With Arsenal going 12 years without a Premier League trophy, maybe you’re the man to step in and make a change. The Gunners now hold one of their best squads since their last league title win in the 2003/04 season, and they are a great team to take charge of on FIFA 17’s Career Mode. Here’s our RealSport guide.
How you should line up
The Arsenal side pretty much picks itself, and your biggest decision is to leave out Aaron Ramsey. With Arsenal in Europe as well, there will still be plenty of games for him to get on the pitch.
At left back you can choose between Nacho Monreal or Kieran Gibbs, but with the Spaniard already maxing out his potential at 81, it may be worth playing the 80-rated Gibbs who has a potential of 82.
The final choice comes on the wings, Alexis Sanchez is obviously a definite starter, but who do you play on the other flank? Theo Walcott is the highest rated at 81, and with his flying pace, he is a useful weapon. But you could choose to use his impact off the bench and start Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, rated at 79 but with a potential of 86. Finally, you have Danny Welbeck who is 80-rated but has an 84 potential. We’ll leave this one to you.
On the bench, you should have David Ospina, Gabriel and Francis Coquelin to add to those who you’ve left out from our side.
The transfer market
Starting transfer budget: £77 million
Who should go
Arsenal’s starting transfer budget is £77 million, which is plenty to sign a star player, but if you want to step up into the next bracket, you should consider selling some players that won’t be competing for a first team spot.
Mohamed Elneny arrived in January and has shown flashes of what he can do, but with Granit Xhaka joining the club over the summer, his chances of game time look limited, especially when you consider Jack Wilshere is out on loan. With an overall rating of 74, he is somewhat off the pace, with Xhaka, Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin all above him. His potential of 81 is tempting to keep him, but you are unlikely to give him the first team minutes to enable him to grow. With his contract tying him down to 2020, you should be able to get over £5 million for him.
With Hector Bellerin set to keep that right back for the foreseeable future, you have to choose who will be the backup option: Mathieu Debuchy or Carl Jenkinson. Debuchy is the higher rated at 80 which is good enough for a start, but aged 30, his level will soon drop. Jenkinson is rated just 73, with his potential not much higher at 76, and with his pace stats taking a serious hit, there is not much he can offer. Debuchy may seem the obvious choice to keep, but if you swiftly renew his contract, you could sell him for £10 million, compared to the £3 million for Jenkinson.
Yes, Yaya Sanogo is still at Arsenal, but with the arrival of Lucas Perez, he will struggle to get on the pitch. His level of 69 nor his potential of 75 is high enough to keep him, so it's best to cash in on him while he’s still young and receive £ 2million.
Arsenal have a number of tricky youngsters on their books, but one player that won’t make the grade is Matt Macey. With a rating of 52 and a potential of 64, there is no point even sending the 21-year-old goalkeeper out on loan. You’ll receive more than his value of £58,000 if you decide to sell, however.
Who to sign
If you sell players well, you could have an extra £10-17 million, which puts you in the ballpark of a £90 million transfer budget. If you win a pre-season tournament, you could be looking at having over £100 million at your disposal. Your wage budget should also increase to as much as £390,000. You can now either go for two top, top signings or go all in on one sensational player.
Looking at the team sheet, you would think that a right back would be the signing to go for, but given Hector Bellerin’s potential of 87, you should look at the other side of the defence, at left back. Neither Nacho Monreal or Kieran Gibbs will improve above 82, so you need to look at other options. Top of your shopping list should be David Alaba, who has all the makings to compete with former Arsenal man Ashley Cole and Roberto Carlos as the greatest left back of all time. The Austrian has a rating of 87 and a potential of 90, making him the best left back in the game, which is incredible at just 24 years' old. His acceleration, sprint speed, interceptions and stamina are all rated 86 or above, and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
He still has five years remaining on his contract, so it will take a big bid to move him, but a fee of £50-55 million should tempt Bayern Munich enough to let him go. His wages of £101,000 are acceptable, and the added bonus of him being able to play in the centre of defence or even in midfield make him a must buy.
- Luke Shaw – Manchester United, Age 20, OVR 81, POT 89, Cost: £30m, Wage: £36,000
- Layvin Kurzawa – AS Monaco, Age 23, OVR 81, POT 88, Cost: £26m, Wage: £43,000
- Jordi Alba – Barcelona, Age 27, OVR 86, POT 87, Cost: £38m, Wage: £108,000
- Marcelo – Real Madrid, Age 28, OVR 86, POT 86, Cost: £28m, Wage £115,000
- Filipe Luis – Atletico Madrid, Age 30, OVR 85, POT 85, Cost: £23m, Wage: £72,000
- Gaya – Valencia, Age 21, OVR 80, POT 85, Cost: £19m, Wage: £36,000
- Leighton Baines – Everton, Age 31, OVR 83, POT 83, Cost: £16m, Wage: £65,000
If you fancy a more attacking move than a left-back, you are going to be looking for a striker. Every window Arsenal fans wonder if they will finally find a replacement for Robin Van Persie, and although Lucas Perez has come in, Gooners want a big name at their club. There are a whole host of options, especially if you have that kind of money, and almost no player will be off limits. If you want instant success, it’s got to be Robert Lewandowski. The Bayern Munich man would fit the Premier League like a glove, and with a rating of 90, he will bang in the goals. A bid between £60-65million should get the 27-year-old, to go with his wages of £151,000. With a new Career Mode feature concerning shirt sales, that is just one of many reasons to sign the Pole. His finishing stands at 91, positioning at 89 and composure at 87. Lethal.
