There’s nothing better on FM17 than finding some great, cheap talent to add to your squad, especially if you’ve sent your scouts on countless assignments and you’ve spent hours scouring the database to come up empty handed! Luckily for you, RealSport has done the hard work for you and found the game’s top ten bargain signings! Now, these aren’t exactly world-beaters, but they’re, nonetheless, solid players at affordable prices.
These players will cost you £10m or less so are generally affordable for most top-flight clubs and won’t eat into your transfer budget too badly, especially if you spread the cost of the transfer over 48 months or add in a few bonus clauses, such as set fees after reaching a certain number of goals or appearances. As always, for your reference, we’ve included current ability (CA) and potential ability (PA).
Ludwig Augustinsson, 22, left back, FC Copenhagen (£2.2m, £5.75k p/w, CA 2.5 – PA 2.5)
If you’re looking for a cheap left back, the 22-year-old Swede, Augustinsson, fits the bill perfectly. Costing you in the region of £2.1-4.8m, he’s very affordable for most clubs, even outside of the top flight of European football. He’s very determined (17) and works fairly hard for his team (14). For a left back, he’s also pretty pacey (13) and has enough stamina (15) to run up and down that side line all game. Importantly, he’s adept at both defending and attacking. His marking, tackling and positioning (all 13) are pretty solid and he can cross (16) and dribble (12). At such a young age, Augustinsson also has the potential to be sold on for profit at a later date if he improves a little.
Danilo, 24, right back, Real Madrid (£7m, £68k p/w, CA 3.5 – PA 4)
For whatever reason, Real Madrid have transfer listed one of Football Manager’s most classic defensive signings. He’s available for a cool £7m, but he’s a player of some quality and will likely only be interested in a move to a top team, especially as the 24-year-old Brazilian begins the game at Real Madrid. His £68k p/w wages may also prove to be a stumbling block for teams outside of the top six. Danilo is just one of those absolutely solid fullbacks.
He’s fast (pace 17), naturally fit (15), has stamina (17) and works hard (16). In terms of his technical attributes, he’s a better defender than he is attacker. His tackling (15), marking (12) and positioning (13) are all good, though his crossing (11) is a little disappointing. Having said that, his dribbling (13) is also pretty decent. His finishing (10) is his lowest attribute, whilst the rest of them all range from 11-17. All in all, for a cut-price £7m, Danilo would be a great addition to any squad.
Andrea Poli, 26, central midfield, AC Milan (£7.5m, £46k p/w, CA 2.5 – PA 2.5)
Another on the transfer list is Andrea Poli. The 26-year-old Italian central midfielder is available for a cut-price £7.5m (shaving £1m off of his starting value) and for that sort of money would be a steal. His £46k p/w wages aren’t too bad either, and my scouting report predicts that Poli wouldn’t demand wages more than a maximum of £54k p/w. The great thing about Poli is that he’s able to play either as a ball-winning midfielder, deep-lying playmaker or a box-to-box midfielder as his attributes suggest he’s a bit of an all-rounder.
His tackling (14), positioning (14), teamwork (15) and work rate (16) mean he’s solid defensively and his passing (14), first touch (13) and vision (12) suggest he’s good enough in an attacking sense, too. Whilst Poli, perhaps, is not good enough to start for a top four club, he’s generally quite affordable and a mid-table club wouldn’t go wrong by signing him for the price he’s available at.
Hernanes, 31, central midfielder, Juventus (£5.5m, £92k p/w, CA 3.5 – PA 3.5)
Juventus seem fairly keen to be rid of the 31-year-old Brazilian, Hernanes, as they’ve placed him on the transfer list for £2.7m, just over half of his initial value. Whilst his wages are quite high (£92k p/w), Juventus are keen to sell and they may offer to pay a fraction of his wages to shift him out of the club. Either way, for £2.7m, Hernanes would be something of a coup, given his talents. At 31, however, his resale potential is minimal and he’d only offer a short-term solution to whatever squad issues you have in this area.
He can play in either central midfield or more advanced as an attacking midfielder, but he’s best deployed as an advanced playmaker. He has a great first touch (16), technique (17) and can pass (15) and dribble (15). He’s also got good vision (14), flair (15) and can be a threat from distance with his long range shooting (15). As I’ve said, his age and wages a drawback, but his attributes suggest that he’s massively undervalued by Juventus and, for £2.7m, is worth a punt.
Jonathan dos Santos, 26, central midfielder, Villarreal (£8.25m, £48k p/w, CA 3 – PA 3)
Villarreal have decided to transfer list their 26-year-old Mexican midfielder, Jonathan dos Santos, for £7.5m and it’s a situation you should duly capitalise on. He’s inexpensive and his wages are affordable. Moreover, he’s actually a pretty good player. He can’t defend (marking 10 and tackling 9), so strictly play him as a deep-lying playmaker if you want the best out of him. Leave the defensive duties for somebody more capable.
