The striker, probably the most expensive man in many teams within Football Manager. I had a few direct messages recently asking me about how to get the best striker for your team in the transfer window. I believe many people on this game love buying strikers, I’m no different buying a striker seems more fun as he is the man to bag your goals throughout the season ahead. I was the same in recent Football Manager games and would look for all the wrong attributes plus buy strikers for the sake of their name. I had bad habits in the market especially when a striker was needed. I want to put across today in what I look for when heading in the market for a new striker. This little guideline I set myself has really helped in who I sign and each striker in each save I have bought has seemed to do very well, now I look beyond their finishing stat only.
When I know I need a new striker for my first team squad there are numerous things I like to jot down before even starting to search.
- Set an honest budget
- Work out the role I would prefer
Setting A Budget – Most people who I have spoken to about buying strikers seem to love blowing their budget on strikers. Have a budget jotted down before you even look into the market and be strict with yourself once it has been set. I used to be one of the people who thought the more I spend on a striker the more goals he will score, not the case. When I say budget this also means your wage budget, think to yourself do I need to add in any other positions? Have a really good work out on your finances and get a safe fee ready to look for your front man. Be honest with the price you set don’t put the club in financial trouble for the sake of a player.
Choosing A Role – Take an in-depth look at the tactic you will be putting your new striker into, will one role only fit the bill? Can 2/3/4 roles be acceptable? I would jot the roles down you are 100% sure could fit the tactic, this will narrow down some options for you. I wouldn’t ever buy a player due to their name or amazing goalscoring record if he can’t play the style you want, I used to and it never ended well.
Age – This is just something I do with any position and I understand not everyone plays the same so this section is personal preference but for me very important. I always look for players at around the age of 23/24 or younger, not always possible but I try. Buying youth has more advantages than buying a player towards the end of their career. A young striker will hopefully turn into a powerhouse for you, which of course means his demand and transfer fees rocket up, meaning if you were to ever sell the player in the coming years a hefty profit can be made.
The most important section and one I have got wrong for so many years. I used to dive straight into the striker’s profile and see his finishing was awesome and make an offer. I couldn’t work out why he wasn’t scoring or even getting into areas to have a chance on goal. Football Manager 2019 has seen me take more time into my saves and play more in-depth to get better results and it’s working a treat. I have finally realised what attributes apart from finishing is needed in your striker.
The following attributes I look for in every player I sign, the players must have these basic 3 attributes then we can work off these within each position.
- Team Work
- Work Rate
- Natural Fitness
The striker’s attributes are below highlighted with Ciro Immobile, I didn’t need to sign another striker as Immobile fitted the bill perfectly for my tactic and style of football I want to bring to Lazio. Even though I didn’t sign him this is what I will look for when I need the replacement striker to be bought in.
There are a few attributes highlighted here but they all serve a purpose, Let’s take a look through them.
FINISHING – Let’s begin with the obvious and possibly the one we all look for the most. As I said before I don’t make this the most important attribute, reasons being if he isn’t getting into the positions to get a shot off and hasn’t got the pace to beat defenders then what’s the point, all of the other attributes need to be there for him to be able to score. Even though I don’t highlight this as important as people think, it’s still good for him to be able to finish.
FIRST TOUCH – A strikers first touch can dictate whether he can get a shot on goal or let the defender retain possession. Having a striker with a decent first touch means keeping possession more in the final third of the pitch, which obviously is very important. Having a great first touch doesn’t just help him get a shot off on goal, but will also bring players in to create chances.
ANTICIPATION – A very important attribute for a striker to hold in my eyes. A striker that can anticipate the game and react well to what’s going on will find himself in more goal scoring opportunities. A striker with a good playing relationship to a midfielder will also help this. A front man who will predict a through ball to latch onto will cause opposing defences so many problems, this is what I mean by these sort of attributes being in place is more important than the likes of your finishing.
COMPOSURE – When a striker is through on goal you want him to be calm and collective and not panic in these situations. Higher composure will have him scoring more times than not in these 1on1 scenarios. It also helps the striker find out a pass for an assist as well as just scoring the goals. A player with good composure makes for better decisions with and without the ball.
DECISIONS – Another important quality to have is the decision-making, does he shoot does he pass? Decision making is not only with the ball at his feet, but it’s also when to make the run and which run to make. I find the off the ball decision making to be more important. A good decision maker means for more goals or creative play.
OFF THE BALL – Off the ball, hugely important, I find a striker without the ball is just as important than with it, making runs to receive a pass into a dangerous area. Making runs to open space for his midfield is what a lot of people miss but can be so important.
Agility – A striker quick off the mark to beat defenders to the ball through and panicking the opposition always plays in your favour. Running with the ball at defenders also is a skill worth having in their locker, sometimes they need to create chances themselves out of nothing. Agility can turn defence into attack in a quick fashion and very useful when playing a counter attack style.
A bunch of attributes to get looking into for that perfect striker to add to your starting 11. This the strict ruling I have gone by now for a little while and it seems my forwards score more goals and have successful careers under my management, it 100% comes down to me taking time and bringing in the right player for me and the clubs financial situation. I can go hours to search for the right player before pressing continue. If you do use this system in the near future let me know how the striker gets on, my direct messages are always open on Twitter.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article, I hope you have enjoyed and you can use the information in your save.