Whilst I decided this would be the year I stopped handing EA money for a product that I stopped feeling deserved it, and instead made the jump to PES (I will justify this someday), I feel an obligation to many of you who still come to the blog for my recommendations for teams that make FIFA 17 less boring. So having got a handle of how the season is panning out across Europe we will go through some options to potentially make your FIFA career mode a little less dull – because let’s face it… it’s not much different than last years, unfortunately.
So, with this in mind, let’s look at five FIFA manager career mode challenges to make the game a little less boring.
Sigh… As a huge Arsenal fan, this one pains me. A few years ago it was fun to look at those teams on the fringe of the top 4 of the premier league at the time, Liverpool, Tottenham, Everton, and think gee, that’d be a fun career if only I didn’t hate all those teams bar Everton, and playing as Everton never really clicked, so ultimately I’d go manage Shalke, Roma or Valencia, teams on the fringe of the top. This is what Arsenal are seemingly becoming. That is until you come along, lucky player!
The challenge, should you choose to accept it, will be to develop the Arsenal team to the heights of the 03/04 season and achieve an invincible season. You’ve got a shiny new striker in Lacazette and a potentially functional team and a few players to develop such as Nelson, Iwobi, Bellerin and Holding. You also have a huge budget to fill any cracks. But the invincible season is unlikely in the first year, and with Ozil and Sanchez’s contracts expiring, the task could be set to get harder. You will have to play this smart and long-term.
- Huge budget, no need to worry about finance.
- Decent squad to begin with, can you get them firing?
- Lacazette will get you goals
- Star players leaving after the first year, Cech getting on a bit
- An invincible season is rare for a reason – one mistake and it’s over
- You have a large budget, but to get the quality of the 03/04 team you’ll likely have to develop youth rather than outright buy.
Difficulty rating: World Class
Similar teams: Roma, Dortmund, Lyon, Sporting Lisbon.
2. Vancouver Whitecaps
Who? Yeah, I know MLS, an unpopular league. But, hear me out here. The reason I’ve chosen Vancouver is that they are from Canada and have no money. The focus of this challenge is Canadian youth development. Yup, Canadian youth development. The challenge is to make Canada the greatest national team the world has ever seen, all from your base in Vancouver. Why Vancouver? Because you get a head start by having Alphonso Davies who with a potential of 89 could be Canada’s greatest ever player. So, target one will win the MLS with your plucky Canadian youth, secure the Canada national team job, and win the World Cup. Easy right? Well here’s the Canada team:
I recognise Hoilett, Arfield and Borjan. That’s it. Qualifying for the world cup with these guys will be hard let alone doing anything while you’re there so you will need to get that youth development early and work on the training weekly to get competitive players quickly. I’d also recommend bringing any quality Canadians to Vancouver in the early game to train and boost them quickly, such as Cyle Larin. Overall, an incredibly tough challenge, got the patience?
- A long-term save, should keep you occupied for a number of seasons
- Youth development is generally one of the most satisfying elements of career
- MLS should be relatively easy to win early on and has a fun structure
- As I said, this will be a long-term save and could be boring to some with the potential slow progress
- If you win the MLS the first season, subsequent seasons could drag as you wait for internationals
- Both the Whitecaps and Canada are initially not great and could take a while to play decent football
Difficulty rating: Legendary
Similar teams: Toronto FC, Montreal Impact, alternatively any MLS team and generate US youth.
As of the 5th of November Benevento have failed to pick up a single point in the Italian top flight and could be in line for a season worse than that famous Derby County 11 point season. Benevento was re-founded just 12 years ago and it is amazing that they have managed to get to Serie A already, however, it appears that they may have got there a little too quick and are struggling up there. The team is fairly poor and the finances are… also poor. The team has one potential star in Ciciretti who could be developed into something special.
The challenge here is simple: survive. Having achieved this the goal is then to thrive, but that first season will be a rough one. The goal of the ‘thrive’ stage will not be too much, just qualify for Europe and win the Italian cup. These goals are realistic to achieve in 3 to 4 seasons. If at this point you wish to go on with the save, that’s on you, but at that point, the team should be around the quality of a Sampdoria so should hopefully be fairly straightforward!
- You literally can’t do worse than they have done in real life so far.
- Ciciretti could be a star, develop him and you could land big money after the first year
- Fairly short term save with the potential to develop into a longer one
- Low budget means you will need to sell to buy
- A lot of loanees will mean that the second year could be tricky
- It’s between you and Crotone for worst quality team in the league
Difficulty rating: Professional
Similar teams: Metz, Crotone, Alaves, Roda
Former 9-time German Championship and Bundesliga champions, 4-time DFB Pokal champions and Bayern Munich’s direct Bavarian rival, Nürnberg have fallen from grace over recent decades (despite one Pokal win in 2007). Nürnberg have found themselves stuck in Bundesliga 2 since 2014, a season where they hadn’t won a game all season until I went to see them play, so, you’re kinda welcome?
To restore Nürnberg to their historic best you will not be helped by the financial clout of the board. Instead, you will have to do this through developing players and making savvy deals here and there. Nürnberg has a track record of developing youth and you will be expected to do the same. There are a few decent prospects already in the team such as Mühl and Teuchert. These will prove crucial early on as you push to win the Bundesliga 2. The challenge really comes in dismounting Bayern as the dominant power in the top flight and could take a number of seasons to overtake your Bavarian rivals.
- Restoring a fallen giant to the top is always satisfying
- Some decent youth prospects for the league
- The first season could almost act as a ‘freebie’ if you don’t aim to go straight up
- Very balanced Bundesliga 2 could prove tricky to escape from
- With their money, Leipzig could fire ahead of Bayern and be together to overtake
- Not too much money to play with
Difficulty rating: Professional
Similar teams: Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Parma, Lens
Celtic may seem like an easy choice, and domestically you’d be absolutely right. That is part of the fun of this type of save, you are so superior to the rest of the league that you can play fun football whilst blowing away teams and if you don’t fancy playing Kilmarnock away then you can just sim and probably win. I had a save the FIFA before last with Ajax where this was the case and it is fun. But if that is all there was to it you’d likely get bored. Celtic won the European cup in 1967, the core challenge of the save will be to replicate this success by winning every competition you enter as Celtic did in 1967.
To add additional challenge you could try to achieve this using just Scottish players from your youth system and through transfers. This would be to replicate the fact that all of the “Lisbon Lions” were born within 30 miles
of Glasgow. This is an optional addition and would make this challenge incredibly difficult. As a challenge to just win all competitions entered the biggest challenge will be the Champions League with patience and wise purchases, however, this is very achievable.
- Team is a class above the league allowing easy development of youth
- Some budget to bring in hot prospects
- Good youth such as Dembele and Tierney
- Thrashing teams is fun for only so long, then you will be focused on Europe. Might be more fun to ‘topple’ Celtic with a team such as Aberdeen if you prefer.
- Could be tricky to hold on to prospects due to league reputation
- Not enough money to buy established talent without first selling
Similar teams: Ajax, Rosenborg, Zenit, PSG, Benfica, Real Madrid, Barcelona
I was in two minds whether to add these guys to the list because the challenge is to continue the good work of their English manager Graham Potter. In case you’ve missed it, Östersunds have risen from the fourth tier of Swedish football to Europa league football between 2011 and now under the leadership of Potter, who was working for Leeds Metropolitan University when Östersunds employed him. The challenge here would be to continue Potter’s work, just keep climbing, next stop Champions league!