FM 2015 Villarreal Guide
written by Acss
Because Villarreal has often been touted as an example of small but successful club. Founded in 1923, Villarreal debuted in Primera with a match against Real Madrid in 1998. They slowly reached their top and in 2004-2005 the club finished 3rd in the league, while they also reached the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup.
Then during the next season they had the best performance when they reached the Champions League semi-finals, being defeated by Arsenal. However in 2012 things were about to change as Villarreal were relegated and Manolo Preciado, appointed as Villarreal’s new manager on 6 June, died of a heart attack later that day.
There was a mass exodus of players at the club following their relegation, but even so the club managed to earn the promotion back to Primera in the final day of the following season.
Club Information – The Initial Setup
- Reputation: National
- Estimated Value: €66M (Loan Debt: €25M)
- Stadium: El Madrigal, 23000 all-seater
- Affiliated Club(s): Villarreal B, Villarreal C, Onda
- Training Facilities: Impressive
- Youth Facilities: Great
Villarreal have clearly not won any major competition during their history, so there’s plenty of space for new trophies to be added. Their only achievement comes from the 3rd division when they were crowned champions back in 1970. The club enjoyed their best spell of success during the 2000s just before they were relegated, but didn’t manage to win anything. Now with their promotion back to Primera, things can change for the better.
- Balance: €22,178,000
- Projected Balance: €10.52M
- Total Player Wage Budget: €2,903,000 per month
- Current Player Wage Budget: €2,803,000 per month
- Transfer Budget: €2.11M
The hardest challenge at Villarreal won’t be against the opponents on the field but more about handling your own finances. There is currently a remaining amount of €25M loan debt to be paid (€518K/month) until 2018 and your only reliable sources of income are the €950K sponsorship deal, per season and TV rights somewhere around €20M which are already absorbed by the club.
Supposing you won’t make any moves on the transfer market, these figures will get you close to the limit of financial fair play, possibly triggering a one year ban from continental competitions. To avoid that you’ll have to make some adjustments, and by that I mean that you’ll need to sell some of the players, to lower the wages.
Once again I recommend you stick to the minimum expectations, EURO Cup qualification should be your target as well since you have a very good competition in the league and you might not do any better than that. Transfer budget is rather low, but anyway I highly recommend you to think there is no budget at all, and only buy players if you manage to sell others. There are no other philosophies included.
Well, there are a few changes you should definitely make at the club, unfortunately your current staff have long contracts and the compensation is quite expensive but I personally recommend doing these changes as it’s really worth in the long term strategy:
- Assistant Manager – you probably won’t find a better assistant than Ruben Uria, 19 for Motivation and Man Management, 13 for judging player ability (both current and potential), 12 Tactical Knowledge – so keep this one at club.
- Fitness Coach (Ismael Fernandez) – there are much better options out there, like Massimo Neri and Damian Roden.
- Goalkeeping Coach (Jesus Unanua) – offer mutual termination and sign Pedro Jaro and/or Franco Tancredi.
- Coach – you have only one Under 19s coach, possible signings include: Diego Bertoluzzi, Rene Meulensteen, Gonzalo Abando and Fabio Viviani.
- Scout (Lalo) – there are 5 decent scouts at your club, but Lalo is not among them. You can bring instead Jeff Vetere and/or Finidi George.
- Physio – you can keep your head physio and sign Alberto Pan as an additional staff member.
- Director Of Football (Antonio Cordon) – I personally would offer him a mutual termination, not signing anyone else for the position really as it’s pretty much useless for the scenario, but it’s up to you on this one I guess.
The Squad – Key Players & Backups
Goalkeepers: Sergio Asenjo should be the number one keeper for your first season. Juan Carlos is a decent backup, and you have a couple more options for the 3rd keeper in your B and C squads. You can only register 3 keepers so you can either use these ones or sign a better backup for Asenjo.
Defenders: The key player in your defense is Mateo Musacchio. However, at the start of your game he will attract major clubs like Real Madrid, Arsenal, Manchester and so on. They will probably offer around €10M at first, but if you play your cards right you can get no less than €20-30M for the player. Selling him would be in the best interest of your club. Gabriel Paulista is your next best defender and he should be used accordingly, then you have Victor Ruiz as a backup and Chechu Dorado as the backup’s backup (well, he’s not really worth it). All in all, this area could use improvements especially if you’re going to sell Musacchio. Thankfully, your wing back positions are decently covered. Mario, Antonio Rukavina, Jaume Costa and Bojan Jokic should be enough for your first season.
