Managing a lower league team in FIFA 18 is never easy, but it’s one of the most rewarding paths you can take in career mode. Bringing a team up from low-ranking minnows to world champions is the ultimate achievement in FIFA 18, one requiring grit, guile and determination.
Lower League Management 101 is my comprehensive guide to making it as a lower league manager in FIFA 18. I’ll take you through every step on the journey, from picking the right team and scouting great prospects to making shrewd transfers and what to focus on along the way. By the end of it, you’ll know exactly what you need to do to be a successful manager at lower levels.
In part 3, I’ll take a look at how you can find success in the transfer market, even on a tight budget. It’s not easy to buy high quality players when you’re a lower league team in FIFA 18, but there are certain tips and tricks you can use to make sure you land the players you need. Let’s get started.
Preparation: find your transfer targets
Want more? Read my guide on how to choose the perfect lower league team in FIFA 18
Operating in the transfer market can be a mixed bag for lower league teams. On the one hand, the average OVR of your starting lineup is usually low enough that young, high potential players can slot straight in. That means you can buy some cheap, promising players, then have them grow rapidly as they get plenty of first-team opportunities.
On the other hand, of course, is your limited budget. You won’t be able to act like the big boys in the world of football, snapping up young talent left and right. Instead, you need to be a bit more cautious and pick your targets carefully.
Here’s what I do in this situation. I head over to SoFIFA.com, enter my team name in the ‘Teams’ box on the left-hand side, then hit Search. Once the results appear, I sort the players by potential so I can see my most promising players. Then I sort by OVR in order to see who my best players are. This enables me to see at a glance if there are any positions which are seriously lacking in high potential or high OVR players.
It might help you visualise your team’s weaknesses by using that data from SoFIFA and making a quick starting lineup at ShareMyTactics.com. This website lets you create a lineup on the pitch and add player names to each position. When I use it, I add each player’s potential or OVR in brackets after their name. Comparing your players like this – on the pitch in the formation you want to use – is a great way to easily see where you need to improve.
Once you’ve found out where your weak spots are, it’s time to identify some transfer targets. Once again, SoFIFA is a useful resource. Still, you can’t just search for any old high potential players, as a lot of them will be far too expensive. Instead, take the highest-OVR player in your squad, then search SoFIFA for high potential players with a maximum OVR of just below that.
For example, if your best player has an OVR of 68, search SoFIFA for high potential players with an OVR of 65 or lower. Limiting the starting OVR in this way ensures you only search for reasonably priced players, and don’t have to waste your time chasing players you’ll never be able to afford.
What do I mean by ‘high potential players’? Really that depends on what league you’re in and how much budget you have, but I generally speaking you should be looking for players with a potential of at least 75.
Additionally, if you want to narrow down the results, you can tell SoFIFA to only find players with sprint speed above 80, for example, or strength over 75 if you’re looking for a powerful defender.
Once you have a set of results on SoFIFA, sort them by potential. Now, switch over to FIFA 18 and create a new save file in your current career. This will be your test file, and ensure you don’t end up accidentally messing up your main save.
Work your way down the SoFIFA results list and scout these players in FIFA 18. This will give you a rough estimate of how much each player will cost. If you reach the limit of how many players you can scout, just make a note of the best and most affordable players (using my spreadsheet; see below for more info), then reload your save and scout the next batch. That way you don’t end up running out of time to buy players, or end up racking up huge scouting debts.
If you end up scouting a lot of players, you might find it useful to keep notes so that you can directly compare them. To help with that, I’ve created a spreadsheet where you can enter your shortlisted players’ details and see how they impact your budget. You can download it here.
Now, all this might seem like a lot of preparation, but it’s a good idea when you manage a lower league team. In the lower divisions, you can’t afford to waste time and money on players who turn out to be useless or don’t grow as well as you’d hoped. After all, it’s not like you have tens of millions of pounds at your disposal. By being thorough, you know you’re getting the best deal you possibly can.
Delegating transfers can get you good results
Want more? Read my transfer negotiation guide for FIFA 18 for even more transfer tips and tricks
Once you’ve identified your transfer targets and know roughly how much you’re likely to pay, it’s time to start the transfer negotiations. I’ve actually written a detailed transfer negotiation guide for FIFA 18, which is full of great advice on making your transfer negotiations a success. Make sure you check it out here.
As I’m sure you know, the transfer process in FIFA 18 is a lot more advanced than it was in previous games. There are now release clauses, bonuses and sell-on fees to consider, not to mention another round of clauses and bonuses to negotiate in the player’s contract. All of this can make transfers a confusing, tricky process.
