It doesn’t make sense. Looking at the squad West Brom have got, it’s baffling that they are in the Premier League, let alone being in the top half. But that is the magic of Tony Pulis. The former Stoke boss has taken the Baggies from being heavy relegation contenders to a tough match for any Premier League side, and the Midlands club have now been in the top tier of English football for seven straight seasons. Their task now is to make sure that they maintain their hard to beat reputation, whilst attempting to bring in bigger names. With new owners taking over the club in September 2016, this may just become a possibility, but on FIFA 17’s Career Mode, things will still be tight as you attempt to climb the table.
It’s a challenge which makes West Bromwich Albion a very appealing side to take over on FIFA 17, as you look to take a side prepped for relegation towards the European places, and if you use your limited transfer budget well, that can be achieved.
How you should lineup
The miserly Tony Pulis has opted for a 4-4-1-1, often employing a near back six, with four centre backs deployed across his back four. Attempting to soak in this pressure won’t get you very far on FIFA 17, so we suggest going for a simpler 4-4-2, and look to hit teams on the break, much like Leicester City did last season.
In goal, England international wins the comfortable battle over Boaz Myhill. Your back four should look a little more conventional with genuine full backs, with Allan Nyom, Jonny Evans, Jonas Olsson and Chris Brunt given the job of protecting the keeper.
The midfield looks very solid, with Matty Phillips, Claudio Yacob, Darren Fletcher or Craig Gardner and new signing Nacer Chadli in the engine room. Up top, Salomon Rondon and Saido Berahino have an old fashioned ‘little and large’ flavour about them, combing the strength and aerial presence of Rondon with the pace and poaching of Berahino.
On the bench, you will want Boaz Myhill, Gareth McAuley, Brendan Galloway, Craig Gardner, James Morrison, James McClean and Hal Robson-Kanu.
The Transfer Market
Starting transfer budget: £30 million
Starting wage budget: £80,000
Who should go
With the Baggies now an established mid-table side, you need to start getting rid of players who aren’t of the Premier League standard. Alex Palmer, Jack Rose and Shaun Donnellan all have potentials less than 70, so you may as well free up a little bit of your wage budget and sell them straight away. Look to collect around £350,000 for all three players combined.
What the team needs
With it more than likely that you will need some of your budget left over at the end of the season for your financial managerial objective, it is vital that you perform well in pre-season, with as much as £8 million being available to you. We suggest that you spend no more than £20 million on transfers at the start of the season. If you are then on track with your goal by January, you can then afford to dip into the market one more time, remember that you will receive a handsome sum for your Premier League finish.
Looking at the starting lineup, it is clear that you will need a left back. Fortunately for you, there are a few options despite your low budget. Schalke’s Sead Kolasinac could be your best bet, with the Bosnian costing around the £10 million mark. The 23-year-old is in the final year of his contract, and he has a 77-overall rating, with a potential of 82. Kolasinac has 91 aggression, 87 strength and 83 standing tackles, with his high defensive work rate suiting the West Brom system down to the ground. The left back or defensive midfielder has wages of £36,000, making him a very tempting acquisition. The 75-rated Sebastien Pocognoli is out on loan, so if you want to save money, recalling him may just be your best option.
– Patrice Evra – Juventus, Age 35, OVR 82, POT 82, Cost: £4.5 million, Wage: £43,000
– Jaume Costa – Villarreal, Age 28, OVR 79, POT 79, Cost: £10 million, Wage: £50,000
– Maxwell – PSG, Age 34, OVR 79, POT 79, Cost: £4 million, Wage: £32,000
– Ismaily – Shakhtar Donetsk, Age 26, OVR 77, POT 79, Cost: £8 million, Wage: £43,000
– Fabio Coentrao – Real Madrid, Age 28, OVR 79, POT 79, Cost: £8.5 million, Wage: £58,000
– Emmanuel Mas – San Lorenzo, Age 27, OVR 77, POT 78, Cost: £7.5 million, Wage: £43,000
With just two out-an-out strikers at the club, you need to sign another forward, especially with Saido Berahino in the last year of his contract. With limited funds, you have little option but to look for forwards in the twilight of their careers. Your number one target should be Inter Milan’s Rodrigo Palacio, who at the age of 34, is still rated at 79. The Argentine will set you back just £5 million, and will offer you 85 positioning, 85 ball control, and 83 acceleration. His wages of £36,000 fit comfortably into your wage budget.
