It’s the most competitive league on the planet, no question. Leicester’s incredible triumph last season can give confidence to any side in the division, and that on any given day, or season, in fact, a small club can achieve something special. So with so many clubs attempting to ‘do a Leicester’, who should you pick to manage in FIFA 17’s Career Mode? RealSport takes you through the 20 clubs in the English top flight, and the rest is up to you. Choose wisely.
Arsenal fans would have been scratching their heads at the end of last season, wondering whether or not they should be happy about finishing second in the league. They finished above Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, and somehow above arch-rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Bringing in central midfielder Granit Xhaka (OVR 84) and centre back Shkodran Mustafi (OVR 83) has put them in title contention, and with a £77 million transfer budget as well as £320,000 left over for wages, they have room to bring in one or two more star signings. Bayern Munich left-back David Alaba (OVR 87 – POT 90) should top your transfer shortlist. Many of the Arsenal players have high potentials, which can give you plenty of hope for the future. Shkodran Mustafi, Hector Bellerin, Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey, Alex Iwobi and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all have potentials of 86 or higher, a great foundation for Arsene Wenger’s successor.
Check out our Arsenal career mode guide.
Despite other sides struggling in the Premier League, Bournemouth will be expected to be in and around the drop zone come the end of the season. Premier League survival is priceless, but with Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere on loan (OVR 82) as well as the dangerous Max Gradel (OVR 79) and Callum Wilson (OVR 76), you should have enough firepower to stay up. A £28 million transfer budget with £100,000 per week for wages, gives you enough to strengthen the defence, with a more long-term option at centre-back needed. Possible targets include Las Palmas man Bigas (OVR 77 – POT 80) and Bologna’s Marios Oikonomou (OVR 76 – POT 80). Coming through the ranks, the Dorset club have Lewis Cook (POT 85) and Jordon Ibe (POT 81), so you may not need to look elsewhere for first team replacements over the next few seasons.
Credit to Burnley for consistently bouncing back to the Premier League, now their task is to stay there. Still under financial scrutiny, you will only have a £26 million transfer budget and £65,000 for wages. Central midfielder Steven Defour (OVR 79) was a great signing, but the Lancashire club need more players of his calibre, especially around him in midfield. Manchester City’s Fernandinho (OVR 81) or Paul-Georges Ntep (OVR 80 – POT 85) of French side Stade Rennais could be real coups. Michael Keane has shown his ability this season, earning him a call-up to the England squad, and with a potential of 82, he is someone who will be a mainstay in your side as you climb the table year-on-year.
With no European football gracing Stamford Bridge this season, Chelsea have a clear calendar, making them title contenders. Last season was a massive blip, but there is still no questioning the quality of their players. An £84 million transfer budget and £345,000 for wages could turn the contenders into title favourites, with Bayern Munich left-back David Alaba once again the obvious signing at left back. Amongst the current crop, Belgians Thibaut Courtois (OVR 89) and Eden Hazard (OVR 88) are the stand out players, with both having the potential to hit at least 90. Oscar, N’Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi need to get regular minutes and training so they hit their potentials of 85 and above, with Kurt Zouma the starlet with a potential of 89.
Check out our Chelsea career mode guide.
Crystal Palace are one of the few teams in the Premier League who have an identity crisis, and it almost cost them last season as they flirted with relegation. They are a side capable of finishing in the top half, but only if they crash out of the cup competitions. A £32 million transfer fund and £150,000 wage budget could be enough to take them on a cup run and qualify for Europe. New signing Steve Mandanda (OVR 85) is the star man in the squad, and he is supported at the other end of the pitch by fellow new man Christian Benteke (OVR 81), who can grow to hit the heights of 83. There is no question that this side needs investment however, chiefly in defence. Southampton’s Jose Fonte (OVR 83) or Atletico Madrid man Juanfran (OVR 83) are potential options worth considering. There is a lack of youngsters coming through at Selhurst Park, with Wilfried Zaha (POT 82) and Andros Townsend (POT 81) the only players showing a hint of promise.
Everton have looked solid under Ronald Koeman, but can you follow suit? They are probably just short of mounting a challenge for a European place, so the cup competitions should be the priority for The Toffees. With Romelu Lukaku (OVR 84) up front and having a solid back four (all rated 82 and above), the Goodison Park outfit only need one or two signings to put them in that top bracket. With £44,000,000 in the bank and with £210,000 available for wages, you can do just that, and goalkeeper Alphonse Areola (OVR 81 – POT 89) of PSG may just fit the bill. Looking ahead, things do look good for Everton with Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu all having potentials of 88 or over.
Three games into the season and Hull looked as if they could ‘do a Leicester’ themselves, but reality has struck, and escaping relegation now would be a minor miracle. With a serious lack of funding, you will find it hard on Career Mode, with just £19 million available for transfers and £70,000 for wages. Dieumerci Mbokani (OVR 79) is the star man with centre back pairing Curtis Davies and Michael Dawson (both OVR 77) the most reliable you can get at that end of the table. A left midfielder is most needed with Frenchman Paul-Georges Ntep (OVR 80 – POT 85) one of the very few options within your budget. Scottish left back Andrew Robertson has great potential (POT 83), and along with Harry Maguire (POT 80) should be given long-term deals to ward off any transfer interest.
