I didn't expect things to get this crazy so early on in my FM17 save. Only days after Juan Sebastián Verón announced debt repayments from a previous £21.76m bank loan (payments lasting until 2040), I was celebrating the successful sale of Santiago Ascacíbar to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) for a South American record transfer fee of £55m. Today's blog discusses this crazy deal and summaries a frantic first few months at Estudiantes de La Plata (EdlP). Let's begin...
Pre-season in La Plata
The first priority at EdlP was to begin working on the style of play, as I have detailed in previous Fame & Fibra posts (fmgrasshopper.com/fm17). I had two semi-working formations on the Beta - both of which contained contrasting mentalities and shapes. A Counter Attacking 4-4-2: which I envisage being used in home games (and against teams who i feel can be 'got at' away from home), and a Defensive 4-1-4-1 DM: used to defend and keep things tight. Both systems aim to reduce the amount of Clear Cut Chances I concede to the AI opposition. Ultimately, I wish to emulate EdlP's intrinsic style: winning at any cost and upsetting 'the status quo' with anti-fútbol.
The Beta tactic was slightly tweaked over the course of the four friendlies, but I didn't notice any drastic changes to the way things were working between Beta and Live. We had one crazy game in Uruguay (against Defensor Sporting)...but other than that it was solid:
The early arrivals were announced during my marathon FM session on Friday 04 November (thanks to @talentfactoryFM for assisting with the lovely graphics). All three signings were within their respective Fibra scores, as detailed here. José Domingo Salcedo joins as my only non-Argentine signing whose over the age of 25 years, providing 62/80 fibra in the Left Midfielder role. Both Cavallini & Paz are for the future, but are certainly able to contribute to the EdlP 1st team in 2016/17.
Santiago Ascacíbar is attracting interest in real life for his dynamic performances in EdlP's central midfield. I knew going into this save that his long term future lies in Europe, even in FM Santiago normally makes it to the top end of European football. See @FULLTIMEFM's Wonderkid projection here:
There was no surprise at all when PSG came knocking in July 2016, with a measly bid of around £1m. PSG were the only ones bidding, but there were a other few clubs interested: Benfica, Porto, Sevilla and Valencia. After 3 more bids from the Parisian Capital, Santiago himself took matters into his own hands and voiced his displeasure about the rejected bids. It was time to accept defeat and engineer a move for Santiago with EdlP's best interests central to the deal (using the Offer To Clubs function). What happens next is, quite simply, un-fucking-believable...
The Ascacíbar Deal in Focus:
(1) The Loan Back
With only a day away from my opening Copa Sudamericana fixture against Belgrano and the Transfer Window deadline looming, I knew time was against EdlP finding a replacement. I therefore wanted a loan back option in the Ascacíbar Deal. This was an essential part of the transfer, so I placed a 2 year loan back as non-negotiable requirement. This should also be of interest to those Clubs bidding, seeing as though EdlP has State Of The Art training facilities, ensuring that Santiago improves with regular game time.
(2) The % of Next Transfer Fee
With @FULLTIMEFM's video in mind, I wanted Santiago Ascacíbar to move somewhere which would act as a stepping stone to a bigger club. I didn't expect to receive a cash offer over £5m, I therefore wanted him to move to either: Benfica, Porto, Sevilla and Valencia and hope that one day PSG would come calling again with lots of cash. I therefore placed the non-negotiable requirement of 50% of any transfer fee in the future for him. I envisaged this would be where I receive the most money from the deal - perhaps up to £10m - in the next 5-10 years.
(3) The Friendly
Budgets are hard in South America and attracting a big club like Benfica or Porto to La Plata would be a real coup. It's something I placed into the deal as I see it was something easy for the bug clubs to offer to me. Non-negotiable, of course.
(4) £5m after 1 International Appearance
It won't be long before Ascacíbar is given a chance by Edgardo Bauza in Argentina's midfield. I therefore thought that receiving £5m would be a reasonable figure to expect in my save at about 3-4 years in. I hesitated to put this as a negotiable offer, but I thought I would offer it firstly as a non-negotiable item (and be flexible on the upfront value instead).
(5) The upfront money - £1.8m
I offered Ascacíbar's market value, which weighed the deal at around £6.8m overall. This was left negotiable to entice Clubs to bid...but I wouldn't have sold him for less than £1m.
Benfica, PSG and Valencia were the keen bidders. All three made bids to the amount requested (£6.8m with add-ons). Now this is the key part: before even looking at the Benfica and Valencia deals I wanted to deter PSG. I did not want to sell to them, on the basis that the 50% next transfer fee may never be achieved.
I therefore, put a non-negotiable £50m fee to them on the table. To my astonishment, PSG accepted this proposal:
Benfica and Valencia were willing to negotiate, but only up to around £5-7m upfront fees. I therefore had no choice to accept this incredible bid from PSG.
There is so much included in this deal, which makes it one of my best EVER CM/FM sales: EdlP have their star youngster for two more years (who is now outside of EdlP's wage budget). EdlP are also protected with future income in (1) the Argentina appearance that will inevitably happen and (2) a lucrative friendly, which I will host in 2017.
But most importantly, the deal sees EdlP rid of the worries regarding the 24 year Bank Loan repayments that I mentioned earlier on in this blog. In one clean swoop The Ascacíbar Deal has erased the fear of annual repayments of around £700k for the next 2 and a half Decades.
I received 50% of the £50m upfront cash, but had little time to do anything with it. I am going down the route of Fibra...and the excess money doesn't really change much as the players with ample fibra are not always the most expensive. For sure, I can now compete in the Transfer Market...buying up the players that suit my system. Even tempting some of the best young players away from the famed Academies of Boca and River. But this money is best used internally within the club...
So the first thing I did was flesh out the backroom staff (both the 1st team and U20s), ensuring that I make use of the State Of The Art training facilities at EdlP.
The result is an increase in Professionalism, the key influencer in encouraging players' development.
The money has also allowed us to open up our 1st Argentine Affiliate arrangement with: Club Atlético Brown de Adrogué. Club Brown play in the 2nd Division and have 'Fairly Basic Youth Recruitment'. The agreement might not yield much talent at all to poach, but it will provide me with another avenue for youngsters to get 1st team football.
Making the club sustainable will be Ascacíbar's legacy.
The next blog post will detail how the competitive fixtures have gone during my formative months in La Plata. Thanks for taking the time to read, I hope you've enjoyed reading about this incredible transfer deal and how it has shaped my vision for moving fowards. RTs and sharing most welcome :-)