After playing (methodically) around six seasons on FM17, I’ve had my fair share of disappointment but I’ve also enjoyed the odd pleasant surprise. Most of these precious moments have involved players I’ve been able to rely on for match-winning performances. Others have always stuck to their job, allowing me peace of mind or just have a special skill. Here are my five favourite players on FM17 so far…
He was loyal to my Southampton until I let Villa prise him away at 32 years old. I regret it now because he was consistent on either wing, best as an inside forward. He’s a composed and able finisher. He’s good at free kicks and penalties. For me, he’s an ideal attacking midfielder; I love his versatility and wide range of skills. I only sold him because I bought a couple of forwards who needed game time. He’s elegant, has flair and he’s one of those players that people describe as seeming to have more time than the players around him on the pitch. A special player.
I’ve never seen someone close down and tackle like this chap. They say he was refused entry to all nationally-recognised long-distance races as it would be unfair to any competitors: ‘Oi, no professionals.’ That may or may not be a myth but what I know for sure is he NEVER STOPS. This is very reassuring for a manager who can’t stand lazy footballers. He’s a player who’s singlehandedly changed what I want in my teams. Now I won’t go in to a season without this sort of player. Arter actually went on to let me down, asking to leave if I didn’t give him a hefty pay boost, after less than a season under my stewardship. I believe LA Galaxy had unsettled him (infuriating) but they lost interest. He still wanted to leave though and when Atalanta came in with an acceptable bid, he joined them. He’s on less money now than he was with me at Watford!! What is this game sometimes?
Gylfi, formerly known as Gylfi Sigurdsson, has had some fantastic seasons for me. As well as being reliable in possession and resilient to injury, he’s always a danger from freekicks, is great in link-up play and has very good vision and passing. He’s a class act. Like Tadic, he’s a well-rounded player – not amazing defensively, but not awful – he’s a very good team player. As I write this, I’ve played two games on FM17 and Gylfi has scored in each, including a 30-yard freekick.
Probably the most talented player I’ve managed so far on FM17. Who needs a right foot when your left is as good as Asensio’s? Apparently that’s what they say in Mallorca, where the Spaniard started his career before coming to greater prominence at Real Madrid. You could do worse than mopping up Real’s sloppy seconds. Although stuck in a dip in form at the moment, he’s scored 19 goals this season by January and notched seven assists. I imagined he’d be primarily a provider of chances so I’m very pleasantly surprised to see him taking the responsibility of putting the ball in the net from long range shots, freekicks, headed goals, penalties and more. He runs a lot with the ball, which can be a deadly weapon to have in my team, however, it can be frustrating when he gives away possession, sometimes putting us on the back foot. Overall though, a great £7.5m signing and only 26 when I signed him.
Moussa Dembele (striker)
Moussa was one of the first players I signed on FM17 in my first job at Swansea City. I’d seen him performing well for Celtic in real life; I copy-edited Scottish newspapers and it was impossible to miss the progress he was making and his goals against Man City in the Champions League this year confirmed he had real talent. He was extremely important for me and my Swansea team after I whisked him away from Celtic for only £7m. Although a ‘streaky’ player, he went on impressive scoring runs and he often created goals for himself. He wasn’t just a fox in the box, he could run at and beat several defenders at a time before smashing the ball home. Moussa has lost his way since I sold him to Arsenal for £25m but I’d be tempted to buy him again.