As some of you know I picked Swansea as my first team to manage on FM17. I wrote an introduction piece about my choice but for following posts I wanted to write about my save in an interesting way, motivated by recent criticism of Football Manager blogging. So I’ve come up with the idea to focus each post on a particular player in my squad. Maybe he’s been playing great or maybe he’s caused me trouble. I’ll use his situation to tell the broader story of what’s going on at Swansea and in the Premier League.
Moussa Dembele, the French striker, has been my best signing. I wanted him as soon as I started at Swansea, knowing from following Celtic in real life through my job in journalism, that he was one of the most talented young footballers around. Thankfully, unlike in reality, in FM17 we (Swansea) were the only club to harbour major interest in him and Celtic were happy to sell him to us for the bargain price of £7m. He joined us at the start of the 2017/18 season and it wasn’t long before he hit the back of the net. He scored in his first game, against Watford, and bagged a hat-trick in his second game, against Sunderland. Now, after 18 games for the club, he has 10 goals – not bad for a 21-year-old. Strikers usually take time to find the knack of scoring consistently but I think he’s worked it out already. He still has a lot of room to improve though and his average rating, at 6.96, shows that although he’s scoring, his all-round game needs work. He’s scored against Chester, Watford, Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Arsenal, Southampton and West Ham. And his goals are important because our defensive record is miserable. We’ve conceded 37 goals in 17 games; only Sunderland can claim to have conceded as many. We’ve conceded three goals or more in eight games this season (my second season in charge) and no matter how many tactical tweaks I try we can’t stem the flow. Maybe my defenders just aren’t good enough? Fabianski in goal can certainly be a burden at times although he does make very good saves. I’ll replace him as soon as I can find someone better. Ben Foster was available but he wanted £63k a week as a rotation option and for rotational players, my limit was about £10k less than that. I didn’t want to guarantee he’d be a first team or key player in case he proved to be more error prone than Fabianski.
It’s amazing Celtic signed Dembele for only £500,000 from Fulham. It’s amazing we signed him for only £7m. It’ll amaze me even more if he’s still in Wales in 2020. But I won’t let him go on the cheap! BREAKING NEWS: As I write this, Dembele has just scored the winner in a 1-2 away win against bottom side Everton (yes they’re struggling in my save too). His winning goal could prove the most important he’ll score all season.
Next time I’ll introduce you to another player in my squad whose story will help explain how the club is doing on and off the pitch. Thanks for reading.