10 Teams to restart your journey with in the Main Winter Update
Many Football Manager players take the opportunity to start a new career when the Main Winter Update drops. January transfers and the real-life fortunes of clubs around the world open the doors to a whole new variety of adventure. It can be tricky to work out where to start, however, so we’ve put together a list of 10 of our favourite new challenges for you to take on.
There’s one big reason we’ve included Rovers on this list and that’s their top scorer, Chilean international Ben Brereton Diaz.
Brereton Diaz’s rise over the last year has been one of the best stories to follow, not just because it’s shown the global reach and power of Football Manager. He’s bagged 20 goals in 30 league games since the start of the season, a strike rate that’s pushing Blackburn towards an unexpected automatic promotion place.
The Lancashire club have a strong squad, combining a good mix of youth and experience across the pitch. Thomas Kaminski is one of the division’s top shot stoppers, while Harry Pickering and Ryan Nyambe are a dynamic full-back pair guaranteed to provide ample service for the likes of Brereton Diaz and the promising Tyrhys Dolan. If you can get them firing on all cylinders, you’ve got a good chance of ending their stint in the EFL and looking towards the promised land of another top-flight title.
Olympique Lyonnais, one of France’s most consistently successful clubs of the 21st century, currently find themselves outside of the European qualification places in Ligue 1 Uber Eats with only a third of the season left to go.
Les Gones’ biggest issues this season have been breaking opposition defenses down and stringing together results on a consistent basis.
Although they sold several important players over the last two windows, they still boast a good squad. Jerome Boateng and Leo Dubois are the building blocks of a strong defence, while the likes of Houssem Aouar, Lucas Paqueta, Maxence Caqueret and new signing Romain Faivre ensure there’s midfield creativity in spades. It’s up to you to build a winning tactic and aim towards challenging PSG’s dominance.
Few sides navigated the recent transfer window better than Bournemouth.
The Cherries already had one of the SkyBet Championship’s best squads but they supercharged their promotion challenge in January by adding genuine quality in all areas of the pitch.
Welsh international striker Kieffer Moore brings natural goalscoring instincts and a real physical presence to their frontline, giving a new dimension to their attacking play, while Siriki Dembele’s pace and trickery will ensure plenty of service and creativity from the wide areas.
The acquisition of James Hill, meanwhile, one of the most highly-rated young defenders in the EFL, shows that they’re planning for the future as well as the present.
Sealing promotion in your first campaign should be straightforward and from there you’ll have a real platform to build on and make their next stay in the top-flight a permanent one.
AS Saint-Etienne are the most successful club in French footballing history but this season has been a real challenge with Les Verts currently rock bottom of Ligue 1 Uber Eats.
The club’s strategy for the relegation fight they find themselves in has been to bring in players with real experience to complete the promising academy talents already in the first-team; Bakary Sako, Joris Gnagnon and FM fan Eliaquim Mangala, joined on free transfers in January, while Paul Bernardoni, Enzo Crivelli and Falaye Sacko were all brought in on loan. All of those additions should strengthen the spine of the team.
Have you got the tactical nous to devise a system that gets the best from these players and ensure Saint-Etienne keep their place at French football’s top table?
SC Freiburg are consistent overachievers in the Bundesliga, their success fuelled by an excellent scouting network and clever management. They’re a team greater than the sum of their parts.
Buoyed by a 10-game unbeaten run to start the season, they once again find themselves pushing for a European spot that would be richly deserved.
Italian international Vincenzo Grifo is the master creator, a deadly set-piece taker who dictates the way they play, while South Korean winger Jeong Woo-Yeong is maturing into a top player. The signing of young Belgian Hugo Siquet shows that you’ll be inheriting a strong squad set for a bright future.
One for those with an eye on local bragging rights and a longer-term challenge.
Torino narrowly avoided the drop last season but they look much better organised this time round, currently 11th in the table. Key to that improvement has been a watertight defence anchored by Alessandro Buongiorno and Bremer.
Breaking into the division’s top seven won’t be easy but with a proven goalscorer like Andrea Belotti leading the line and Tommaso Pobega and Wilfried Singo developing strongly, there’s a real core for you to build around. The day you become the number one team in Turin will be very sweet indeed.
1. FSV Mainz 05
FSV Mainz 05’s current run in the Bundesliga dates to 2009 and in that time their best finish has been fifth. Die Nullfünfer haven’t cracked the top half in five years but their current squad, on paper at least, looks capable of ending that run.
A city on the banks of the Rhine, Mainz is a city known for its many historic buildings and being the birthplace of the man who produced the first movable-type printing press. The football club has birthed a couple of managers currently plying their trade at the top level of the English game, but we think it’s time for you to stay there and write your own bit of history.
One of only a handful of sides in the Vanarama National League South to be professional, Ebbsfleet United have high hopes for promotion this season.
They also had those ambitions last year, when the campaign was curtailed by the pandemic. While it could have thrown them off, The Fleet have used that time to assemble a well-rounded squad packed with players boasting impressive track records at higher levels of the pyramid.
Ebbsfleet does boast an international train station with direct links to the continent. Is it too early to start planning for an eventual European tour?
What a difference a few months make.
Last season, a 15-game unbeaten run helped Legia Warsaw, already the most successful club in Polish football, win their 15th Ekstraklasa title.
This year, a run of seven straight losses between September and November had Legia rooted to the bottom of the table. The prospect of relegation to the second division is unthinkable but thankfully for they’ve begun to reduce that possibility recently with a couple of big wins.
Tidying up what is a pretty big squad will be one of your first jobs when you take over the hotseat at Stadion Wojska Polskiego. After that it’ll be about asserting yourselves domestically and making a statement in European action.
We hope these ideas have given you a bit of inspiration for your next saves. Let us know where you’re managing and how you’re getting on across our social media platforms.
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