Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last couple of weeks, you’ll know that Football Manager 2023 will be out on 8 November. Personally, I still have absolutely no idea who I’m going to manage on the game yet, either in the Beta period or when it comes to a first full-on save.
So if, like me, you have no clue who you want to manage on FM23, we put together a few – well, 23 is more than a few – ideas for clubs to while away your year of virtual management with. This time, we’ve put a heavy focus on major European leagues and the Américas, as that’s what we know best. But we’re really keen to push our boundaries on FM23.
So here are our 23 teams to manage on Football Manager 23:
Major European league teams
I imagine that most people playing FM23 – at least in the early stages – will look to one of the major European leagues to get started on the game. In fact, I imagine most people just manage in England – but I’d love to see a stat on which leagues manage in and where most players live.
Anyway, here are our picks of teams to manage from the big five top-tier leagues in England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Crystal Palace F.C., England
Palace are slowly building a really exciting squad including the likes of Michael Olise, Eberechi Eze, Marc Guehi and Tyrick Mitchel – all of whom I suspect could get a bit of a boost this year – who were joined by Derby prospect Malcolm Ebiowei over the summer. Patrick Vieira is doing a solid job there in real life, but I think they offer one of the better long-term saves to take on in FM23. They had 13 youth recruitment and 17 youth facilities on FM22, so you could look to improve those facilities while hoovering up the best young English talent.
Nottingham Forest F.C., England
Only the 21 summer signings for Premier League new boys Forest! I think some of these are a massive waste of money – such as Morgan Gibbs-White (155 potential on FM22), Taiwo Awoniyi (145 potential on FM22), and Jesse Lingard, who’s notoriously bad on FM. And their start to the season suggests it probably wasn’t the best idea to have such a huge overhaul. But can you take these new signings – and potentially even add to them! – and make them gel quickly to survive at the first time of asking?
If you don’t fancy either of these English sides, my other tip would be Southampton, who are many peoples’ relegation favourite but I think their signings could make them a good option on FM.
Olympique Lyonnais, France
This may not sound like a huge challenge, but Lyon finished in a lowly 8th in Ligue 1 last season. So that suggests a massive rebuild is in order. That overhaul has begun with some big-name players like Lucas Paquetá and Bruno Guimaraes departing in the last year. But Lyon has a great infrastructure and 17 youth recruitment to work with to bring the club back to glory and take on the might of PSG.
Stade Rennais F.C., France
If you fancy a French save, then Rennes may also be worth considering. They surpassed PSG as the dominant side in French football in my Aventuras Américas – albeit it did take them more than 30 years to do so! But Rennes have signed a couple of FM superstars in Amine Gouiri and Arthur Theate this summer and have a reputation for bringing through exciting youngsters.
1. Fußballclub Union Berlin e. V., Germany
Last season’s Bundesliga surprise package Union Berlin is already at it again in real life, sitting top of the league after 6 games at the time of writing. In-game, these achievements might be a little more tricky if the terrible infrastructure Union had in FM22 (8 youth recruitment and youth coaching) remains in FM23. But, if you can lead them to a decent finish, Bundesliga is one of the best leagues on FM due to the game having full licensing rights and the amount of prize money on offer. Additionally, establishing Union as the dominant side of evil Hertha sounds like a fun time to me.
A.S. Roma, Italy
José Mourinho has sneakily built an intriguing team at Roma, bringing in Paulo Dybala and Andrea Belotti on free transfers and spending £6m on Zeki Celik. They also brought in around £50m in sales and offloaded Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Inter. Now that’s my kind of transfer window. Roma haven’t won the Italian title since 2001, but do they have enough to take on Inter, Milan and Juve this season? Probably not. However, they typically have a great youth system, with 18 youth recruitment on FM22, making them a decent long-term save option, which I am considering as a Beta save.
Torino F.C., Italy
Torino have lost their star striker Andrea Belotti and defender Bremer, but made some interesting signings like Samuele Ricci, Pietro Pellegri, Perr Schurrs and Alexey Miranchuk (on loan). They’ll likely need a bit of work on their infrastructure, although 15 youth recruitment on FM22 was solid, but this could be a fun one if you want a long-term adventure. And it’s one team I’m considering for my Beta save.
