An hour into the game and we were already stepping into club management for the first time in 2024. Eight-time Spanish champions Athletic Bilbao had entrusted us with our first role as manager and I’m excited by the prospect.
Ability-wise, we’ve got a pretty strong squad with the likes of Yeray and Inigo Martinez still at the club – and the latter especially is a very good player. Then there’s players like Iker Muniain and Inaki Williams, who I’ve never managed on FM before.
But the standout player at the club is regen centre midfielder Sergio Ros. This guy looks pretty awesome.
Confusingly though, we have two regens called Sergio Ros! The other one is really good too, and is a 5-star potential striker who scored 6 goals in 16 league games in the previous season.
However, there is a concerning lack of depth in the squad. For example, we only have one left-sided defender who is actually a winger and we only have one right-back. Although we do have three strong centre-backs. So I’ve promoted a couple of youngsters as backup and worked on a couple of formations using three at the back – which I’ve not used on FM so far.
There is also a little less exciting young talent at the club than I was expecting. I know the club has good youth development but there are only a handful of players with 5-star potential and the youth team only has about 10 players in it.
In the welcome press conference, I discovered that Zinedine Zidane had been the club’s previous manager and had been sacked for “failing.” I’m not overly sure why they sacked him, considering they’d done well to finish in 6th place in La Liga for the third consecutive season, which is all the club expects me to achieve.
It’s strange to see your ‘Interested’ scouting page full of players from only one nation but we may already have picked up a couple of gems thanks to our scouting team, including midfielder Julen Martinez.
The good thing about it, in a way, is that you don’t have to pay any interest in what other teams are up to and the players they’re after. You also can’t even approach players that aren’t Basque, so there’s no danger of any mistakes happening.
Luckily, the same doesn’t apply to non-players so I’ve bolstered my bare coaching staff with the likes of Patrick Kluivert and Dennis Bergkamp. At the same time, Wolves have come in and poached our somewhat average assistant manager, so I’m already on the hunt for my assistant.
Important players tied down
The first thing we did was hand the unhappy Inaki Williams a new contract worth £95k a week for the next 5 years. While goalkeeper Unai Simon has also extended his stay with the club for 5 years on £125k a week, then Inigo Martinez signed a new 2 year deal, reducing his wages by £10k-per-week in the process.
In other news… Manchester City have broken the transfer world record to sign Erling Haaland for £195 million from Paris Saint-Germain. While Real Madrid have snapped up Kevin De Bruyne for £21 million.
While Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling have retired from England duty at the ages of 30 and 29 after they were knocked out in the second round of the Euros by Norway.
Join us in Part 4 as we kick off La Liga with a Basque derby at home to Real Sociedad.
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