5. Stabæk Fotball – Alltid. Uansett

Kappitel Fem – Rekruttering
Chapter FiveRecruitment

In-game date: Friday July 8th, 2022

Authors Note

In the previous post, I finally got all the preseason and early game admin out of the way and was ready to dive into some competitive matches, but as you’re about to find out we’ve had quite a curve ball thrown at us. You can find that previous post here though, Chapter Four – Preseason.

Full disclosure, this post was meant to be centred around a progress report of the season so far. I wrote that post and then added another section showcasing some recruitment methods from the Football Manager community and the tools that had been created to go with them. I finished that post and then all hell broke loose.

1. Upon completing the blog I pushed the continue button in the game and was presented with some catastrophic news. I have subsequently sent him off for specialist treatment, but it comes with an expected absence in the range of five to six months. This now leaves a gaping hole in our squad based on how good Nicolai has been so far this season.

2. That post ended up coming in just shy of four thousand words with an estimated reading time of twenty minutes, which is beyond excessive even by my standards. So instead I will publish them as their own posts, the first will focus on the recruitment methods/tools and the post that follows will be the mid-season review.

Anyway, onto our regularly scheduled program.

Recruiting

It’s no secret that we have weaknesses in the squad, hell, even the registration graphic I threw together only features one guy capable of operating as the deep-lying playmaker. To make matters worse he’s only here for this season, on loan. The same situation exists at left-wing-back as Wernersson only has six months left on his loan deal. Now with the injury to Næss, we can add left centre-back to that list too.

I put this up in the previous post, but it will be a good reference point for this topic.

Some Football Manager players like to export all their data and analyse it with the help of a program like Tableau. If you’ve not heard of Tableau, then check out this piece on the View From the Touchline website written by the ever-excellent @SteinkelssonFM. I showcased this method before during my Schalke blog which you can still find on this website. I noticed some of you are still reading it even now which blows my mind, so thank you for that.

Instead, I am going to make use of a new spreadsheet tool in this post. One that my good friend Chuck put together. You can find him on Twitter @anz_fm where there’s a more detailed thread about this tool. I’ll give you a glimpse of it here though and take you through the process while looking for a deep-lying playmaker.

Let’s take our current league position and just pretend that we keep up this current form then find ourselves in the Eliteserien next season. In that scenario, it would make sense for us to try and strengthen the squad rather than just replace like for like. I touched on this in an earlier post using the example that it would be unlikely for left-wing back Thor Lange to be of a high enough quality to be the starter at that next level. With that in mind let’s begin.

Step one is to gather all the information from the player pool that my scouts have collected over the last few months.

In the scouted players screen I set up this filter (look left). Initially, I only want to see the players who are comfortable playing in either the defensive or central midfield areas.

Secondly, I want to filter out players who don’t have the desired attributes. This is achieved by asking for players who have a minimum rating of ten

in the attributes required for a deep-lying playmaker asked to play on the defend duty. Sometimes you might find that you have narrowed down the player pool too much with all these criteria. To counter that I’ve set an additional filter on my search which allows some players back in provided they can meet the minimum requirement in eight of the eleven necessary attributes. I have also extended the “interested in” cogs to include anybody who is “slightly interested” in either a transfer or a loan deal. All of that leaves me with forty-five potential options.

The next part of the process is to export the data of the forty-five-man shortlist out of the game and get it into a spreadsheet. What Football Manager player doesn’t love an additional spreadsheet?

Initially, I am going to use the Shaunvamos spreadsheet which I touched on in the last post. The idea here is that it will allow me to very quickly remove a big chunk of the players by setting a minimum requirement on the suitability score.

Going back to the point I made before about needing to strengthen positions rather than just replacing them. As such I will be eliminating anybody who has scores less than 65%.

If you’re wondering how I’ve come up with that number then refer back to the squad depth graphic I created. You’ll notice that the majority of the starting XI are at least 65% suitable for their current role. So this seems a good number to use as a baseline here.

The first round of cuts now leaves us with a much more manageable list of eighteen names and with that it’s time to move this list into Chuck’s spreadsheet where I’ll continue to narrow things down even further.

Things start to get a little more detailed here.