However, if you want someone you can be successful over a longer period, you need to look at Antoine Griezmann and Paulo Dybala. Neither are out-and-out strikers, but they would fit the Arsenal mould perfectly. Both are more than capable of playing out wide as well, should you need to bring on Giroud for his aerial presence. Atletico Madrid’s Griezmann is in the form of his life, and his 88 rating reflects that. He can grow up to 92, which give you a solid seven seasons with the 25-year-old, who could cost as much as £70 million. The Frenchman’s finishing is rated at 88, to go with his 91 positioning and 90 agility & reactions.
As for Dybala, he is an even younger choice at 22, and being rated at 85 at that age is incredible. He is a similar player to Griezmann, but can also bang goals in from a distance, and if you want to solely play as Arsenal for a decade, then he is your go-to guy. The Argentine has dribbling, ball control, acceleration and agility all 90 or above, with long shots at 86. Dybala is a cheaper option as well, and you should be able to secure him for just over £50 million.
- Romelu Lukaku – Everton, Age 23, OVR 84, POT 90, Cost: £40m, Wage: £79,000
- Alexandre Lacazette – Lyon, Age 25, OVR 85, POT 89, Cost: £43m, Wage: £79,000
- Gonzalo Higuaín – Juventus, Age 28, OVR 88, POT 88, Cost: £60m, Wage: £130,000
- Thomas Müller – Bayern Munich, Age 26, OVR 87, POT 88, Cost: £55m, Wage: £122,000
- Karim Benzema – Real Madrid, Age 28, OVR 87, POT 87, Cost: £50m, Wage: £122,000
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Borussia Dortmund, Age 27, OVR 86, POT 87, Cost: £48m, Wage: £115,000
With quite a lot of players not expected to get first team action, you should consider sending them out on loan. Rob Holding and Alex Iwobi have already featured a lot for Arsene Wenger, but with other defensive and wide options, you are better off sending them out to Championship clubs for the season.
Chuba Akpom, Gedion Zelalem, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Chris Willock and Krystian Bielik will all struggle to get minutes on the pitch even in the EFL Cup, so send them out them on loan to get more experience.
One tip for FIFA Career Mode virgins: always, always, always renew contracts. Most of the time they don’t cost you a penny, and if you want to get rid of a player who is in his final year, it is worth giving him a new deal to increase his transfer price.
Laurent Koscielny and Santi Cazorla are both in the last year of their contracts, and you should want to keep hold of them.
As for Per Mertesacker, you will probably want to get rid of him at the end of the season, and that is when his contract is up. It is still worth giving the big German a new deal and then selling him next summer. The same goes for Mathieu Debuchy, who you shouldn’t be looking to keep around for more than two seasons, slap a fresh contract on him and reap the transfer rewards.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Chris Willock are two young, exciting prospects, and just to be on the safe side it will be worth giving the two 18-year-olds new contracts as they have potentials above 75.
Training your players is always a tricky one (ever since it arrived in FIFA 16). One word of advice, leave your older players alone. You would have to train them at almost every available opportunity for them to increase. Therefore, you should look to train the players who won’t get the minutes on the pitch. It’s up to do whether to do the drills yourself, but you may become a bit bored after a while.
At Arsenal, the first team players to focus on will be Hector Bellerin, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Danny Welbeck, and Alex Iwobi, due to their significantly higher potentials. If you choose to keep hold of some fringe players, make sure Gedion Zelalem is getting trained up as the midfielder’s potential is 84. There’d be no harm in looking at Chuba Akpom, Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Chris Willock and Krystian Bielik as well should you decide against sending them on loan.
A new feature on Career Mode is a grander range of objectives, which involve financial targets and brand exposure. As you’d expect, domestic and continent success is paramount for Arsenal, but so is brand exposure. You will be expected to make a certain amount of shirt sales in the season which can be controlled by bringing in big name signings, as well as your performances on the pitch.
Fortunately for you, Arsenal have no financial objectives so you can splash the cash as you please. But the objective that will need a lot of thought is youth development. You will be asked to either bring a certain amount of youth players through the academy or sign some young players. Get your youth and transfer scouts set up early doors otherwise, you will forget.
The Emirates awaits…
With the amount of depth Arsenal have, you should have an exciting career mode. The problem may be that the lack the first team squad that the other contenders have. So, on my personal objective for you would be to win a trophy, and challenge for all competitions. If you make decent signings in your first two seasons, you can turn Arsenal back into fully-fledged title contenders, and a first European crown may not be too far around the corner.