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Best teams to manage after the FM19 Winter Update

With the release of Football Manager 2019’s Winter Update, it’s time to analyse the clubs that won the transfer window. With so much change occurring in January it could be time to begin a new FM19 save and we’ve profiled the most interesting challenges post-update. Can you rescue a club in turmoil or solidify a strong start?

Best teams to manage after the FM19 Winter Update


The Italian giants are always a wise selection when considering a new Football Manager save. They’re still a team punching well below their weight in Serie A, having not won the title for eight seasons. 

Their winter business seems to be a large step in the right direction, with the club securing two of the brightest young talents in world football. Lucas Paqueta made headlines in Brazil in 2018 and attracted the attention of Europe’s finest clubs. Milan won the race with a €35m fee and the Milan faithful will be hoping he’s worth every cent. The midfielder excels in dribbling, technique and agility and is certainly a player you’d love to manage.

Alongside a new playmaker, ‘I Rossoneri’ also purchased a new frontman. Krzysztof Piatek exploded onto the scene this season with Genoa, scoring nine goals in his first seven games, causing his market value to sky-rocket immediately. By January the Polish striker had 13 goals to his name and a whole host of clubs chasing his signature. Once again it was Milan that won the race with a €35m fee. Piatek is a deadly Poacher with high attributes in finishing, heading and off the ball movement, meaning his profile, of course, replicates his real-life instincts.

Take charge of a new-look Milan side bursting with young talent and restore them to former glory. They’ve spent big but have invested incredibly wisely.

First Season Challenge: Get Milan competing with Europe’s finest.
Long Term Challenge: Dethrone The Old Lady.

AC Milan's Krzysztof Piatek


The Scottish champions used the winter window to add depth and competition for places. Before his departure for Leicester, Brendan Rodgers strengthened the defence, midfield and attack while reducing the average age of the squad through young acquisitions.

Celtic secured stellar loan deals bringing in Oliver Burke, Dortmund’s Jeremy Toljan and wonderkid Timothy Weah with the latter, in particular, hitting the ground running at Celtic Park. The American shows great potential while already possessing high attributes in crossing, agility and acceleration.

With potential all over the pitch, can you guide the Bhoys to victory over Steven Gerrard’s resurgent Rangers? 

First Season Challenge: Secure the title for the eighth-time running.
Long Term Challenge: Consistent appearances in the latter stages of European competitions.

Celtic's Timothy Weah

Ipswich Town

The Tractor Boys have been in the Championship for the last 14 years; currently, however, they look to be in danger of dropping out of the division. Like all teams in crisis, Ipswich have thrown caution to the wind, adding many new additions to the squad in January. With eight arrivals through the doors of Portman Road, they’ve given themselves a fighting chance of getting out of trouble.

Loanees Will Keane and Collin Quaner will add pace and guile to their attack while Callum Elder and James Collins should bring stability to the back line. Will Keane adds versatility to the Ipswich frontline, as he’s comfortable playing up-front or anywhere behind the striker with key attributes in finishing, team work and flair.

The squad has been re-shuffled in the January update and you could be tasked with bringing it together. With a full season in charge, forget about the threat of relegation and aim for the playoffs… and beyond.

First Season Challenge: Steady the ship, aim for the top half of a competitive Championship.
Long Term Challenge: Turn Ipswich into a trademark top tier side.

Ipswich Town Club


The Italian club are sailing a little too close to Serie A’s relegation spots at present and need something, or someone, to steer them to safety. As a club more used to playing in Europe than the second division, the board have looked to the January window as an opportunity to bring in much-needed reinforcements, coming in the form of five short-term loans.

Ben Wilmot, Stefano Okaka and Marvin Zeegelaar all arrive from Watford with a point to prove and a golden chance to gain valuable minutes. Each player has shone briefly in England without much consistency and will be eager to impress their parent club. Okaka will bring a confident presence to Udinese’s attack with superb strength, balance and heading attributes.

Sandro and Sebastien De Maio arrive full of top-flight experience well equipped for a potential dramatic relegation scrap. With so many loans in the current squad, Udinese represent an interesting challenge beyond the first season too, with room to overhaul the squad and develop a stable regime.

First Season Challenge: Avoid relegation comfortably with a run in the domestic cups.
Long Term Challenge: Get Udinese back into European contention.

Udinese's Stefano Okaka

Atlanta United 

The MLS champions had an interesting winter transfer window. Having lost star-man Miguel Almiron to the English top flight, the board moved quickly to secure a replacement. Gonzalo Martinez arrived for €13m having attracted the attention of his national team in the two caps that came in late 2018. The Argentine winger will operate predominantly from the left flank, but with the versatility to play anywhere behind the striker.

Alongside Martinez, the champions brought in Dion Pereira, a hot prospect from Watford who can also fill the void left by Almiron. The young English Winger has the tools to fulfil his potential with high attributes in determination as well as crossing and pace.

Also, through the door is Florentin Pogba who represents good business for the MLS side as a tough-tackling centre back with vast experience in Europe.

Perhaps their best bit of business, however, was the new contract signed by striker Josef Martinez, an integral part of the championship winning side. With a fresh squad and a boost in finance, bringing the MLS title back to Atlanta is a realistic and inviting challenge.

First Season Challenge: Retain the MLS Cup.
Long Term Challenge: Set MLS records and build a dynasty.

Atlanta Tactics


The Black Cats were one of the teams we highlighted in our ‘Top Nine Challenges’ piece written upon the release of FM19 and they haven’t disappointed in the real world either. Currently occupying a Sky Bet League One playoff spot Sunderland are hoping to bounce back following their tough period in recent times.

Despite their good form this campaign however, the board weren’t willing to rest on their laurels. Will Grigg came from Wigan for a large fee and an even bigger reputation of scoring goals at this level, while Lewis Morgan and Kazaiah Sterling will add width and pace too. Best suited as a lone striker, Grigg possesses all the attributes of a poacher with great levels in finishing, workrate and penalty taking.

The signing of Grant Leadbitter also represents an astute bit of business, adding grit and industry to their midfield, ensuring that Sunderland have a powerful yet balanced squad. If the Black Cats weren’t already an exciting side to manage beforehand, they certainly are now.

First Season Challenge: Get the Black Cats back to the second tier.
Long Term Challenge: Reclaim top flight status… and stay there.

Sunderland's Will Grigg

Hashtag United

If you’re looking for something completely different altogether, then why not download our Hashtag United Challenge and put yourself in the hotseat at the most exciting new club in football? This single-season challenge allows you to reacquaint yourself with grassroots football in the form of the Thurlow Nunn First Division South. Hashtag are currently flying high in their division and sit six points clear at the top of the table as they look to make their mark on the English football pyramid.

The club have invested in new talent over the winter too, bringing in wonderkid Albie Keith who has already notched up two goals for his new club. Albie joins a side packed with quality, including league-leading performers such as Harry Honesty, Matt Carter and the club’s top scorer Neil Richmond.

The club has high expectations and the league title is very much the requirement for any manager stepping into the dugout at Hashtag. Can you go out and win it in the club’s very first season?

First Season Challenge: Win the Thurlow Nunn First Division South as Hashtag United.
Long Term Challenge: Go out and win it again with any of the other clubs in the league.


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