FM 18: Best bargain buy XI

Looking to do your transfer business on a shoe string? We've got a whole side of players to pick up for less than £5 million.



Money tight on Football Manager 2018? You will not receive a normal full transfer window’s finances in your first season in charge on FM, so you will need to think smart over the summer. We’ve got you covered across the board though, bringing you an XI of players you can purchase for £5 million or less each.

Goalkeeper – Marcelo Barovero (CA 148 – PA 150)

Age: 33

Positions: GK

Club: Necaxa

Country: Argentina

Best attributes: 18 reflexes, 17 professionalism, 17 sportsmanship

Value: £2.8 million

Wage: £54,600 a week

Not a name you will be familiar with, but Marcelo Barovero has been a fantastic servant in his native Argentina. The 33-year-old starting his career with minnows Atletico de Rafaela, before progressing through to Huracan, Velez Sarsfield and then giants River Plate. In 2016, he left his homeland for the first time for Mexican side Necaxa, taking his career total close to 400 appearances.

The stopper will set you back just £4 million with wages of £54,600 a week. That cost will get you his attributes of 18 reflexes, 17 professionalism and 17 sportsmanship which make up a 148 current ability score, just two short of his 150 potential.

Right back – Maxi Pereira (CA 142 – PA 144)

Age: 33

Positions: D (R), WB (R)

Club: FCP (Porto)

Country: Uruguay

Best attributes: 19 determination, 18 consistency, 18 bravery

Value: £2.8 million

Wage: £54,600 a week

A veteran for Uruguay, right back Maxi Pereira made the controversial switch from Benfica to Portuguese rivals Porto. At the age of 33, there is enough time for the 124 times capped Pereira to make one final move, which could be to your club on FM 18.

You will need close to £5 million for Pereira, giving you his 142 CA score, a fall of just two from his 144 potential. Attributes of 19 determination, 18 consistency and 18 bravery can be yours if you match his £54,600 a week.

Centre back – Andrea Barzagli (CA 162 – PA 167)

Age: 36

Positions: D (C)

Club: Juventus

Country: Italy

Best attributes: 20 marking, 19 positioning, 19 concentration

Value: £2.5 million

Wage: £95,000 a week

There are few players more experienced that Andrea Barzagli. The centre back has won six Serie A titles, a Bundesliga and a World Cup during his 20-year career. He may now be 36 years’ old but if you need experience and extra defensive options in your squad, the Juventus man can provide a solution.

Just £3.5 million will get you the 162 rated Barzagli, which is only five off his 167 potential. 20 marking, 19 positioning and 19 concentration make up that score, but his hefty wages of £95,000 a week may turn you away

Centre back – Jose Maria Basanta (CA 142 – PA 147)

Age: 33

Positions: D (C)

Club: Monterrey

Country: Argentina

Best attributes: 16 tackling, 16 penalty taking, 15 heading

Value: £1.6 million

Wage: £14,000 a week

A slightly more youthful option is Monterrey’s Jose Maria Basanta. The centre half has spent the vast majority of his career with Majority of his career with Mexican club. The 33-year-old has had three spells with Monterrey, winning two Liga Mx titles, and three CONCACAF Champions Leagues.

All that experience can be yours for just £2.5 million, with wages of £14,000 a week wages. 16 tackling, 16 penalty taking and 15 heading accuracy provide a CA of 132, five off his 147 PA.

Left back – Adriano (CA 140 – PA 155)

Age: 32

Positions: D (LR), WB (RL)

Club: Besiktas

Country: Brazil

Best attributes: 19 versatility, 15 balance, 15 positioning

Value: £3.2 million

Wage: £37,300 a week

A player you may remember from his Barcelona days, Adriano has moved on to Besiktas and lifted the Turkish Super Lig title in his first season at the club. With four La Ligas and two Champions Leagues during his time at Barcelona, the versatile full back or wing back offers experience and pedigree.

The 32-year-old Adriano has 19 versatility, 15 balance and 15 positioning in his weaponry, which contribute to a 140 CA score. It may have fallen considerably from his 155 potential, but for a price of just £4.5 million and £37,300 a week wages you can’t really complain. 