Unión Deportivo Almería, Spain
If you like Brazilian wonderkids – who doesn’t? – then Almería could be the place for you. The La Liga new boys signed both Kaiky and Lázaro on permanent deals this summer. That said, surviving could be hard work, given a likely lack of infrastructure and money and a squad that isn’t the strongest.
Real Sociedad de Fútbol S.A.D, Spain
They may have lost star man Alexander Isak, but Sociedad made some intriguing moves over the summer. That includes signing Real Madrid’s Takefusa Kubo and potential wonderkid Momo Cho. The Isak sale could give you a bit more financial power and the club had a strong infrastructure on FM22, with 15 youth recruitment alongside 18 training and youth facilities.
Adventures in the Américas
Having completed the Américas in FM22, I feel relatively well qualified to advise where’s best to manage across North and South America. So here are a few suggestions:
Club Atlético Vélez Sarsfield, Argentina
We listed Vélez in last season’s FM Guide as they’re a club with a fantastic youth recruitment setup. However, this season Vélez find themselves in relegation trouble, sitting 26th out of 28 teams in Argentina’s Primera Division, only 2 points off the bottom of the league with 10 games remaining. But you should be able to do better in the long-term, given Vélez’s strong infrastructure of 19 youth recruitment, 18 youth facilities and 20 youth importance plus 16 training facilities. Although money, as across Argentina generally bar Boca and River, could be an issue.
Clube de Regatas do Flamengo, Brazil
As one of the better teams in Brazil, it goes without saying that Flamengo have great youth recruitment. But they also currently have a mass of recognisable names like Gabriel Barbosa, Diego Alves, Thiago Maia, Filipe Luís, Diego, Rodrigo Caio, Everton and David Luiz, plus striker Pedro who’s keeping Gabriel Jesus out of the Brazil squad. So if you fancy a little fun with those players for a couple of years while focusing on honing their youth products, then this could be an interesting save. But be warned, the Brazilian league is relentless!
Club de Regatas Vasco da Gama, Brazil
Staying in Rio de Janeiro brings us onto a whole different kind of challenge. Vasco may sound like one of Brazil’s big boys, but they currently find themselves down in the second tier having finished 10th in Série B last season. So can you lead the four times Brazilian champions and one time South American champions back to their former glory?
Atlético Ottawa, Canada
If you’re after something a little bit different, then the Canadian Premier League may be for you. It operates similarly to the MLS, in that they have a draft system and player contracts, in the game at least, are fairly irrelevant. But Canadian football is very much on the up, as proven by Alphonso Davies, Jonathan David and co reaching this year’s World Cup. And one intriguing option in Canada is Atlético Ottawa, founded by their namesakes Atlético Madrid in 2020. As a result, they have a smattering of Spanish players, including a couple loaned from Atlético. Last season they finished 8th out of 8 teams but, at the time of writing, they’re top of the league with 4 games remaining, so that should mean you walk into a half-decent team. And I say should very tentatively, because the Canadian league is bizarre!
Envigado F.C., Colombia
We say this every year, but Envigado would be a great option for anyone keen to take on a youth development challenge on FM23. Envigado was only founded in 1989 but it’s homegrown talents include the likes of James Rodríguez, Fredy Guarín and Juan Fernando Quintero. And it’s not slowed down there. Colombia was one of the best wonderkid factories in FM22, with the country consistently churning out outrageous talent in my Aventuras Américas save. At the heart of that was Envigado, who started FM22 with 20 youth recruitment and youth importance and went on to become one of the top teams in the country during my save. If that still doesn’t appeal, the town of Envigado apparently has “one of the highest standards of living” and the lowest rate of “people with unmet basic needs” in Colombia. So I may pay it a visit myself.
Club Universidad Nacional, A.C (Pumas UNAM), México
They may sound like one of the bigger sides in México and only 3 teams can better their 7 top-tier titles. But Pumas haven’t won either the Apertura or Clausura titles since 2011 and so far this season they’re lingering in 15th, just 5 points off the foot of the table. So can you restore Pumas to their former glory? A further added bonus is that Pumas is the club that produced the legendary Jorge Campos and Hugo Sánchez, widely regarded as Mexico’s best-ever player.
