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
Middlesbrough (Tier 2)
Tier 2 teams face an uphill battle for survival in challenging divisions. Can you help them beat relegation?
- Why choose Middlesbrough?
- Recommended purchases
- Suggested sales
Starting transfer budget: £24,072,725
Starting wage budget: £74,581
Default formation: 4-4-1-1
• Domestic success: Very low
• Continental success: Very low
• Brand exposure: Medium
• Financial success: High
• Youth development: Medium
Key player: Victor Valdés
Best young prospect: Adama
Why choose Middlesbrough?
If you want a real challenge for career mode – one involving a potential relegation battle – the Premier League has got to be the best choice. Competition is huge and everyone has piles of cash, making it difficult for a team like Middlesbrough to stay up. Every team could give you a hammering, so it’s no walk in the park.
Having said that, Middlesbrough do have some things going for them. They’ve got a great goalkeeper and a very good striker in Valdés and Negredo respectively, so they should help you get some good results. Even though they’re one of the weakest and poorest teams in the Premier League, they still start with £24m in transfer funds – how many relegation strugglers can say that? Spend it wisely and you’ll have a great chance of staying up.
The team’s key player is Victor Valdés. If there’s one thing a relegation-threatened team needs, it’s a great goalkeeper, and Valdés is exactly that. He’s very well-rounded so there’s no real weak area of his game, so you shouldn’t need to worry about him letting in soft goals. He is 34 though – even though goalkeepers decline later than outfield players, he’ll still start going down soon, so you’ll need to think about a replacement.
Middlesbrough’s most promising young player is Adama. He starts with searing pace – 90 acceleration and 91 sprint speed – but unlike many wingers he’s actually very strong, and his 78 strength means he won’t be pushed off the ball easily. His dribbling is excellent and he can pass and cross too, so he’s a good all-rounder. But he’s best when he’s running directly at defenders and taking them on, and with 84 potential he’ll get even better at that as he develops.
Strongest starting lineup
Changing the formation slightly to 4-2-3-1, here is Middlesbrough’s strongest starting lineup, with OVRs in brackets:
Highest potential lineup
Keeping the formation at 4-2-3-1, here is Middlesbrough’s highest potential lineup, with potentials in brackets:
Key signings required: GK, CB, LB, CM, ST.
Given Middlesbrough’s £24m transfer kitty, we’ll be able to bring in a load of new first team players. But before doing so, change the budget ratio to 74:26. This will give you £20,638,722 in transfer funds and £139,754 in wages. Now let’s buy some players.
Club: Deport. Alavés
While Valdés is great, he’s going to start declining soon. The other goalkeepers at Middlesbrough aren’t really up to scratch – Guzan and Konstantopoulos are too old to grow any more, while Mejías only has 71 potential. We’ll need a new keeper who can develop over the first season and then take Valdés’s place in the second season.
My choice is Fernando Pacheco of Deport. Alavés in Spain. He’s 24, which is still fairly young for a goalkeeper, and his 76 OVR means you can basically train him up over the first season without him wanting to be the first choice keeper just yet. After a year of training he should be ready, and his 83 potential will make him a very solid option for the long term.
Deport. Alavés want £8.5m for him, but you can get that right down to around £6.2m. His wages are £30,000.
Club: Toulouse FC
While Bernardo Espinosa is a solid centre back, we could definitely improve upon Daniel Ayala. He’s OK, for sure, but we’ll want better than his 74 OVR and 78 potential in order to get a leakproof defence in years to come.
My suggestion is Issa Diop of Toulouse FC. If you’ve watched my guide to the best cheap centre backs in FIFA 17, you’ll know I rave about him (check out how amazing he becomes after a few years of growth!). Despite being only 19 yeas old he’s exceptionally strong and great in the air, so can hold his own against most attackers. With 85 potential he’ll become absolutely dominant in a few years time, so get him now before his price rises.
Speaking of his price, Toulouse FC want £6.5m for him, but you can negotiate that down to £4.7m. His wages are £15,000.
Club: SD Eibar
Middlesbrough have five left backs in the squad – unfortunately, most of them aren’t very good. Fábio is decent enough, but the rest could readily be shipped out and sold. Even then, I think we can get a better left back than Fábio for the long term.
In that respect, I recommend you buy David Juncà of SD Eibar in Spain. He’s basically like a better version of Fábio – he’s got better pace, stamina, crossing and interceptions, while his tackling stats are about the same as Fábio’s. But with 75 OVR and 81 potential, Juncà can go straight into the starting lineup, and will stay there for years to come thanks to his potential.
SD Eibar want you to pay £6.5m for him, but you can get him for just £4.7m. His wages are £20,000.
The team’s highest potential central midfielders are Marten de Roon and Julien De Sart; we’ll keep de Roon. De Sart, though, isn’t good enough to be in the starting lineup yet, and while his 78 potential is good, we can do better. Marten de Roon is a strong ballwinner, so we’ll want a more creative central midfielder to go alongside him.
My choice Rodolfo Pizarro of Pachuca in Mexico. He’s not your average central midfielder – his 87 sprint speed and 92 stamina mean the opposition won’t have a moment’s rest (think N’Golo Kanté). He’s good going forward thanks to his 75 dribbling, 74 crossing and 75 short passing, so will create plenty of chances for his teammates. But his 71 strength, good defensive stats and 72 interceptions mean he can defend too. He’s a great all-rounder with amazing pace and stamina, so he can cover all sorts of positions if you need him to. Oh, and he’s got 81 potential to boot.
Pachuca want £6.5m for him but you can get that down to £4.8m. His wages are £30,000.
Club: West Brom
Cost: £0 (contract expiry)
As I mentioned earlier, Negredo will be a key player for Middlesbrough. Unfortunately, he’s only loaned in from Valencia, so will only be around for one season. While we won’t need a replacement in the first season, we will need someone to come in and take his place the year after. We can get that sorted now, though, with a free transfer.
So, I recommend you buy Saido Berahino of West Brom. He’s very pacey and has 80 finishing and 81 shot power, giving him a great chance in one-on-one situations. He’s got great dribbling so can play on the wing if needed, and his 79 positioning means he’ll be in the right place at the right time to score plenty of goals.
His contract is expiring, so you can get him for free in the January transfer window. Once he agrees to your terms, he’ll join at the start of the second season – just in time to replace Negredo. His wages are £40,000.
First things first, we can offload a number of those goalkeepers I mentioned earlier. Guzan, Konstantopoulos and Mejías can be sold for about £2.5m, £500,000 and £1m respectively.
We can also sell a load of the surplus left backs as well. Sell Husband, Coulson, McGinley and Friend for £500,000, £100,000, £150,000 and £1.7m each. You can also sell Nsue for around £1.5m.
There are plenty of midfielders we can sell too. Morris, Leadbitter and Maloney will get you £170,000, £1m and £50,000 respectively. Also, you can sell de Pena for around £300,000.
Finally, sell Callum Cooke for about £100,000.
Selling all those players will get you around £9.57m. That’s a great return and should enable you to get a few more players or scouts, should you need to.
That’s it for this week’s article on good teams for career mode. Despite being in a hugely challenging division, Middlesbrough have a fantastic budget and so can really strengthen a lot of key positions. That gives you a great chance of staying up – and thriving – in the Premier League.
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?