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Starting transfer budget: £8,506,884 Starting wage budget: £75,744 Default formation: 4-3-3 Board expectations: • Domestic success: High • Continental success: Low • Brand exposure: Medium • Financial success: Medium • Youth development: Medium Key player: Stéphane Ruffier Best young prospect: Oussama Tannane
Why choose Saint-Etienne?
Ligue 1 is possibly one of the most one-sided divisions in FIFA 17. While PSG have a budget of £93m, their nearest rivals in terms of cash (Monaco) have a mere £20m. That kind of spending power is incredibly difficult to beat. As well as that, the next rung down features a large number of highly competitive teams – Monaco, Lyon, Nice, Stade Rennais and more will add to the challenge of winning the title.
But with Saint-Etienne, it can definitely be done. They’ve got 21 players with potential 75 or higher, which is a good amount, plus a budget of £8.5m. Their starting lineup is strong while having enough areas needing improvement to make a career mode fun. Can you find the right purchases to guide them up the table and eventually win the division?
Saint-Etienne’s key player is Stéphane Ruffier. If you’re to stand any chance of beating PSG to the title then you’ll need to withstand their attacking onslaught, and Ruffier is the perfect player to do it. He’s the best goalkeeper in the division (OVR 85) and is fantastically well-balanced. He’s 29 but goalkeepers don’t start declining until around 33 or later, so he may even grow into the late 80s if he plays well. He’ll be essential to your success.
The team’s most promising young player is Oussama Tannane. He’s a speedy, tricky winger with 81 potential but who will be an excellent player from day one. He’s got four star skills and 80 dribbling so will be great if you like taking on players one-on-one, and his pace means he can breeze past defenders if skills aren’t your thing. He’s also got a four star weak foot so can play on either wing.
Strongest starting lineup
Changing the formation slightly to 4-2-3-1, here is Saint-Etienne’s strongest starting lineup, with OVRs in brackets:
Highest potential lineup
Keeping the formation at 4-2-3-1, here is Saint-Etienne’s highest potential lineup, with potentials in brackets:
Key signings required: CB, RB, LB, RM.
First of all, change the budget ratio to 64:36. This will give you £7,965,169 in transfer funds and £86,161 in wages. Now let’s go and buy some players.
Birama Ndoye can also play in defensive midfield if needed
While Loïc Perrin is one of the best players at Saint-Etienne, he’s also 30 so will start declining soon. Florentin Pogba is great, but the next highest potential centre back (Léo Lacroix) only has 75 potential. That means we’ll need to find a long-term replacement for Perrin who will partner Pogba in the future.
My recommendation is Birama Ndoye of FC Sion in Switzerland. He is an absolute rock at the back – 90 strength and 74 stand tackle will make him very hard to beat. He’s got decent sprint speed for a centre back (71) and good stamina too, giving him a good chance of catching up to strikers if he gets wrong footed. And his 80 potential can of course be exceeded if he plays well, making him an excellent prospect for the future.
FC Sion want £2.8m for him but you can get him for £2m. His wages are £15,000, and he wants the ‘squad rotation player’ squad role.
Dominic Iorfa is a powerful full back and a great defender
If you could only fix one position at Saint-Etienne, it would be right back. Even though the team has a grand total of five right backs, it’s still the worst position on both the OVR and potential lineups above. We need quality over quantity, so this position needs to be sorted out as soon as possible.
My suggestion is Dominic Iorfa of Wolves. I raved about him in my guide to the best cheap right backs in FIFA 17, and it’s easy to see why. He’s lightning fast (88 acceleration, 90 sprint speed), but very strong too thanks to his 82 strength. Combine that with his 6’4″ height and good defending stats and he’s a great option at centre back if you need cover. That flexibility – plus his 81 potential – makes him a very useful player indeed.
Wolves want £2.8m for him but you can negotiate that right down to £1.8m. His wages are £25,000, and he wants the ‘sporadic 1st team xanax no prescription drug player’ squad role.
