg with a decent optional future fee of 2M, hoping he'll do well there and convince the other team to trigger that fee.
Djurdjevic I felt like keeping because his age fit the profile I had in mind, and he really seemed quality. My first thought was to utilize him as a poacher, but then my odd tactical choices suggested he'd be better off as a defensive forward (which is his natural role too).
Vergos emerged from our academies and logged 3 apps (scoring once) back in 2013/14 in real life. He was then loaned out to Elche and R. Madrid B (!) without convincing them to trigger his optional future fee though.
His PA is limited to 120, but I don't care. His key attributes seem to be on point for his position and there's still some room for improvement. I'll be using him as a starter because there's a home-grown core plan in motion here.
I needed to bring at least one more striker either as first team choice (for 2/3-striker formations) or on rotation (for 1-striker formations). My transfer target couldn't be any clearer.
Egypt international Hassan (24) has it all; power, size, and all-around quality. Good enough for a complete forward role, I still can't believe why Braga accepted my 400K bid for this guy. An absolute steal!
While scouring the world for a backup option to boost my striker depth, I couldn't resist loaning in Renat Dadachov (18). His low wage was key, as I hate having high earners on my squad.
The Azerbaijan international has decent potential and ideally, I'd wish to get him on a regular transfer but Frankfurt wouldn't want to hear it (for now at least).
Now back to sorting out my units at the defensive end of the pitch. Initially I didn't really have any clear transfer targets as I was waiting to sell some of my players first. In the end I only managed to offload Alberto Botia (for 1.1M to Wolves) on the last day of the summer transfer window.
Elabdellaoui (right back) stayed and taken off my transfer list. Hajsafi (left back) remained on my list, I just couldn't find any teams interested in his services. And with Koutris being my main choice for the left side of defence, I was in need for at least one right back.
The problem was that I couldn't find anyone good enough with reasonable transfer and wage demands. Therefore I settled for a couple of loans in Levante's Ivan (23) and Valencia's Nacho Vidal (22). I like both of them and will keep shortlisted in case there's a chance to sign them on a regular transfer.
Reconsidering the depth of my left backs, I felt like bringing in one more player as backup just in case. And out of the blue, I discovered a free agent in Michelangelo Albertazzi (26). His low wage demands and good key attributes convinced me.
Having decided on three centre-backs, I needed one more to finalize my roster. My transfer target was a La Masia product.
Rodri Tarin (20) possesses decent potential (146) and definitely seems like a quality option to boost the depth at the DC spot. Barcelona only asked for 325K and the player had quite reasonable wage demands. I could potentially train him as SW as well, so that's a nice bonus.
That sums up the assessment of Olympiakos' roster and my activity in the summer transfer window and I was left with plenty of room in both transfer and wage budgets.
And just when I thought I'm ready to switch focus to the tactical side of things, I've got an idea. What if there's possibility to use my remaining budget to sign a world renowned talent who will likely be impossible to approach 1-2 seasons later?
As Stergiakis isn't exactly ready for higher level yet and I intend to offload Proto first chance I get... it makes sense to look for a goalkeeper.
The absolute best keepers under 25 with high consistency and relishing big games are mostly out of reach. Donnarumma, Arrizabalaga, Pickford... no chance for me there. My realistic options included Rajkovic, Mitryushkin and Lunin. But I could only invest 6M max (after adjusting budgets). I put up some bids and waited.
Thankfully, it proved possible to sign Predrag Rajkovic (21), though I had to give up my entire remaining budget.
So there you have it. Here's an overview of my summer transfers.
With roster rundown and summer transfers behind us, in the next story update we'll talk about my first steps in creating tactics.
Very interesting Stam, I love how you're sticking to your roots with the Greek league! A very fun team to be managing and you seem to be doing VERY well for someone who's been out for 6 years! Keep it up man.
I need to sit down and write my next story update, hopefully during the weekend. I've completed my first season, but there are a few chapters I'd like to talk about in regards to the tactical aspect of the game and interacting with players.
@ActuallyMike: Thanks man! My long term goal is to reach at least UCL quarter finals within 3 seasons. But I'd like to stick to the home-grown core plan while at it because it's more of a challenge this way.