Are prices in FM inflated? I see the question time and time again on the SI forums and has led me to focus this week's blog and (hopefully) going some way to dispel this myth. Prices are NOT inflated. This week, I hope to encourage other players to adapt their playstyle in order to deflate transfer prices.
Before we begin, let's take a moment to admire the complexity of the real world transfer system. Players can be signed on trial, on loan, co-owned, loaned with an option to buy, signed on a Bosman ruling, pay as you play, agent ownerships etc etc. There are so many possibilities for a player to move from A to B. This is all played out in hundreds of leagues in many nations...all containing certain legal rules and nuances.
On the most part, Football Manager does an admiral job. After playing every iteration of Sports Interactive's Football Management simulations since 1997, FM15 is by far the most accurate version. Now let's address the issue of price inflation by answering the second title question - how can we deflate the insane prices that AI managers sometimes throw back at us in FM15. Follow 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Avoid 'cold bidding' & make sure you scout
Not sure if 'cold bidding' is an FM term, but it is now. Avoid bidding for a player without extensive research into him and his current situation. The most organised clubs in real life work as much as 12 months ahead of time, sometimes even longer. There is no reason why your Football Manager team should be different.
The first thing you ought to do is scout that player, either with your scouting network, or in person. Remember: as managers we can view other AI vs AI games, so watching a player in the match engine will prove more fruitful in judging a player's current ability than any scout report.
Step 2: Find out what his head is like (and then get in it)!
I cannot stress the importance of the hidden mental stats that are behind every player, stats such as adaptability and consistency. These have a big role in whether your new signing will be a success. These are hinted at in the scout reports and it's vital they are read and understood. It will also indicate the level of success that my next move will have: declaring media interest. Loyal, reserved players are less likely to react favourably to the 'Declare Media Interest' option. But those with ambition (especially if you're at a more reputable club) will do all sorts of things to help you deflate that transfer price. Players may end up missing training and even request to leave.
Step 3: Eat, sleep, negotiate, repeat
AI managers do not like unhappy players. Once the form drops, training sessions are missed and/or a transfer request has been accepted, then it is time to make the 'enquiry'. Again, like declaring a media interest, this has the possibility of disrupting a player further.
This process may take several months but with a bit of luck the selling club may be agreeable to a transfer. Here is where you need to negotiate, making good use of all the options available to you. Such as:
- Additional fees (Monthly instalments, Fees after or per league/intl appearance, minimum league appearances etc)
- Players to exchange
- Clauses (loan backs, % of future sales, buy back agreements)
Use as much of the above in your negotiations. Just like the scouting in Step 1, these negotiations should take time and demand patience...just like in real life.
By following the 3 steps to success, I am certain that you will be able to get your man for a more reasonable price. Once everything is sorted and that player is now in your possession, then the real fun of management can begin...