Nicola Murru is a rock-solid defender with high potential
The situation at left back isn’t much better than at right back, as it’s the second lowest potential position at Saint-Etienne. The best OVR left back, Cheikh M’Bengue, has reached his potential of 75, while the highest potential player (Pierre-Yves Polomat) only has potential 76. That will need to be improved if you’re to challenge for the title.
So I recommend you buy Nicola Murru of Cagliari in Italy. Like Iorfa, Murru is a full back who excels defensively, which will be very useful when coming up against the might of PSG. As well as having great defensive stats, he’s fast and has 80 stamina, so will be able to get forward and attack when the opportunity arises. His 80 potential also means he’ll be a great long-term solution for your left back woes.
Marcus Coco is an absolutely rapid winger
Club: EA Guingamp
The situation isn’t desperate, but you’ll need to start thinking about getting a new winger. Oussama Tannane has plenty of potential, but the next best winger – Romain Hamouma – has reached his potential and will start declining soon. The next highest potential wingers both have 75 potential, so you’ll need to get a replacement who will take over from Hamouma in due course.
My suggestion is Marcus Coco of EA Guingamp. He’s absolutely rapid with 88 acceleration and 87 sprint speed, so will fly past defenders. His dribbling is very good (rated 76), but he can cross as well, making him good at both creating chances for himself and for his teammates. Throw in 81 potential and you’ve got a great little winger.
EA Guingamp want you to pay £2.9m for him, but you can knock that down to £2m. His wages are £15,000.
Those transfers will leave you with £65,169 in transfer funds and £1,161 in wages. Let’s see who we can sell in order to raise some funds for more transfers or scouts.
Benjamin Corgnet can be sold for about £1.5m
First of all, sell Jessy Moulin for £600,000.
You can clear out loads of defenders. Sell Ronaël Pierre-Gabriel, Kévin Malcuit and Ben Kantie Karamoko for £200,000, £1.5m and £400,000 respectively. Then sell Jérrold Nyemeck and Brian Landini for £600,000 and £200,000.
In terms of midfielders, Cazim Suljic, Benjamin Corgnet and Erin Pinheiro can be sold for £400,000, £1.5m and £300,000 each.
Finally, you could sell Alexander Søderlund for £2.5m if you needed the extra cash, although you may decide to keep him.
All in all, those transfers should make you between £5.7m and £8.2m.
Future considerations: get a new central midfielder
Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro can play almost anywhere on the pitch
Jordan Veretout is a fantastic player, but unfortunately he’s only loaned in. That means we’ll need to find a replacement for when he goes back to his parent club. We don’t need to buy a player straight away, which means looking for free transfers is a good idea (they’ll join Saint-Etienne at the start of the second season, when Veretout leaves).
With that in mind, I recommend you go for Jean-Daniel Akpa Akpro. He is amazingly well-rounded and can play in almost any outfield position. He’s fast, he can dribble, cross, tackle, shoot, read the game… you name it, he can do it. He’s the perfect box-to-box midfielder, and with 79 potential he’ll get even better.
Approach him in January and you’ll just have to pay £30,000 for his wages, no transfer fee involved. He’ll then join your team at the start of the second season.
Future considerations: get a new attacking midfielder
Robin Quaison is a flexible attacking midfielder
Like Veretout, Henri Saivet is only loaned in. He’s a great player, though, so we’ll need to find a replacement for when he leaves. This is another situation where a free transfer would be a good option.
In this case, go for Robin Quaison of Palermo. He’s a flexible attacking midfielder who can also play on the wing or drop back to central midfield. He’s fast, has good stamina and excellent dribbling, which will help on the wing, but he can pick a pass and his long shots aren’t bad either. Getting all that without paying a transfer fee makes him a really strong bargain.
Speaking of which, just pay his £25,000 wages in the January transfer window and he’ll be yours at the beginning of the second season.
That’s it for this week’s article on good teams for career mode. It won’t be easy to wrestle the championship from PSG (or the myriad other contenders in the division), but Saint-Etienne are in a great position to do so thanks to their strong starting lineup, high potential players and generous budget. Can you take them to the top?
I’d like to hear if you have any thoughts about the format of the article itself. Did you find it useful? Conversely, do you think it was missing something that you’d have liked me to include?
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