It is safe to say that last season won’t be repeated for Leicester City, but if they target one of the competitions, there is no reason why the Foxes can’t do something special again. It looks as if Claudio Ranieri has targeted the Champions League, but will you do the same? With £44 million in the bank account and £155,000 available for wages, you have every chance of making Leicester a permanent fixture in the top six. A top right back would get you closer to that position, with Juve man Stephan Lichtsteiner an experienced option. In the current squad, Riyad Mahrez (OVR 85 – POT 88) and Islam Slimani (OVR 83) grab the headlines, with Daniel Amartey, Nampalys Mendy and Bartosz Kapustka all having the potential to reach 84.
Check out our Leicester City career mode guide.
There’s no doubt about it, Liverpool are title contenders. Losing in the final of the Europa League last season has done them a favour, to some extent, as they now have a clearer calendar to target the Premier League title. Philippe Coutinho (OVR 85 – POT 89) and Daniel Sturridge (OVR 84) are the star men in the side, with the whole squad showing great potential. Loris Karius, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, Emre Can, Nathaniel Clyne, Divock Origi and Marko Grujic all have the potential to reach 85 or higher. With a transfer budget of £60 million and available wages of £255,000, you need to target a left back to relieve James Milner. David Alaba (OVR 87 – POT 90) is the best on the game, and he just sneaks into your budget.
Check out our Liverpool career mode guide.
The title favourites, no question. Manchester City have the best side in the division, and if you add to it on Career Mode, you will be in with a chance of European glory as well. A transfer fund of over £100 million and wage budget of £290,000 means almost no player is out of reach. Austrian left back David Alaba is proving to be a popular choice in the transfer market, as he would fit this City side like a glove. An out-and-out defensive midfielder would also be useful, with Sergio Busquets a very reliable option. It’s almost impossible not to talk about Sergio Aguero (OVR 89), and he is the top-rated player in the City squad, but Kevin De Bruyne (OVR 88 – POT 91) is the man to build your side around. John Stones, Raheem Sterling, Kelechi Iheanacho and Leroy Sane all have the potential to reach an 88 overall rating, so make sure you focus on them in your training sessions.
Check out our Manchester City career mode guide.
The only club that can rival Manchester City’s bank balance is neighbours Manchester United. On FIFA 17’s Career Mode, you will have over £102 million at your disposal with a further £295,000 available for wages. You should use some of that money to sign a right back, with PSG’s Serge Aurier (OVR 83 – POT 88) the number one target. In the starting line-up, there are three main men. David de Gea (OVR 90 – POT 92), Zlatan Ibrahimović (OVR 90) and Paul Pogba (OVR 88 – POT 94) would walk into almost any side on the planet, and the three of them on their own make United title contenders. The Red Devils do have some talent coming through, with Eric Bailly (POT 90), Anthony Martial (POT 90), Luke Shaw (POT 89) and Marcus Rashford (POT 88) the ones to give plenty of game time.
Check out our Manchester United career mode guide.
Middlesbrough certainly have the calibre of a Premier League club, and with regulars Sunderland and Swansea struggling, the Teesside club have a great opportunity to stay in the division. With Champions League winner Victor Valdes (OVR 82) in goal and fellow Spaniard Alvaro Negredo (OVR 80) up front, Boro should have enough to stay up. Former Barcelona winger Adama Traore (OVR 72 – POT 84) is showing great promise as well as opposite wide man Viktor Fischer (OVR 75 – POT 82). With a transfer budget of £24 million and with spare wages of £75,000, you should be able to cement your place in the top-tier of English football with a new signing or two. Italy hard man Daniele De Rossi (OVR 83) could be a big signing for the newly-promoted side.
Qualifying for the Europa League (‘Euro League’ on FIFA 17) last season makes things tricky for Southampton, but your best bet may be to target that competition. Premier League safety should be no problem, even with all the other competitions, and a long European run is far more exciting than domestic action. A couple of signings will be needed to achieve this, but with a £42 million transfer fund and £144,876 for new wages, it can be done. Once again, Daniele De Rossi (OVR 83) is a big name target or Bastian Schweinsteiger (OVR 83). In the Saints squad, captain Jose Fonte (OVR 83) is the top player, but new man Sofiane Boufal (OVR 80 – POT 86) looks to be a top prospect. Prospects is what the South Coast club is all about, with Virgil van Dijk and James Ward-Prowse (both POT 84) both set to be in the side for the next decade.
