DNAjax | Laying the Foundations

When taking over at a new club seeing the number of players you have to individually assess can sometimes be overwhelming. In a bigger club, you can be looking at 100+ players when you include reserve and youth squads.

Whilst FM is labelled a glorified spreadsheet, I always thought the data could sometimes be displayed in a much simpler way and be made less cumbersome, and that’s how the Attribute Analysis Spreadsheet came about.

I won’t be going into great detail about the spreadsheet, you can see the original post here and I’ll be doing an updated post upon release of v2, but I will be giving an insight on how I use it to set up my squads.


In the first part of DNAjax, I outlined what I am aiming to do with the save – it’s something I’ve never done before so I’m going completely out of my comfort zone and there’ll be a lot of learning along the way.

Player ability will still be at the forefront of the save, but there’ll also be a big focus on mentality and personality – it may lead to some big names leaving the club early on but Janneke van Langen is a woman who knows what she wants and how to get it.


AJAX is a squad that could fall into the overwhelming category, over their 3 teams they have amassed a total of 82 players.

82 players is a large amount for most clubs:
– how do you manage rotation to keep everyone happy while also developing tactical partnerships?
– how do you ensure your youth players get the right development?

82 players is definitely a large amount for DNAjax.

With such a vast amount of players, there’s no doubt about what’s needed, at least half will have to leave in 2019/2020.

Looking towards the future, a squad size of around 25-30 should be sufficient but let’s not run before we can walk, we’ve got to make it through the first season without getting sacked first!


The first year is all about laying the foundations:
Step 1 – Club DNA
Step 2 – Formation Selection
Step 3 – Player Assessment
Step 4 – Role Assignment
Step 5 – Transfer Targets

Step One – Club DNA

More detail is covered in my first post but here’s a reminder of the type of squad I have envisaged for DNAjax,

Step Two – Formation Selection

The majority of managers would take a look at their squad and decide what formation best suits them based on the players at their disposal. However, to make things even more difficult for myself, I allowed Twitter to choose.

With already having intensive plans for the save, the last thing I wanted to do was create a new formation so I put out an SOS for people to send me their tactics – the only conditions were it needed to include attacking and entertaining football (to satisfy the board) and a DM position (to satisfy my desire to use Daley Blind).

I had a dozen or so sent to me and eventually narrowed it down to the three I liked the look of most. Putting it to a short public vote, a 32410 formation by Ryan_FMTeacher was chosen. I’ll be tweaking it as I go but will be starting from the following base

As you’ll soon see, Ajax is lacking in the first team striker area – currently only having an ageing Klaas-Jan Huntelaar at our disposal – so going strikerless could actually work out pretty well!

Step Three – Player Analysis

Player Analysis is one of the most important areas of FM, it’s also one of the most time-consuming.

Imagine if someone made a spreadsheet that would cut down on the number of screens you need to look at.

Imagine if all you had to do was type a players name into a box and all the information you need would magically appear in front of you.

Oh, right, I did that!

There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to player analysis so there will be another blog coming soon. In the meantime, here are some more graphics showing the scale of what I’ll be dealing with – a pretty unbalanced 82 man squad.

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