Right winger – Jefferson Farfan (CA 135 – PA 161)

Age: 32

Positions: AM (R), M (R)

Club: Lokomotiv Moscow

Country: Peru

Best attributes: 17 penalty taking, 16 acceleration, 16 balance

Value: £4.1 million

Wage: £36,000 a week

Jefferson Farfan was one of the most feared wingers in the Bundesliga with Schalke where he helped the club lift the German Cup in 2011. It hasn’t been as easy since for the Peruvian, with a brief spell in the UAE followed by a move to Lokomotiv Moscow. With ten goals in 21 matches this season, the 32-year-old looks back to his best.

You can sign the speedster for just £5 million on FM, with wages of £36,000 a week. This will get you his 135 CA score, which has fallen from a 161 potential. Despite that, Farfan still offers attributes of 17 penalty taking, 16 acceleration and 16 balance.

Central midfield – Gabi (CA 151 – PA 159)

Age: 33

Positions: M (C), DM

Club: Atletico Madrid

Country: Spain

Best attributes: 19 loyalty, 19 professionalism, 18 concentration, 

Value: £2.7 million

Wage: £64,500 a week

The captain of Atletico Madrid, but at the age of 33, Gabi’s place in the first team is under threat. With the likes of Saul, Thomas Partey and Koke coming through, the central or defensive midfielder could start to struggle for game time, so could a move be on the cards?

If you want that to be to your club, you will need £4 million to snap up Gabi, with wages of £64,500 a week. 19 loyalty, 19 professionalism and 18 concentration give the stalwart a 151 CA, just eight off his 159 potential. 

Central midfield – Karim El Ahmadi (CA 147 – PA 147)

Age: 32

Positions: M (C), DM

Club: Feyenoord

Country: Morocco

Best attributes: 18 technique, 17 composure, 17 aggression

Value: £4.9 million

Wage: £9,900 a week

Few will recall central midfielder Karim El Ahmadi from his time at Aston Villa, but the 32-year-old has always been a success at Dutch side Feyenoord. The Moroccan international is currently enjoying a second stint at the club, finally winning the Eredivisie title last year.

El Ahmadi offers 18 technique, 17 composure and 17 aggression on FM 18, and you should look to snap him up for £5 million plus add-ons. For wages of £9,900 a week you can get his maxed out 147 CA. 

Left winger – Lautaro Acosta (CA 145 – PA 145)

Age: 29

Positions: AM (LR), ST

Club: Lanus

Country: Argentina

Best attributes: 18 acceleration, 17 pace, 17 loyalty

Value: £1.5 million

Wage: £9,000 a week

You wonder what may have come of Lautaro Acosta had he had a fairer crack in Europe. The Argentine joined Sevilla in 2008 but failed settle and was subsequently loaned out. He ended up at Lanus in 2013 and began to show the form he was capable of. 

The 29-year-old winger or striker can bring you 18 acceleration, 17 pace and 17 loyalty on the game, giving him a maxed out 145 current ability. You are looking at a price of around £4 million for Acosta along with wages of £9,000 a week.

Striker – Aritz Aduriz (CA 151 – PA 155)

Age: 36

Positions: ST

Club: Athletic Bilbao

Country: Spain

Best attributes: 19 bravery, 18 work rate, 18 loyalty

Value: £1.3 million

Wage: £27,000 a week

When you think of late bloomers, you think of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Miroslav Klose and Didier Drogba. Aritz Aduriz is worthy of that company, with the Spaniard record 30+ goals in a season at the age of 34. The Athletic Bilbao striker is still a regular for the club, and at the age of 36, he is still going strong.

His experience and finishing could be vital for any club on FM, and you can even sign him for just £4 million and £27,000 a week wages. That would get you his 151 CA, a fall of just four from a 155 potential, consisting of 19 bravery, 18 work rate and 18 loyalty. 

Striker – Fernando Torres (CA 146 – PA 179)

Age: 33

Positions: ST

Club: Atletico Madrid

Country: Spain

Best attributes: 17 adaptability, 16 important matches, 16 flair

Value: £4.3 million

Wage: £97,000 a week

He may not be the player he once was, but many clubs would still love to have a player of Fernando Torres’s calibre. The former Liverpool star and Chelsea flop has had somewhat of a resurgence at boyhood club Atletico Madrid, netting 22 goals in his first two seasons back in Spain.

The 110 times capped Spain international can be yours for just £5 million plus add-ons, and you may even be able to reduced his £97,000 a week wages. His 146 CA has fallen greatly from a 179 potential, but you will still get attributes of 17 adaptability, 16 important matches and 16 flair.

RealSport’s FM 18 Bargain Buy XI

Have you made any great deals on FM? Let us know in the comments section below.

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