The likes of Paris St Germain, Manchester City or Barcelona are not for my Football Manager persona. I’ve never managed any of these teams on any iteration of Football Manager or Championship Manager.
Instead, I like to look for teams with potential, represent a challenge, don’t demand immediate success and, ideally, give you an opportunity to grow through your youth system. Teams I’ve chosen on recent versions that represent this are Boreham Wood (FM15), Hoffenheim (FM16), Sporting Lisbon (FM17), Fulham, Udinese and Valencia (all FM18).
So with that in mind, here are the teams that I’m most looking forward to managing in FM19.
I’ve not done a German game for a while, so this is a team I’ve definitely got my eye on for FM19. Leverkusen have become my bogey team in the Champions League on the last two FM iterations, so from experience I know they’re a team with plenty of promise and they did some really exciting business over the summer.
Admittedly, the signing of Brazilian wonderkid Paulinho is the main reason for this FM lust – he’s ridiculously good on my Fulham game on FM18. But they also have the likes of Julian Brandt, Leon Bailey, Kai Havertz, goal machine Joel Pohjanpolo – whose name I also love – and the defensive partnership of Tin Jedvaj and Jonathan Tah – which essentially is a ready-made team packed with five-star potential.
I’ve actually never managed Sevilla before, mainly because their team usually isn’t anywhere near strong enough to compete and I prefer other Spanish teams. However, that could all change in this latest version of FM.
Los Rojiblancos have gotten off to a great start in real-life and are currently top of La Liga, which reflects this promise. They’ve got exciting attacking talent in Andre Silva, Wissam Ben Yedder, Quincy Promes and Ever Banega – and Manchester City cast-offs Nolito and Jesus Navas – and a potentially solid-ish defence, which might need a little work.
However, it’s a massive challenge taking on the might of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and the much strengthened Valencia.
I attempted a Lyon go several years ago and couldn’t really get into, but I think they could be an interesting option this season – although their 5-0 drumming by PSG on Sunday should be a note of caution about the French league generally.
Houssem Aouar is a really exciting talent, while there’s a decent potential strikeforce in Maxwell Cornet, Bertrand Traore and former Celtic man Moussa Dembele, and this is a club renowned for producing good young footballers. They’re complemented by more established players like Memphis Depay, Jordan Ferri and Nabil Fekir, who would also attract a handsome fee if you fancied cashing in.
For anyone who favours the use of the Editor or In-Game Editor, perhaps destroying PSG would make this a really fun/competitive option.
Deep in the Mafia heartland of Sicily, this is a club that’s known its fair share of shady goings-on. But luckily – or unluckily, depending on your persuasion – that kind of political situation doesn’t permeate into FM yet, as far as we know.
They have the highly rated youngster Simone Lo Faso and Gennaro Ruggiero, George Puscas up front, on loan from Inter Milan, and they’re down in Serie B, which I don’t think I’ve gone near in about 15 years since a random Salernitana go.
Plus, I have a pink Palermo kit that I can wear should we reach a cup final.
Sticking with Italy, Roma are a team I’ve wanted to start a game with for a while but never quite got around to it. I like the transfer business they did in the summer, including the likes of Justin Kluivert and Ante Coric as well as the mercurial Javier Pastore, plus the young talent of Patrick Schick and Cengiz Under, so they could be a shout this time around. Plus, they usually tend to have a decent youth system.
Roma, along with Sampdoria and Fiorentina, could be decent go-to’s if you’re fancying a long-term challenge in Serie A.
If you fancy kicking off life in The Championship then stepping into Frank Lampard’s shoes could be one of the most interesting places to do it. Often fancied for a promotion push in real-life, Derby have yet to fulfil their promise and I’ve rarely seen them make it into the Premier League on my FM saves.
They’ve got a wealth of exciting young talent to lure you in as well, with the likes of loanees Mason Mount and Harry Wilson offering plenty of attacking excitement, the experience of Tom Huddlestone, Bradley Johnson and Scott Carson – to name a few – and a big squad to contend with the hard graft of a 46-game league campaign.
A few other worthy mentions include Benfica – but I’m too emotionally invested in Sporting to do that now – Marseille, Ajax, Inter Milan, FC Koln and West Ham.
What do you think of my choices? And any teams you’re particularly looking forward to managing on the new game? Leave us a comment or Tweet us @_FMAddict
Football Manager 2019 is out on 2 November, with a Beta version likely out 2 weeks in advance.