Charlotte FC, USA
One of the most interesting things about the MLS is the new franchises that randomly appear in the competition. The latest added to the league this season is Charlotte FC, who were in the playoff positions a few weeks ago but have slipped to 22nd out of 28 teams overall. The added bonus with a new franchise is the absolute chaos that takes place at the start of the season.
Inter Miami, USA
The MLS is a funny old league with loads of great options, but one of the ultimate pulls is the David Beckham-owned Inter Miami. That said, the new side has yet to really make its mark on the league and, at the time of writing, sits just outside the playoffs in the Western Conference. But could you be the one to change all that and win their first-ever trophy?
Really Tough Challenges
Do you find Football Manager too easy? And do you need a proper challenge on FM23? The ultimate challenge of Chertanovo may no longer be an option (as Russia is unlikely to be available to manage in), so how about trying one of these for size:
Gillingham F.C., England
On FM22, I led AFC Wimbledon from League 1 to glory. On FM21, I led a cash-strapped Bolton from League 2 to glory. But the not-so-mighty Gills might be a whole different kettle of fish. I know from experience how bad they were in League 1 last year, seeing Bolton destroy them in real life. They had a massive clearout over the summer and have turned to youth as the answer to turning their fortunes around. However, on FM22 they only had 8 youth recruitment, 9 youth importance and 6 youth facilities, so this is no easy rebuild.
SpVgg Greuther Fürth, Germany
Greuther Fuerth were pretty abject in Bundesliga last season finishing bottom with 18 points and a massive 15 points from safety. But they’re not doing much better this season, currently bottom of Bundesliga 2 with 4 points and no wins from 8 games. So this is a team that’s very much on a downward spiral and needs a bit of spark. The rewards for achieving that are massive, as I think the finances in Germany make it possible to take the fight to Bayern with any club – if you can get into Bundesliga.
A.C. Monza, Italy
The Serie A new boys are owned by former Italian Prime Minister and AC Milan owner, Silvio Berlusconi. That alone is worth the promise of a few bunga-bunga parties. But if the football side of things is more to your taste then, ahead of their first year in Serie A, Monza have made a mass of signings over the summer, including the likes of Matteo Pessina, Stefano Sensi and Valentin Antov. They seemingly have no chance of survival in real life – although they just beat Juventus at the time of writing! – but in FM23, who knows? This could be a fun save if you fancy a major challenge.
A notable mention here also goes to Salernitana, purely because they signed the legendary Antonio Candreva, who was immense on my Sempre Samp save on FM22.
Sabah F.C., Malaysia
If you thought PSG and Bayern were dominant in France and Germany, then how about taking on their Asian equivalents? Johor Darul Ta’zim have won the last 8 Malaysian Super League titles and are well on track for a 9th, enjoying a 6-point lead with 2 games in hand and still unbeaten after 16 of their 22-game season. And, according to FM22, they have nearly triple the budget of the next wealthiest side Kedah and four-times more than third-biggest side Selangor.
But why not make this even more difficult and ignore all of those clubs? Because, in FM22 at least, Sabah FA had better wonderkid creation opportunities than all of them – with an impressive 18 youth recruitment, compared to Johor’s meagre 13. Admittedly, they have dreadful facilities and not much money, with the second-lowest balance in the Super League, but that just makes the challenge all the more rewarding. That said, in real life, they’re currently in 2nd place, so maybe they’re a club on the up?
Athletic Club, Spain
This is a bit of an obvious one but, having said that, I’ve still never managed Bilbao on any version of FM. That’s because as Bilbao manager you’re restricted to signing Basque-only players, which effectively makes this a youth development-only challenge. And overcoming the mass of sides in La Liga purely with Basque players is seriously difficult.
Do any of these teams jump out at you as a challenge to take on in FM23? Let us know which club you’re planning to start the new game with and any other challenges you’re looking to take on in the next 12 months!
None of these teams appeal? Check out our previous FM Guides for even more inspiration: