When Liverpool signed Virgil Van Dijk in January 2018 for £75 million – what was then a record fee for a defender – it made a significant statement to the footballing world. The days of big money moves being reserved specifically for attacking players was over.
That was a serious shock to the system for the transfer market, and it is one that has made much more impact than the £196 million transfer of Neymar from Barcelona to PSG.
Van Dijk has more than made up for this transfer price, almost single handedly taking Liverpool from defensively frail to the strongest defence in the world. Plus, who can forget that he helped them claim the Champions League and took them within one point of the Premier League title.
A changing market
Fast forward 18 months and big money moves for defenders are happening all over Europe.
Last week Manchester United broke the record fee for a defender when they confirmed the signing of Leicester City and England international Harry Maguire for a fee believed to be £80 million.
Teenage sensation Matthijs De Ligt joined Italian giants Juventus for £65 million, Bournemouth slapped a £75 million valuation on Nathan Ake whilst Brighton have just broke their transfer record, spending over £20 million on Bristol City centre back Adam Webster, who has never played above Championship level.
In the past three seasons Manchester City have spent over £200 million on defensive reinforcements, and for the first time, EA Sports have confirmed that FIFA are going to reflect this change in the transfer market in Career Mode on FIFA 20.
In their latest set of pitch notes, EA have confirmed that they have ‘Increased the player value of defensive players based on the latest transfer market activity.’
Whilst the finer details of what this change may mean are not yet known, it looks as though bringing those young defenders through the ranks and filling their potential will be worth your while, as their transfer fee will now parallel that of the real world.
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There is also several other new features confirmed for Career Mode in FIFA 20, including new improvements to transfer deals.
Something that is becoming more common in real life football, is deals being agreed outside of transfer windows, with players joining their new clubs when the next transfer window opens. It would be great to see this in FIFA 20.
Think Ajax’s Frenkie de Jong, who has joined Barcelona this summer. The deal was agreed way back in January, similarly to Chelsea’s arrangement with Christian Pulisic. Doing this can help use some of that transfer budget and prize money that goes to waste when the season ends.
Monthly instalments, performance-related bonuses and loan moves with an option to buy are part and parcel with modern football, and it’s strange that we are yet to see this in 25 years of the FIFA franchise.
The community have also been calling out for more realistic AI transfers for years. As a manager you shouldn’t be able to sign anyone you like, and that should be the same for the ones controlled by the AI.
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