It’s by no means perfect, but they do have at least three youngsters with huge potential (Grealish, Traore, Amavi), and also have a catalog of decent role players who should really be doing a lot better than they are in real life. The tricky part here? Getting around the fact you have no transfer budget and an average squad. It’s a dangerous mix; unproven talent with proven mediocrity, supplemented by a non-existent transfer budget. So how do you get the best from this Villa side and turn them into a force again?
We’ve given you the minimum and maximum budget available, depending on what your expectations are. Transfer Budget – £0 Wage Budget – £1m – 1.15m
Key players to build your team around
The following players should never be sold and should form the spine of your team for the foreseeable future. Some are obvious choices, others less so, but none of the following players are easily replaced.
Jordan Amavi (21)
Amavi is actually one of the best young left-backs in Football Manager believe it or not. His two seasons in the Nice first-team served him well to tackle the Premier League, where he almost always puts in an average rating of 7.10+ each season. He’s worth £6.25m from day one, but within a few short seasons, you’ll have not only one of the league’s best left-backs, but also, a cash-cow who can net you a cool return north of £25m, should you ever wish to sell him. Although, I’d never advise selling him, but I can also appreciate that every manager has their own style.
Jack Grealish (19)
Grealish is best used in the position of AML (as an inside forward), but is also capable of playing anywhere across the front-three. He starts off with impressive dribbling (15), agility (16), technique (15), determination (15) and is still only 19 at the start of any game-save. I won’t lie and say he’s a sure-fire wonderkid bound to become a superstar in future, because under the wrong management, Grealish can sometimes flop. But if you can get the best from him, then you have the quite the player on your hands.
Adama Traore (19)
Traore could well be Villa’s starting right-winger on your game save for the foreseeable future, and there’s a good reason why. Where as Grealish is a little slower and slightly less athletic, Traore more than makes up for it on the right with his raw strength (14), pace (18), acceleration (18) and dribbling (17). Grealish is the tricky, mazy winger who often likes the cut inside, where as Traore the one to hog the touch-line and give you a nice bit of balance going forward. Like Grealish, he can be hit-and-miss, but he’s often more hit than miss, which makes worthy of being a core player to build the side around.
Best youngsters to keep an eye on
Tbe best players on your side that are 21 or younger that you need to keep an eye out for in future. If the player is under 21 and is already someone to build your team round, they won’t be included in this list. Keep the following players either to integrate into your first-team or to sell for a high price later on.
Easah Suliman (17)
The best course of action for Suliman is to loan him out for at least one season. He’s nowhere near ready for regular first-team minutes when you start a game save, but depending on how his first loan spell goes, either look to integrate him into the first-team from the 2016/17 season onwards, on farm him off on loan again for another season. Either way, Suliman will eventually become a stalwart addition to your defence, you just have to be patient.
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (16)
Hepburn-Murphy is still so young, so don’t allow yourself to get too carried away with his 5-star potential. He turns out to be a fast, agile striker, but is often guilty of not fulfilling his potential on FM. So to avoid him becoming a flop, don’t loan him out too much from the 2017/18 season onwards.
Players you should consider letting go of
The following are players who could be easily replaced for one reason or another.
He doesn’t offer much in the way of goals anymore, although I’m not sure he ever really did as his highest goals tally for Villa in the league was 13 back in 2009/10. Still if you can usually get around £5-6m for him (Monaco are usually willing to pay that), you’ve done more than alright here.
N’Zogbia’s fall from grace has been a painful one for Villa fans, as he’s also one of the club’s top earners. Still, there are usually clubs willing to sign him for £2m, thereby freeing up an extra £48k/week for your wage budget.
Kozak is a reserve with little chance of being a key player in your game-save, so offload him for £1-2m, which along with the other suggested outgoings, should leave you with a budget of £6-9m, which isn’t bad for a club who start off with nothing.
Divock Origi (20)
Liverpool – Loan Villa are in desperate need of a goalscorer, and even if you do manager to offload a few players to create a transfer budget for yourself, still sign Origi. He’s better than Ayew, Gestede and Agbonlahor on FM, comes cheap and without commitment, and is one of few quality strikers you can sign with a non-existent budget.
Charlie Austin (26)
QPR – £7-9m If you do end up managing to get a couple of million together, spend it all on Charlie Austin who will score the goals you need. He comes relatively cheap, is a proven goalscorer, and has relatively cheap wages too (£20k/week). A win-win.