Technically, however, dos Santos is good as a playmaker. He has a solid first touch (16), good technique (15) and can pass (17). Coupled with his vision (15), decision-making (15) and anticipation (16), dos Santos will sniff out those key passes and assists for you. Furthermore, he can cross (16) if he gets into wide positions and is a threat on goal from distance with his long shots (15). He may not be the best athlete (pace 11 and agility 11), but he has good stamina (17) and works hard (17). For £7.5m, he’d be worth the outlay for his playmaking talents.
Neven Subotic, 27, centre-back, Dortmund (£7.25m, £33k p/w, CA 3 – PA 3)
Subotic was a bargain signing on FM16 and it’s the same for FM17. For some reason, Dortmund don’t rate the 27-year-old Serbian particularly highly, probably because they have better centre-backs, but that doesn’t mean Subotic isn’t up to scratch. He’ll cost something between £4.5m-9.75m and his £33k p/w wages are affordable, too. You’d be getting a very solid defender, I might add. His marking is 17, tackling 18, positioning 16 and bravery 17.
His anticipation (15) means he can read the game well enough to compensate for his lack of pace (12), plus, as a bonus, his jumping reach (18) and heading (16) make him a threat from corners and free kicks. He can’t pass (10), however, so avoid using Subotic as a ball-playing centre-back. From a purely defensive perspective, Subotic would be a good signing. Unfortunately, he begins the game nursing broken ribs for seven or eight months and passing a medical might be problematic, so he’ll be available to sign potentially from January 2017, most likely in the 2017 summer transfer window. One for the shortlist though, no doubt.
Fede Cartabia, 23, attacking midfielder, Valencia (£4.3m, £8.25k p/w, CA 3 – PA 4)
Fede Cartabia is one that popped up on another of my guides. He’s got one year left on his contract only and, if you get in there quickly, will be available for a very small fee of something between £3m and £6.5m. Let me tell you, that’s an absolute bargain, especially when he’s being paid a measly £8.25k p/w. The Argentinian winger is only 23-years-old so could either spearhead your attack for years or provide you with a nice looking profit should you decide to cash in a few years down the line.
Cartabia is versatile enough to play anywhere along the attacking midfield, but his best position is a right-sided inside forward. This is because of his dribbling (17), technique (16), passing (16), vision (16), flair (16), first touch (15) and off the ball movement (15). His agility (17) and balance (16) underpin his skilful approach to the game, despite not being the paciest (13). To be honest having gone through his attributes, it’s a surprise Valencia are so willing to let him go so cheaply! Take advantage whilst you can, as I’m sure other clubs would be interested!
Timo Horn, 23, goalkeeper, FC Köln (£11.75m, £25k p/w, CA 3 – PA 4)
Timo Horn is definitely worth pursuing if you’re looking for a goalkeeper. I know his starting value is over £10m, but he allegedly has a £7.75m release clause in his contract and I had an offer accepted of £8.5m, so it’s fairly safe to assume that the 23-year-old German will be available as a bargain. Moreover, he’s 23 and has the potential to develop into a four-star player. Whether you have plans to sell him on down the future or have him as a fixture between the sticks for years to come, Horn would be a good investment.
To begin with, Horn is actually a good ‘keeper and could start straight away. His reflexes (16) and ability one-on-one (16) means he’s reliable to keep your goal safe, plus he anticipates the game well (16) and stays composed under pressure (17). It’s impressive for a ‘keeper of a young age. His agility (14) and strength (16) also make Horn a good athlete. His command of his area (12) could do with some focussed training, however. His pace (10), acceleration (13) and passing (10) mean, for now, he’s best served strictly as a goalkeeper, rather than the more modern sweeper-keeper.
Nacho, 26, right/left/centre back, Real Madrid (£10.25m, £41.5k p/w, CA 3.5 – PA 3.5)
Again, Nacho has a starting value of over £10m (…just), but I managed to have a £9m offer accepted for him, plus there are other clubs bidding for his services for amounts varying from £4m to £8m, suggesting, to me, that he’ll definitely be available for a bargain price. His £41.5k p/w wages are pretty affordable, but, because of the interest in him, he won’t want to move to a club outside of the top four.
The great thing about the 26-year-old Spaniard is that he’s versatile, capable of playing anywhere along the back line. For example, defensively, he’s solid in terms of tackling (16), positioning (17) and marking (14). He can also cross (13) and is fairly quick (pace and acceleration both 14). He’s focussed (concentration 17) and anticipates the game well as a result (15). Moreover, he’s hard working (15) and has a good level of teamwork (17). Overall, Nacho would be a great signing to any side in the top four, whether as a starter or a backup.
Diafra Sakho, 26, striker, West Ham, (£15.5m, £20k p/w, CA 3 – PA 3)
The 26-year-old Senegalese striker from West Ham has been placed on the transfer list at the beginning of the game and is available for a cut price £8.5m. Demanding wages between £14k and £30k p/w, Diafra Sakho is very affordable and would be willing to join most mid-table league sides.
If you want a hard working (18), determined (16) striker that can finish (17), then Sakho is your man. His heading ability (16) also makes him a threat from set pieces in the air. His first touch (13) isn’t the greatest, but if you feed Sakho the ball, he’ll score you a few goals each season, upwards of ten. Moreover, he has Premier League experience with West Ham so keeping him in English football means he’ll have to do less adapting.