The beauty of the tool that Chuck has created is that it highlights the desired attributes for every role in the game and then displays the required/preferred highlighted in different colours. Obviously, we’re working with the deep-lying playmaker in this instance and so that’s what you see in the image above. I’ve taken it a step further (because I just can’t help myself, I warned you) and I’ve added some additional formatting that will highlight anybody with less than ten in my selected “DNA” attributes.

This whole DNA concept seems to be a lot more prevalent in Football Manager content in recent times. I think I first saw it during a @ghostofFoxFM stream and I’ve carried it through my saves ever since. I find that it’s great in forcing you to recruit different players to your norm and for this save game I have chosen; Work Rate, Teamwork, Determination, Decisions and Bravery as my five key attributes. If we then use ten as the baseline again for these DNA attributes then we can very quickly make another round of cuts that remove another six players.

Sometimes I’ll make an exception to this DNA rule, sort of like I did earlier allowing players who didn’t have a ten in all the required attributes. Where DNA is concerned though it would depend on the rest of the player’s profile. In this example, let’s just keep things as simple as possible and remove those who don’t make the cut.

We’re now down to a total of twelve players and I’m going to strike three more off the list without a second thought. Wassberg only has six tackling which isn’t even close to good enough for a player that’s meant to be defensively minded. Jojić meanwhile scores lower than the required ten in three key categories; tackling, positioning and anticipation, that’s just asking for trouble. The third cut is Bruno Leite, as he fails to reach the mark in both anticipation and decision-making.

The initial forty-five-man list is now at nine and it’s here that I will actually start looking at player profiles within the game. The most interesting observation here is that there are no locals on the list, nobody even remotely Scandinavian features. This could mean that the 65% cut-off I used earlier for role suitability was too high, or it could be because I have a small scouting team and the fact they’ve only had a couple of months to come up with these names.

Anyway, back to our list to make some more quick cuts, Massimo Luongo’s potential wage demands are approximately half of my current wage budget, bye-bye. Come to think of it, based on our current wage structure it would seem the bulk of this list is actually out of reach. After a few test conversations to gauge player interest it would seem that there are only four players here that we can currently afford.

Despite his affordable wage demands, on closer investigation, it became very obvious that Igiebor was not cut out to be a deep-lying playmaker. The attributes are nice and I also like the green icons for consistency and big matches but the player traits conflict with what I need. Given his age, it’s highly unlikely that I could train him out of them any time soon.

Lopez and Mauri both scored highly in role suitability initially with 70.13% and 69.94% respectively. Both guys are the most affordable in the remaining list too but both were eliminated due to the pros/cons section. As far as Lopez is concerned; he hates big matches, he’s injury prone and looks likely that he won’t fit into the social groups too well. Mauri on the other hand only dislikes big games but is still expected to have a similar issue with our social groups. Working in his favour though is a supposed good level of consistency.

Ultimately though, neither of those two would get the job. The fourth and final option came as a total surprise based on my scout’s idea of the wage demands. Perhaps the player’s demands had changed drastically since the last scout report was completed or maybe the info was incorrect in the first place. When I entered preliminary talks with Ognjen his initial wage demands were a measly £375 and so became my top priority for the role.

Who doesn’t love a big Balkan?

I’m not even going to try and pronounce any part of his name because it’ll be a total massacre. Ognjen initially scored 68.39% on the role suitability spreadsheet, it’s quite obvious that more of a destroyer type role would likely suit him better. (Insert Balkan stereotype here). Despite that he does have the ten in all required attributes and also scores very highly in terms of DNA with a total of sixty-nine out of the possible one hundred. He also has more of the pros and less of the cons than any of the other candidates; fairly consistent and enjoys big matches are two factors I look for in my players. It’s noted that he too may struggle with social groups, but with adaptability as high as his I’m sure he’ll figure it out sooner rather than later.

Conclusion

So there you have it, an inside look at one of the processes that I will be using for player recruitment during this game cycle and I will be repeating this process to find options at wing-back and centre-back as discussed earlier on in the post. I’m not going to be writing about those in any detail for the sake of not wanting to publish another twenty-minute essay. Unless you’re into that, if so, come and find me on Twitter at @horsleyjchris and you can let me know.

Before I go I want to say a huge thank you to anybody who has taken the time to read or comment on this series. I’ve already had some pretty amazing feedback and hope that continues in the coming months.

Finally, I want to wish you all a Happy New Year. I hope 2023 brings you the opportunities to achieve all that you aspire to.

Alltid. Uansett

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