Southampton have recently changed their manager, with Mark Hughes sacked and Ralph Hasenhuttl brought in to steady the ship and build for the future. But go back a few months and the Welshman was handed a new three-year deal.
Say that never happened and you took over at the St Mary’s helm on FIFA 19, here is what you should come to expect…
The board’s tasks for your first season on the south coast would be to finish in the middle of the Premier League pack.
Beyond that, your main objectives are to sign two defenders for the academy and reduce player wages by £44,000 a week. Chose carefully who to sign, though, as one youth graduate must play at least 70% of the first team’s matches in the following season.
When you take charge of the Saints, the transfer budget on offer starts at £39.5million with a further £94,644 set aside for wages.
One of the reasons, however, that the board want you to reduce player earnings is that the current weekly expenditure is £788,700 – a high figure for a club residing in the lower half of the table.
Southampton have a solid right-midfielder in James Ward-Prowse, who can develop into a lovely passer of the ball, but the 24-year-old is better deployed in central midfielder, where his passing can be utilised.
One right-sided option to consider should be Real Sociedad winger Adnan Januzaj, who would walk straight into the Saints’ first team and can develop into a well-rounded option, despite the La Liga side only asking for £13million.
Sticking in Spain, a great striker to look to sign is Real Betis’ Antonio Sanabria. The 22-year-old Paraguayan has immense potential, leaving a lot of room to grow from his strong starting stats.
Most notably, Sanabria has 81 finishing, 75 shot power and 83 ball control, and comes with a £35.6m release clause, yet the Spanish side will happily accept a figure in the region of £23m.
If you are looking to strengthen your side’s core defensively, look no further than Spartak Moscow’s Roman Zobnin. At 24, he has time to grow but is a unit in the heart of the team.
He’ll set you back just shy of £17million, but it will be money well spent.
Sell Charlie Austin and you pretty much take care of the wage reduction objective immediately. The 28-year-old earns £43,500 a week and is your side’s highest earner, despite holding the same rating as Manolo Gabbiadini, who is younger, more versatile and has slightly more room to improve.
Thirty-year-old shot-stopper Fraser Forster is another one of the Saints’ high earners to sell, even if his £27k-a-week is some way shy of his reported income in the real world.
The goalkeeper is no longer the best option at Southampton, and 22-year-old Angus Gunn should be handed as much game time as possible to fulfil his potential, which is some way ahead of first-choice Alex McCarthy.
You can argue the case for selling any one of Southampton’s central defenders beyond Jannik Vestergaard, for Wesley Hoedt, Jan Bednarek, Jack Stephens and Maya Yoshida all come in with similar ratings.
The Japanese defender, however, will soon be out-developed by his positional rivals, and would take a further £33k off the books while adding £4.3m to the transfer funds.
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The 22-year-old goalkeeper may start life as the third-choice shot-stopper at St Mary’s but has a potential 83 rating, which easily eclipses that of the 28-year-old McCarthy.
His base attributes are also strong enough to be called upon early into your career.
He’s not technically one for the future in the sense of being a wonderkid, but 23-year-old Mohamed Elyounoussi is undoubtedly one to develop.
He’ll start as a comfortable first-team staring 79 rated left-midfielder, but can develop to a potential 85 as either the wide left, right or central attacking midfielder, with great stamina, acceleration and agility.
Bednarek is closer to the wonderkid cusp at 22, but should be considered as your third, or at least fourth, choice centre-back as his defensive stats are on point with Stephens and will quickly move ahead of Yoshida.
The Polish defender will make an adequate makeweight during your first season in charge until a scouted defender can take his place.