Still, it doesn’t have to be difficult. One of the nice things about the new transfer system is that you can now delegate negotiations to your assistant. And as long as you give him clear instructions, you can actually end up with a better deal than if you’d tried to negotiate the transfer yourself. As a lower league team on a restrictive budget, that can be a real blessing.
So how exactly do you save money by using your assistant? Well, for some reason, when you delegate a transfer to your assistant he doesn’t end up offering any bonuses as part of the negotiations. When you negotiate transfers yourself, things like appearance fees and clean sheet bonuses can be unavoidable. If you do a lot of transfers, these clauses can quickly add up and end up costing you a lot of money. But your assistant is somehow able to exclude these entirely, helping you potentially save a lot of money.
(Note: this lack of clauses is also true when you sell players. For instance, your assistant may not insist on a sell-on clause for a high potential player that you’re selling. If that player goes on to fetch a huge fee in a future transfer, you may end up missing out on a cut of that. For that reason, I recommend handling transfer negotiations yourself when you’re selling players.)
Your scout’s report will give you a rough estimate of how much he thinks you’ll have to pay for the player in question. When you delegate the transfer to your assistant, tell him to start the bidding slightly below the minimum price your scout suggested. Sometimes your assistant is able to get a good deal and agree on a price below what your scout thought the player would cost.
Make sure you create a new save file after you’ve told your assistant to negotiate a transfer fee but before he reports back to you (this usually takes a couple of days). The price he is able to secure for a player you want to buy often varies, so by saving your game beforehand you can simply reload if his price is far too high.
Of course, delegating transfers comes with an element of risk, and you may sometimes find that you’re able to negotiate a lower transfer fee than your assistant. Furthermore, you have no control over the contract length that gets offered to each player. However, the fact that he’s able to avoid clauses and bonuses, while you often have to include them, can save you a ton of money in the long run. For that reason, it’s often a good idea to delegate transfers as a lower league club.
How to make money selling players
As a team playing in the lower divisions, you want to maximise the transfer funds that are available to you. And playing, as you are, in the lower echelons, it’s likely that you’ll have a lot of deadwood and low potential players in your squad. Offloading the latter can help greatly with the former.
Go back to SoFIFA and identify your lowest potential and OVR players, then add them all to the transfer list (just make sure you have enough players in each position first!). Once you’ve done that, save your game, then advance about a week forward. If you don’t end up with any good offers for your transfer-listed players, reload that save and try again. Once you’ve got a good offer, save your game and use this as the start point to advance another week, then repeat the process. It can take a little while to sell all your players this way, but if you just advance forward regardless, you may not be able to sell all of the players you want to offload. Given that you want to raise as much money as possible, that’s obviously not ideal.
(You can end up getting a lot of offers for players you don’t want to sell. To avoid this, go to the Squad Hub, select the players you don’t want to sell, then choose ‘Block offers’.)
The good news is that you will almost always get a transfer offer for your players. Because they’re transfer listed you can’t expect to make vast sums, but try to make sure you negotiate their fee up to their listed value – that way you know you’re still making a decent amount of money for them.
Try not to sell high potential players, even if you have several players in their position with better OVRs. If their potential is good, they should grow quickly, and will soon surpass those players with higher OVRs. Of course, if you receive a ridiculously high offer for a high potential player that you’re not particularly desperate to keep, you might want to sell them in order to buy promising players in other positions.
If you don’t want the hassle of managing lots of transfer dealings, you can exchange one of your players for a player you want to buy. As a lower league team, though, I’d avoid this method – it’s hard to get a good deal this way, and your players often get a lower value as part of an exchange than if you were to simply sell them normally.
What about you?
That wraps up part 3 of my Lower League Management 101 guide. Next I’ll be looking at all the things you have to think about as you rise through the divisions, from training and developing your players to constantly improving your squad. In case you missed it, I’ve also already covered how to pick a good team to manage and how to scout on a tight budget. If there’s anything else you want me to cover, just let me know in the comments.
How do you get the best deal for your team in the transfer market? Are there any cheap, high potential players you always buy in FIFA 18? Make sure you share your thoughts and any transfer tips you have in the comments below!
And last but not least, don’t forget to download my spreadsheet to help you create a detailed shortlist of transfer targets. I’ve entered a few players in the sheet to show you how to use it. Download it below:Download my spreadsheet