Stoke haven’t had the best start to the season, but on paper, they are getting close to competing for European football. So if you spend the £42,000,000 transfer and £160,000 wage budget wisely, you may be able to nick fifth place or, better yet, lift a domestic cup at the end of the campaign. You may think Xherdan Shaqiri (OVR 82 – POT 85) is the star man, but his inconsistency has caught up with him, meaning he has to share the limelight with Jack Butland (OVR 82 – POT 89) and Bojan (OVR 82 – POT 85). Giannelli Imbula (POT 84) looks to be a useful prospect, with Ramadan Sobhi (POT 82) able to improve by 11 levels. The full backs need attention, and PSV’s Jetro Willems (OVR 79 – POT 84) should be your top target.
Oh, Sunderland, it had to end at some point. After flirting with relegation for a few seasons, it looks as if this year they will be relegated. All the more reason to take them on in Career Mode, however. With Jermain Defoe (OVR 80) the Black Cats will always have a chance, and Wahbi Khazri (OVR 79 – POT 82) can be the creator. Aside from a lot of loaned in talent, young goalkeeper Jordan Pickford (POT 84) is the only player with a long term future. With £32 million in the bank and £85,000 to use on wages, you must buy wisely. Attacking midfielder Riccardo Saponara (OVR 80 – POT 84) of Empoli can be picked up on the cheap to give you a better chance of Premier League survival.
Swansea have looked vulnerable ever since Garry Monk left the club at the end of last year. Francesco Guidolin left the club with no identity, and new manager Bob Bradley has his work cut out. This gives you the perfect chance to keep Swansea up on FIFA 17 Career Mode, and take them back to the European place contenders they were under Michael Laudrup. With a transfer fund of £35 million and remaining wages of £143,148, this can be achieved. A new left back is needed, with Dutchman Jetro Willems (OVR 79 – POT 84) the obvious choice. Gylfi Sigurdsson (82) is the key man in the squad, but with the Icelander having maxed out his potential, you will need to rely on new signing Borja Baston (OVR 80 – POT 85) to take you to higher places. Jordi Amat and Daniel James (both POT 82) should be given plenty of training, with the latter able to improve by an incredible 22 levels.
After last season, it seems strange that Spurs fans were annoyed to finish third, but that is the sign of how much belief is in this current Spurs squad. With Hugo Lloris (OVR 88), Toby Alderweireld (OVR 85), Christian Eriksen (OVR 84 – POT 88) and Harry Kane (84 – 90) in the side, Tottenham can turn anyone over on their day, and they have the balanced squad in able to fight on all fronts. Dele Alli (POT 90) should be able to take you all the way to Champions Cup glory, with Eric Dier (POT 86) getting close to becoming a top, top player. With £59 million to spend and £210,000 available for wages, just one signing is needed to make Spurs one of the best sides in the world. PSG’s Blaise Matuidi would fit The Lilywhites perfectly, and make their midfield a match for most sides in Europe.
Check out our Tottenham Hotspur career mode guide.
Sacking Quique Sanchez Flores was a big shock last season, but you can’t knock the Watford model, as new boss Walter Mazzarri seems to have kept the Hornets heading in the right direction. Playing five at the back is always tricky on FIFA, so you may want to change formation, but there is no questioning the abilities of star signing Roberto Pereyra (OVR 81 – POT 84). With Abdoulaye Doucoure and Isaac Success also set to hit the heights of an 84 rating in their careers, and Kenedy going on to hit 85, there is enough there for Watford to be looking in front of them, not behind. Premier League survival is still paramount, and using the £28 million transfer fund as well £120,000 wages can steer you well clear of the drop zone, and enable you to target cup success. A wide option would be useful to have, so the experienced Michael Krohn-Dehli (82) looks to be your best bet.
West Bromwich Albion
If West Brom didn’t have Tony Pulis as their manager, many would tip them for the drop, but at the same time, the former Stoke boss may not be able to make them a regular fixture in the top half of the table. With you at the helm, can West Brom become a ‘force’ in English football? With £30 million in the transfer account, and another £80,000 for wages, you could actually make it happen. The squad may lack depth, so one or two signings are desperately needed. A right winger and left back would set you up for the season, look at former Arsenal man Gervinho (OVR 80) and Dutchman Jetro Willems (OVR 79 – POT 84). In the current squad, Ben Foster, Claudio Yacob and Salomon Rondon (all OVR 80) are the only things to shout about, with Saido Berahino (POT 82) the one rising starlet to keep an eye on.
West Ham United
It hasn’t been an easy start to life in the Olympic Stadium for West Ham, but there is no doubt that their squad can compete for domestic cups and European football. Dimitri Payet (OVR 86) is the outstanding player, and you should consider playing him in the number ten position so he can have a greater influence on the game. Reece Oxford (POT 86) has the potential to improve by 20 levels, with Manuel Lanzini (POT 85) soon to become a first team regular. The right back spot needs improvement, and Spaniard Hugo Mallo (OVR 80 – POT 85) can help you make use of the £54 million transfer and £245,000 wage budgets. Get the transfer window right and you have every chance of qualifying for the ‘Euro League’.
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