It hasn’t been easy for Sunderland over the past number of seasons, being in a relegation battle every year since 2012. Since then, they have sacked managers every season, and with the club 17th in the table at the halfway point in the season, you’d have to say that things aren’t looking great for David Moyes. They lack quality in their side, but with a fit Jermain Defoe up front, they will always have a chance.
Consistency is what the club needs, and this is where you can come in. In taking over Sunderland on FIFA 17 Career Mode, you can take them away from the relegation zone, and guide them towards the European places. With a couple of talented players in the squad as well as a healthy transfer budget for a bottom half side, the club has barrels of potential, but there is a sense that relegation could mean a lengthy spell out of the top flight. Premier League survival is absolutely vital for Sunderland, and that should be your sole aim during your first season in career mode.
How you should lineup
You can’t go wrong with a 4-4-2, and you should stick with David Moyes’ preferred 4-4-2 holding system. The talented Jordan Pickford is in goal, with Javier Manquillo, Lamine Koné, Papy Djilobodji and Patrick van Aanholt making up a respectable back four.
In midfield, Lee Cattermole and Jan Kirchhoff will be a difficult holding pair to get past for opponents, with wide men Adnan Januzaj and Wahbi Khazri holding the ability to unlock defences. Jermain Defoe and Fabio Borini are upfront, suiting Sunderland’s counter-attacking style.
On the bench, you will want Vito Mannone, Jason Denayer, Billy Jones, Jack Rodwell, Sebastian Larsson, Steven Pienaar and Victor Anichebe.
The Transfer Market
Starting transfer budget: £32 million
Starting wage budget: £84,000
Who should go
It’s a more than decent transfer budget for Sunderland, so you don’t need to worry about selling loads of players to fund new signings. You do, however, need to get rid of players that are not capable of reaching a 70 rating, as they will barely get a look in. George Honeyman, Ethan Robson and Maksymilian Stryjek all fit into this category, and you should sell them for a combined fee of £350,000.
What the team needs
A £32 million transfer budget takes the pressure off your pre-season tournament, but you should try and take that beyond the £35 million mark, allowing you to bring in two first team players.
Your first order of business should be a striker, to take some of the pressure off Jermain Defoe. A few top strikers are available for a top price, none more so than Fenerbahce’s Robin van Persie. The 32-year-old Dutchman can be bought for around £15 million, and with an overall rating of 81, he would become your best player. The former Arsenal and Manchester United man has 88 volleys, 86 curve and 85 shot power, with his wages setting you back £50,000 a week.
– Jonas – Benfica, Age 32, OVR 84, POT 84, Cost: £25 million, Wage: £79,000
– Aritz Aduriz – Athletic Bilbao, Age 35, OVR 84, POT 84, Cost: £10 million, Wage: £50,000
– David Villa – NYCFC, Age 34, OVR 82, POT 82, Cost: £8.5 million, Wage: £22,000
– Radamel Falcao – Monaco, Age 30, OVR 82, POT 82, Cost: £24 million, Wage: £56,000
– Fernando Torres – Atletico Madrid, Age 32, OVR 81, POT 81, Cost: £12 million, Wage: £50,000
– Marcus Berg – Panathinaikos, Age 29, OVR 80, POT 80, Cost: £16 million, Wage: £29,000
With a lack of options in the full-back area, and Javier Manquillo only on loan, a new right back wouldn’t go amiss. Juventus’ Stephan Lichtsteiner should be your man, with the 32-year-old Swiss international holding a rating of 83, costing you around £14 million. He has 88 stamina, 84 aggression and 83 sprint speed, with wages of £65,000.
– Bacary Sagna – Manchester City, Age 33, OVR 82, POT 82, Cost: £8 million, Wage: £43,000
– Pablo Zabaleta – Manchester City, Age 31, OVR 82, POT 82, Cost: £12 million, Wage: £65,000
– Antonio Valencia – Manchester United, Age 30, OVR 81, POT 81, Cost: £11 million, Wage: £43,000
– Branislav Ivanovic – Chelsea, Age 32 OVR 80, POT 80, Cost: £7 million, Wage: £43,000
It may surprise you, but Sunderland do in fact have some useful talent coming through the ranks. New signing Donald Love, as well as Joel Asoro, Rees Greenwood, Josh Maja and Tom Beadling, Thomas Robson all have a future at the club, but with all six players holding overall ratings in the low 60s, they should be loaned out for the season. As for attacking midfielder Lynden Gooch, the 20-year-old offers something different and is a bit higher rated at 66, so consider sending the American out for a short loan.
A number of players have contracts running out at Sunderland, but you need to pick and choose who deserves new deals. Victor Anichebe, Sebastian Larsson, Jan Kirchhoff and the young Tom Beadling are all players that you will want to keep at the club, but you could allow John O’Shea and Steven Pienaar to leave. Both players are coming towards the end of their careers and don’t have a great deal to offer, and you can put their wages to better use next season. George Honeyman also has a contract running out, but he is a player you should sell straight away.
It’s an interesting set of managerial objectives with Sunderland, domestic success only has a low priority, so there is a chance that you could get relegated and keep your job if you fulfil all of the other objectives.
Your financial objective is the most important, and you may be asked to leave around £15 million in your transfer budget at the end of the season. Don’t worry too much about this as your Premier League finish should see most of this restored. Increasing the club’s worth is quite likely, and this can be achieved by performing well on the pitch and maintaining a profit at the end of each season.
For brand exposure, you will need to maintain 85 percent attendance at the Stadium of Light for five matches in a row. If you are playing well, this will take care of itself. As for domestic success, you will either be asked to finish mid-table or stay in the division, with a last-16 appearance in the FA Cup expected.
For your youth development, you could be asked to sign two players younger than 20 who have a potential higher than the average of players in that position and grow a youth academy player by five overall points, and play them in five matches.
Time to make the Black Cats purr
Those managerial objectives are definitely achievable, but they could hinder your chances of bringing in top talent. For that reason, it may be wise to save any big transfer business until January, and by that time players will be cheaper, and you’ll have a better view of how you’re performing financially. Finding young talent is always tricky, so make sure that you send your scouts out early, giving you the time to find, sign, grow and play your new talented players.
It’s a lot to take on, but the fact remains that Sunderland are good enough to stay in the division, with or without new signings. With Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Hull, Middlesbrough, Swansea, Watford and West Brom all capable of slipping into the relegation fight, there are more than enough winnable games for Sunderland to stay up. If you are going strong come January, you should have the funds to sign a star player, and you can then target a long cup run, to give you some excitement at the end of the season. It won’t be easy, but the key word with Sunderland is “potential”.
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