People have different ways to analyse their squads,
– some rely on Assistant and Coach reports and go with what they suggest
– some have an innate ability to just look at attributes and know exactly who will fit where
– some use a combination of reports and match practice
– some make a super in-depth spreadsheet that will analyse every player for them
It will come as no surprise that I fall firmly into the latter category.
I released v2 of my Attribute Analysis Spreadsheet recently and will be using it to set up my Ajax squad.
Having the best players you can at your disposal is the number one priority when it comes to squad management. Depending on the team you’re managing, it can also be one of the hardest things about FM.
With Ajax, I’m lucky to have a large squad at my fingertips. However, when looking at my assistant reports to see what he thinks their best positions are, this could also be seen as a hindrance.
I’m choosing to play a formation that doesn’t use strikers or fullbacks, so if I was to rely solely on my assistant, I’d immediately be letting 26 players leave without a second glance.
This is where my spreadsheet comes in, it gives every player another chance and reassesses their suitability for my formation. Players that could have been leaving may find their future at the club has suddenly become a lot more secure.
In the first two ( 1 | 2 ) parts of this series, I laid out the formation I wanted to play and the personality traits I wanted my team to possess. After setting up my spreadsheet to reflect this, I can now go ahead and analyse my players.
For those who haven’t seen the spreadsheet yet, I have devised a formula that rates each player based on their nationality, personality, age and formation/role suitability. Further details can be found on the spreadsheet download page
The first team originally consisted of 23 players, which increased to 24 after the squad analysis. Not a big difference numbers-wise but more than half of these players were newly promoted from the B-Team.
7 players were demoted due to being too young to cope with the demands of top-flight football or because their current skill level isn’t up to my standards.
5 players were added to the transfer list for a combined market value of £56m. There are some high profile players on the list, but that’s DNAjax for you – if you don’t fit the club culture then Ajax isn’t the club for you.
Using the best positions report from my Assistant, you can see 9 of the players would immediately leave. Taking advantage of my spreadsheet though, I can easily reassign everyone to their best position on the field based on my formation.
There is still a massive unbalance in the first team, but I’ll revisit this in my next blog.
Following the same process, I can also quickly form my B and Youth squads.
Originally 32 players strong, the B-Team has been cut drastically to just 9 players. This is the biggest cull of all 3 squads but it isn’t something I’ll be concerned about as the First Team players who aren’t currently getting match time will be made available for the reserves.
10 players were added to the transfer list for a combined market value of £8.3m. A further 7 will be offered out for a loan in order to receive some match experience.
3 players would have left immediately if I relied on my Assistant Report.
After assigning everyone to the role that fits my formation, I’m more than happy with the balance on the pitch – as previously mentioned, the gaps will be covered by rotating First Team players.
Starting with 27 players, the squad now consists of 12. In the same way that I’ll be using First Team players for the reserves, I’ll be using the younger squad members to plug the gaps in youth games too. The small squad size also lessens the workload on the coaches and gives the chance to offer more one on one coaching for our up and coming stars.
No players were deemed good enough for promotion to a higher level but we have seen 3 demoted into the squad.
A massive 19 have been released from the club, with 2 being offered out on loan.
Only 3 would have seen their careers cut short by the Assistant Manager.
As with the First Team, there is an unbalance in the squad after assigning their roles and I’ll be looking at using players in their secondary roles.
Out of the initial 82 man squad, 36 players have either been asked to leave or will be leaving as soon as teams come bidding. This is still 16 more than my ideal squad size, but over the course of the season players will naturally drift away from my plans and I’d be open to selling them.
The balance of the squad needs some work but this is something I’ll address in Step Four – Role Assignment. The process will involve reassessing certain players and seeing if they could perform elsewhere on the pitch, for example, could the DLP’s be equally at home as a VOL?