Introduction: How do these articles work?
Each Sunday I examine a different team in detail and look at why they’re a good team for FIFA 17’s career mode. The teams are broken down into the following categories:
- Tier 1: Teams in tough divisions that can push on to challenge for silverware
- Tier 2: Teams that will have to fight for survival in a challenging division
- Tier 3: Teams that start in a lower division but can hope to get promoted and work their way up higher leagues
- Tier 4: Teams that start right at the bottom of the pile, with few funds or high potential players
UD Almería (Tier 4)
Tier 4 sides start at the lowest rung of the football table. They’re great if you want a long-running career mode where you rise through the leagues.
- Why choose UD Almería?
- Recommended purchases
- Suggested sales
- Future considerations
Starting transfer budget: £2,252,259
Starting wage budget: £30,045
Default formation: 4-4-1-1
• Domestic success: Medium
• Continental success: Very low
• Brand exposure: Low
• Financial success: Low
• Youth development: Medium
Key player: Ximo Navarro
Best young prospect: José Pozo
Why choose UD Almería?
UD Almería were a great team to use in FIFA 16 – they had a ton of high potential players, a good budget and a fairly easy league to compete in. I wrote a guide about them, saying they were “perfect for a quick promotion”. They were looking good then.
Things have taken a turn for the worse for UD Almería in FIFA 17. Most of those high potential players have either left or had their potentials slashed, while the league is home to tougher opponents than last year. There are some bright spots, though – they still have an excellent budget for one thing. They’re now perfect if you want a proper challenge, rather than an easier, more leisurely career.
The team’s key player is Ximo Navarro. He’s the highest rated player in the squad, and one of its highest potential players too. He makes for a great full back – he’s fast, has 87 stamina and fantastic tackling stats. Just work on his crossing on you’ll have a player who excels in defence and attack.
UD Almeria’s most promising young player is José Pozo. His 4 star skills and 75 dribbling make him a tricky attacking midfielder, and an ideal player to maraud into the box and cause trouble for defenders. His passing is good too, so make use of him behind the strikers and you’ll have a playmaker who can supply assists for days.
Strongest starting lineup
Changing the formation slightly to 4-2-3-1, here is UD Almería’s strongest starting lineup, with OVRs in brackets:
Highest potential lineup
Keeping the formation 4-2-3-1, here is UD Almería’s highest potential lineup, with potentials in brackets:
Key signings required: GK, CM, RM.
Before doing anything else, change the budget ratio to 60:40. That will give you £2,326,913 in transfer funds and £28,609 in wages. That leaves us ready to buy some players. I’ve tried to keeping it realistic, only buying players from Spain or Spanish-speaking countries. So let’s see who we can get to boost our squad.
Club: Athletic Bilbao
Cost: £0 (loan)
The most obvious problem area for UD Almeria is in goal. Casto has reached his 68 potential, while Julián only has 70 potential. If you want to do well in the division and eventually get promoted, you’ll need a much better goalkeeper than that.
My recommendation comes in two parts. First, bring in Unai Simón from Athletic Bilbao on loan (we’ll come to the second part in a minute). He’s a great all-round goalkeeper, is young and has high potential. In fact, his 67 OVR means he’ll almost immediately become your first-choice keeper, and his 82 potential will see him grow quickly during his time at the club.
Loan him in for one year; his wages are £3,500.
Club: Deport. Alavés
Cost: £0 (contract expiry)
Now for the second part of my goalkeeper solution. You’ll have Unai Simón in on loan for a year, but what about after that? Well, I suggest you get Adrián Ortolá of Deport. Alavés on a free transfer.
He’ll arrive in the second season with an OVR in the early 70s, making him your first-choice goalkeeper. He’s got 79 potential, and with a bit of training could easily grow into the early 80s. Don’t forget that goalkeepers can keep growing into their 30s, so he might even get into the mid 80s if he performs well enough.
Find him in the January transfer window and select ‘approach to sign on contract expiry’. He’ll want £9,000 in wages, and the ‘important 1st team player’ squad role. Once that’s sorted, he’ll join your team at the start of the second season.
Club: Real Sociedad
UD Almería’s most promising central midfielders, Ramón Azeez and Fran Vélez, aren’t exactly going to set the world alight with their 73 and 72 potentials, respectively. The other central midfielders in the team are also lacking in potential, so we need some fresh talent to really hold down that part of the pitch.
I recommend you buy Igor Zubeldia of Real Sociedad. He’s only 19 but already has some great passing stats (73 short passing and 76 long passing). With his 81 potential, he’ll develop into an excellent deep-lying playmaker, someone who can distribute the ball well whether he’s going long or short. His defensive stats are also good (71 interceptions and 70 stand tackling), so he’s a useful ballwinner too.
Real Sociedad want £1.8m for him, but you only have to pay around £1.1m to buy him. His wages are £8,000, and he wants the ‘important 1st team player’ squad role.
Club: Monarcas Morelia
The last area we need to improve is right midfield. The highest potential right winger is Antonio Puertas, but he only has 71 potential. Meanwhile, the highest OVR player in this position, Abdoul Yoda, is only loaned in. We need to find a replacement who can hold down the position and develop well into the future.
My choice is Andy Polo of Monarcas Morelia in Mexico. His combination of pace (87 acceleration and 88 spring speed) and 85 balance will be a defender’s nightmare, and he’ll breeze past tackles like they’re not there. He’s got 73 dribbling and 4 star skills too, so is ideal if you like pulling off tricks to beat the opposition. And he’s got a 4 star weak foot, so can play on either wing. To top it all he’s got 79 potential – far better than UD Almería’s existing wingers.
Monarcas Morelia want £1.6m for him, but you can negotiate that down to around £1.2m. His wages are £5,700.
Those transfers leave us with £26,913 in transfer funds and £2,409 in wages. Obviously we need a bit more than that if we want to buy some scouts or more players, so let’s see who we can sell in order to raise some extra cash.
First of all, sell goalkeepers Casto and Gianfranco Gazzaniga for £400,000 and £200,000 respectively. With Simón and then Ortolá incoming, we only need Julián as a backup keeper.
In defence, you can sell Isidoro and Carlos Garrido for £400,000 and £200,000 each as well.
Finally, ship out Jonathan Zongo for about £700,000 and Corona for £150,000.
Future considerations: get a new left back
Unfortunately, UD Almería only have one actual left back in the squad (Nano). Ximo Navarro can play at left back, but that’s not his proper position. Really, we need a dedicated left back who can make that spot his own.
I recommend you buy Antonio Lato from Valencia CF. What I like about him is his combination of three things: pace, stamina and crossing. That makes him a great wingback, able to get up and down the flank all game long.
He’s also got 82 potential, so can become a star in a few years’ time. He’s already at 71 OVR despite only being 18 years old, so with some good growth he could definitely exceed his potential.
Future considerations: renew contracts
At the start of the first season, UD Almería have 15 players with only a year remaining on their contracts – that’s more than half the squad! It includes some of your best players too, like Ximo Navarro and Henrique Sereno.
Make sure you renew the contracts of every player you want to keep as soon as you start the career. You don’t want to forget and then have a load of good players leaving for free in January or at the end of the season!
That’s it for this week’s article on good teams for career mode. Despite going through a few changes since FIFA 16, UD Almería are still a great team to use in career mode. If you want the challenge of rebuilding a squad and getting it ready for the top flight, you’re going to love managing this team in FIFA 17.
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?