Three seasons without a league title is beginning to look worrying for Portuguese giants Porto, especially when they have finished third twice in the last three years. The tussle with rivals Benfica constantly ebbs and flows, with the Lisbon side looking to have the edge this season, currently leading the Primeira Liga by four points. Despite having players like Radamel Falcao, Hulk, James Rodriguez and Jackson Martinez in recent seasons, Porto are miles away from replicating what Jose Mourinho did with the club back in 2004, lifting the Champions League trophy in an unbelievable campaign. There were signs that Porto could be back on track for greatness when ‘mini-Mourinho’ Andre Villas-Boas was in charge, as the club won the Europa League, but since he left for a troubled spell at Chelsea, the club have lacked drive. Only two league titles have come since, with no trophies whatsoever in three and a half years.
Something needs to change quickly at the Estadio do Dragao, but with some remarkable talent coming through, there is substantial potential at the club. That should tempt you enough on FIFA 17 Career Mode to get this sleeping giant back on track and compete for European titles once again. A brilliant squad to start your managerial career.
How you should line up
You are best off keeping it simple at Porto, and Nuno’s preferred 4-3-3 system is your best bet. The World Cup, European Championship and Champions League winner Iker Casillas is in goal, with Miguel Layun, Felipe, Marcano and Alex Telles making up the back four.
Star man Danilo Pereira is in holding midfield with creators Hector Herrera and Oliver Torres either side of him. On the flanks, you should opt for Jesus Corona and Yacine Brahimi, with Andre Silva through the middle.
On the bench, you will want Jose Sa, Willy Boly, Maxi Pereira, Andre Andre, Otavio, Diogo Jota and Adrian or Ruben Neves.
The Transfer Market
Starting Transfer Budget: £20 million
Starting Wage Budget: £54,000
Who should go
With brilliant recruitment set up and some talented youngsters, you don’t need to be selling any players straight away. But it is advisable, when you bring in signings, to sell a player in the same position to keep your squad manageable. When January comes around, you can definitely afford to get rid of fourth choice striker Laurent Depoitre, who could collect you as much as £4 million.
What the team needs
£20 million is close to peanuts for a big club in the transfer market these days, so it is important you perform well in a pre-season tournament to get beyond £25 million in your transfer budget. With limited wages, you may still struggle to bring in two players, so have a play around with your budget allocation to maximise your finances.
The old saying goes, you’re only as good as your strikers, and although first choice attacker Andre Silva has an incredible potential of 86, his starting overall of 78 is just a little short to be starting week-in-week-out for Porto. Due to his substantial potential, the player you sign only needs to do a job for a season or two, so you can save cash by going for an older player. Signing David Villa would be perfect for the Portuguese side, with the 34-year-old striker holding plenty of experience. The 82-rated Spaniard is in the final year of his contract at New York City FC, meaning he will only cost you around £8 million. Villa has 88-rated penalties, 86 finishing and 86 positioning, with his wages just £22,000 per week.
– Salomon Kalou – Hertha Berlin, Age 30, OVR 81, POT 81, Cost: £15 million, Wage: £25,000
– Samuel Eto’o – Antalayspor, Age 35, OVR 81, POT 81, Cost: £7 million, Wage: £2,000
With left back Alex Telles holding a healthy potential, the next position you should target should be a centre back. Once again, very few options are available within your budget, but 30-year-old Loic Perrin would be a shrewd signing. The 82-rated Saint-Etienne man will only set you back around £16 million, with his wages only £11,000. The Frenchman has 86-rated standing tackles, 85 marking and 84 jumping.
– Francesco Acerbi – Sassuolo, Age 27, OVR 81, POT 82, Cost: £17 million, Wage: £32,000
– Ryan Shawcross – Stoke, Age 28, OVR 81. POT 81, Cost: £16 million, Wage: £32,000
With plenty of young talent, there is a whole host of players who can be loaned out. Do bear in mind that 15 players have already been loaned out of the Estadio do Dragao, so you are likely to be selling plenty of players next season. Joao Costa, Joao Teixeira, Rui Pedro, Francisco Ramos and Joris Kayembe are just short of being in the first team mix, so a season out on loan should bring them into contention.
Only one player has a contract running out at the end of the season, and you should definitely renew it. Despite Iker Casillas now being 35 years old, you will do well to get a better goalkeeper. Try and get another season or two out of the Spaniard.
The managerial objectives at Porto are exactly what you would expect, with the focus very much on the football rather than the business side of things like other clubs. Domestic success has a critical importance, where you will need to win both the league and cup in Portugal. Your continental target has a high priority, with the aim reaching the knockout stages of the ‘Champions Cup’, and reaching the semi-finals of the competition within four seasons.
As for brand exposure, you will need to gain over £20 million from shirt sales in the season, and finally, for your youth development, you may only be asked to sign a player to your youth academy in a particular position.
Time to reignite the Dragon
After some disappointing seasons, Porto need to get their act together. With a kind Champions Cup group featuring Leicester, Copenhagen and Brugge, you should be eying up a place in the quarter-finals, but of course, your domestic action will be the priority. Make sure you start the season strong so that you can afford to rotate your squad when the European competition kicks off, and if you can get over a three-point lead by the turn of the year, you should have a successful campaign. Only Benfica, Sporting Lisbon and maybe Braga can cause Porto any problems domestically, as shown by their sole Primeira Liga defeat this season.
Yes, you don’t have the overwhelming funds of the other clubs in Europe, but rather than buying players, keeping hold of the talented ones you have got is the challenge. When the club won the Champions League under Mourinho, they had Paulo Ferreira, Jose Bosingwa, Ricardo Carvalho, Maniche, Deco in their side, players who would all go on to win Premier League titles with Chelsea. After they lifted the trophy, Ferreira, Carvalho and Deco all went on to bigger clubs in Europe, and you should aim to replicate that with Porto. Try and fight for a European title, and then, like Mourinho head on to big and better things. If it worked for the ‘special one’ it can certainly work for you on FIFA 17.
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