– Emmanuel Emenike – Fenerbahce, Age 29, OVR 77, POT 77, Cost: £8.5 million, Wage: £43,000
– Hugo Rodallega – Akhisarspor, Age 30, OVR 77, POT 77, Cost: £9 million, Wage: £11.000
– Jimmy Briand – Guingamp, Age 30, OVR 77, POT 77, Cost: £9 million, Wage: £11,000
– Haris Seferovic – Frankfurt, Age 24, OVR 75, POT 79, Cost: £8 million, Wage: £18,000
– Bradley Wight-Phillips – New York Red Bulls, Age 31, OVR 75, POT 75, Cost: £3.5 million, Wage: £14,000
With the standard at West Brom dropping off after the bench, you will need to call upon players rating in the 60s from time to time. This limits the candidates to send out on loan, so you need to look at players with a rating less than 60 but potential of 70 or more. Jack Fitzwater and Dara O’Shea are two men that fit the bill, and after just one season away on loan, they could be within full-team contention, especially with some aging centre-backs at the club.
With West Brom’s slight financial restrictions, a lot of players have contracts running out at the end of the season, which could scamper your chances of bringing in certain signings. With a potential of 82, it is absolutely vital that the Saido Berahino saga is ended, by giving the young forward a new contract. The 80-rated Claudio Yacob should be another man high up your fresh contract list.
Gareth McAuley, Jonas Olsson, Darren Fletcher, Craig Gardner and Sam Field are the other names that you should be wanting to give new contracts to. Chris Brunt may only be rated at 69, but his left midfielder is in fact 73, and central midfield 74, so that should persuade you enough to give the dead ball expert a new contract.
Alex Palmer, Shaun Donnellan, Jasko Keranovic and Ethan Ross are the men that you should be selling or releasing this season.
As we have already mentioned, keeping on top of finances is the priority for West Brom, and that will be your main target in Career Mode. You will need to keep around £15 million of your transfer and wage budget back for the end of the season, so after every transaction, keep track of how much you have remaining.
With little finances, youth development becomes very important for the Hawthorns club, so you may be asked to bring a player through the academy and play them regularly in the first team within two seasons.
For domestic success, you will need to finish mid table, and reach the last sixteen of the FA Cup. Your brand exposure target may involve crowd attendance, with keeping a high attendance at the Hawthorns for five straight matches a possible goal.
Keep the Baggies strolling on…
With the current squad and the financial scrutiny, you aren’t going to set the Premier League alight in your first season. But that never say die attitude and some tough players in the squad gives West Brom the potential to climb the league even further, for they did finish eighth back in 2013. To keep on track with your managerial objectives, be sure to sign a scout and send him out early, searching for a striker. Once you have two or three signed to your youth squad, you are in a comfortable position, and can then concentrate on the rest of your objectives. Holding back on your spending could hinder you, but remember that competition winnings, including your Premier League finish, will strengthen your budget. Keeping back that £10 million gives you that protection in case the results don’t go your way, so you should still be able to bring in some talent that strengthens your starting lineup.
Finishing mid table will still be a tough task for your men, but the fact that you will have no distractions until the FA Cup kicks off in January, means that you should have a strong first half of the season. Forget about the EFL Cup, because that can come back to bite you when you reach the later stages of the competition, and the winnings are very small. If you get that good start to the season that you need, European football may be within your reach, as you can then choose to focus on your Premier League form, or attempt to win the FA Cup. Everyone loves a cup run, and anything can happen in the FA Cup, so maybe a date with Wembley at the end of May could be the perfect climax to your season.
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