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FIFA 17: Watford Career Mode guide

After a superb season last year, and a great start to this campaign, can you continue Watford's success and look to take them into Europe?


Despite not following the club running manual, Watford have had great success over the past three seasons, despite using six managers. Second in the Championship followed 13th in the Premier League, and the club just north of London are currently seventh in the top tier of English football. Manager Walter Mazzarri and predecessor Quique Flores have been given the funds to build a fantastic squad, and the quality and depth of Watford have made them a side who could turn over any Premier League team.

That squad makes them a side who should comfortably ward off relegation, and they are now just one star signing away from eying up a European spot. That potential and financial backing make them a superb choice on FIFA 17’s Career Mode, with many others players forgetting the Hornets’ quality. RealSport runs you through all there is to know about taking over the Vicarage Road club on FIFA 17.

How you should lineup

Watford CM

The biggest decision you will have when starting off as Watford boss is your formation. Walter Mazzarri has instilled a ‘very Italian’ 5-3-2, and your hands are slightly tied with a lack of wingers. So you can either stick with that system, go for our option of a 4-4-2 diamond.

Heurelho Gomes just pips Costel Pantilimon in goal, and he has the all 77-rated Brice Dja Djedje, Younes Kaboul, Sebastian Prodl, and Jose Holebas in front of him in defence.

The midfield quartet consists of Valon Behrami, Roberto Pereyra, Etienne Capoue and Nordin Amrabat, with Odion Ighalo and captain Troy Deeney up front.

On the bench, you will want Costel Pantilimon, Christian Kabasele, Daryl Janmaat, Ben Watson, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Isaac Success and Stefano Okaka.

The Transfer Market

Starting transfer budget: £28 million                                                                                   

Starting wage budget: £119,000

Who should go

After their superb season under Quique Flores, the standard has certainly improved at Watford, so you need to start getting rid of the players who won’t reach the Premier League standard.

Adrien Mariappa and Juan Carlos Paredes are the two names you will recognise, with the pair being the fourth and fifth choice right backs at the club. You should look to gain at least £1 million for each player.

There are another five players that need to leave Vicarage Road. Giedrius Arlauskis, Rene Gilmartin, Ola Adeyemo, Brandon Mason and Nathan Gartside all have potentials of 70 or less, and will not be of any use to you. For all five men, you should look to collect around £1 million in total.

What the team needs

After sales, you should have over £30 million in the bank, which isn’t a huge amount for a Premier League club. It is therefore crucial to perform well in pre-season, which could take you towards the £40 million mark.

With six players in the starting line-up rated at 77, it is difficult to decide which area of the pitch needs improving. It all depends on what formation you want to play, and if you want to go to a side with more conventional wide players, you will want to bring in a left midfielder. Top of your shopping list should be Stade Rennais men Paul-Georges Ntep, who has a rating of 80 and potential of 85. The 23-year-old is in the last year of his contract, and will only cost you around £20 million, with the Frenchman’s starting wages just £11,000. The left midfielder or winger has 91 acceleration, 91 sprint speed and 86 agility.

Alternatives:

–       Ricardo Quaresma – Besiktas, Age 32, OVR 83, POT 83, Cost: £19 million, Wage: £65,000

–       Michael Krohn-Dehli – Sevilla, Age 33, OVR 82, POT 82, Cost: £16 million, Wage: £36,000

–       Salomon Kalou – Hertha Berlin, Age 30, OVR 81, POT 81, Cost: £15 million, Wage: £25,000

–       Danny – Zenit, Age 32, OVR 81, POT 81, Cost: £13.5 million, Wage: £50,000

With three-quarters of the back four having maxed out their potential at 77, you will want to bolster it up, with a new centre back your best bet. Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker is another man in the final year of his contract, and the 83-rated German will only cost you around £11 million. The 6’6” defender has 88 standing tackles, 88 marking, and 88 interceptions, with his wages at £65,000.

Alternatives:

–       Gonzalo Rodriguez – Fiorentina, Age 32, OVR 83, POT 83, Cost: £12 million, Wage: £58,000

–       Serdar Tasci – Spartak Moscow, Age 29, OVR 80, POT 80, Cost: £9 million, Wage: £22,000

–       Branislav Ivanovic – Chelsea, Age 32, OVR 80, POT 80, Cost: £9 million, Wage: £43,000

Loans

With 30 players in the squad, you can certainly afford to send a few out on loan. Jerome Sinclair, Michael Folivi, Charlie Rowan and Rhyle Ovenden all all rated at 61 and below, with the potentials of all players above 70. None are close to making the first team squad, so you may want to send them all out on two-year loans.

Contracts

None of your first team regulars need contract renewals, so you may want to hold off on giving any of your fringe players new deals until you start to see some development over the season. Charlie Rowan and Rhyle Ovenden have potentials of 71, so they are right on the borderline of whether they are good enough to have a future at Watford. Both players need to be approaching a 60 rating by the end of the season to warrant a new contract.

As for Rene Gilmartin, Ola Adeyemo, Brandon Mason and Nathan Gartside, they are all players you will want to be selling with their potentials being so low.

Managerial Objectives

Strangely, Watford have no managerial objectives with a high or critical priority. Your financial and brand exposure objectives will be the most important with a medium priority, and for financial you may be asked to leave close to £10 million in unspent cash (transfer and wage budget) at the end of the season. For brand exposure, you may need to keep a streak of at least 85 percent attendance for give home matches, which can be achieved by winning regularly and scoring plenty of goals.

For domestic success, you will need to reach the last 16 of the FA Cup and finish in mid table, which are both comfortable goals with your squad. Finally, for youth development you may just need to sign a player to your youth academy in a certain position.

Can the Hornets sting their opponents?

The current Watford squad is better than many that compete in Europe, and that may just be the aim for the club in the not so distant future. In terms of your managerial objectives, all should be relatively comfortable. If you are concerned about maintaining your finances whilst bringing in decent signings, remember that your Premier League finish will reward you with some healthy funds.

Your domestic success goals are very generous, but you may aim for more. Watford are not a million miles away from competing in Europe, especially as they currently lie seventh in the Premier League, and that could just be your aim for the end of the season. If you sign well, start the season well, and forget about the EFL Cup, a ‘Euro League’ place can be within your reach. When January comes around, you will concentrate on the FA Cup, and once you get to the last 16, you must decide whether to target your Premier League form, or have a go and reach the cup final at Wembley. An FA Cup run is great for the fans, and will provide plenty of excitement, with a victory guaranteeing qualification for the Euro League. Buckle up, we’re in for a bumpy ride.

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Alastair Pusinelli

Currently RealSport's FIFA 18 and Football Manager Content Contributor, but I have covered almost everything across the board for the site.

I have contributed on Cricket, Darts, Esports, Olympics, Tennis and Wrestling for the site, as well as stepping in as Football and Rugby Editor.

Elsewhere, I have been published in The Sunday Times and Variety magazine, as well as working in the offices of Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Hampshire CCC. I am still an active sportsman, playing cricket, football, rugby, tennis and golf.

FIFA 17: Watford Career Mode guide

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