Midfielders: The strength of your team comes from the midfield central axis where you have players like Tomas Pina, Bruno and of course the two brothers Jonathan and Giovani dos Santos. If mastered well, they will definitely make a big difference out there. You can also get the most out of Manu Trigueros and Javi Espinoza can be used as a backup (the guy has a really good potential). You can decide to sell Bruno since he’s 30 year old, has €100k salary and can only play as DMC thus requiring re-training for the MC position. Moving now to the wingers, you have Giovani who can play both sides then Denis Cheryshev (on loan from Real), Cani (more as a backup since he’s a rather slow player), Hernan Perez (currently injured for between 5 weeks and 2 months) – also as backup. Furthermore, you can retrain Luciano Vietto to play on the AMR position to get the most out of his pace and acceleration.
Strikers: Luciano Vietto, Ikechukwu Uche and Giovani dos Santos. While they don’t offer too much quality upfront, they are not too bad either. Uche however, has injury proneness and in January or so he’ll most probably be away on International duties. Thus I recommend you check Gerard Moreno from Villarreal B, move him to the main squad and use him as much as possible. He’s going to be your main striking force, along with Vietto.
The Youth Generation
- Average Junior Coaching
- Well Established Youth Recruitment
Villarreal have quite a few prospects but you won’t find them at the Under 19s. Moi Gomez and Nahuel Leiva – both versatile midfielders – are part of Villarreal B, where there is also Pablo Iniguez (20 years old DMC), currently on loan at Girona. At Villarreal C there is one more prospect by the name of Aleix (17/AMC). I also had the great pleasure to see a 5-star potential coming through the youth academy during my first season – definitely keep an eye on the youth here, I’d say.
FM 2015 Villarreal Tactics
Villarreal have a couple of fast paced offensive players and versatile midfielders. Well, I guess I will try to use the same setup for all of my teams and only adjust the instructions to suit them better, so again we have the 4-4-2 combined with the 4-3-2-1. The two have a lot in common, they are based on a short passing system with a deep defensive line and each player has his own individual instructions. Let’s see them in more details below:
- 4-4-2: used as the main formation due to having 4 players capable of sustaining the striking couple upfront. Vietto and Giovani are best suited for the False 9 position while Moreno and Uche can play the poacher. Moving down to the central midfield, Trigueros is the best option for the Advanced Playmaker, followed by players such as Giovani, Cani or Javi Espinoza. I found this formation highly effective using the counter/defensive mentalities, but you can push higher against weaker opponents. [Download link]
- 4-3-2-1: or some sort of variant. Nothing much changed compared to the 4-4-2 above, just dropped the poacher for a defensive midfielder to gain more control in the midfield. This will conclude to fewer chances upfront, but having more quality. Can also be used to protect a lead during the final moments of a game, using defensive/contain mentalities. [Download link]
Before anything else you should know that only a maximum of 3 foreign players are allowed to be registered. And once again I recommend you only buy players if you manage to sell others first, due to the financial fair play regulations. I would personally go for selling both Musacchio and Bruno since that will really help your finances and it will also lower the wages, leaving you with enough money to strengthen your team.
If you do exactly like this presented below, you should end up with at least €10M profit from transfers and this will be enough for you to pass the financial fair play regulations. There are also players that will have their contract expired at the end of the season, but I only recommend you to renew Gerard Moreno’s, and leave all others on a free transfer.
One small observation regarding the ones from Villarreal B and Villarreal C: if you want to actually earn the money you get for these players when sold, then better move them first to the main squad. However, I would wait for one season before getting my head into their squads.
- Mateo Musacchio: play your cards well, you can get around €20M – or even €30M.
- Bruno: offers will range between €4-7M, if you decide to sell him.
- Chechu Dorado: can be sold for around €90K or so.
- Goalkeeper(s): well, if you happen to find Fernando Pacheco transfer listed then you should go for him since he’s only worth around €500K and he’ll be really up for the challenge. In my save he wasn’t, so I went for the next option which is Lovre Kalinic from Hajduk – it costs €2.5M and has low wage requirements. Eventually you can also get Pacheco on free during the winter session when he enters the last 6 months of his contract, so make sure he’s on your shortlist to spot on the opportunity.
- Defender(s): the best replacement for Musacchio is no other than Alvarez Balanta, available for around €8M he will be under a €100k salary and with bags of potential he will worth a lot more after a couple of seasons. I also recommend searching for an additional central defender but don’t spend too much money on him, in my case I was able to loan Craig Dawson from West Brom for a monthly fee of only €20K, that’s around €90K in total with salary but it’s one of the best cheap options out there.
- Midfielder(s): I wouldn’t sign anyone during the first season in this area since you have enough cover for all positions, just keep scouting for players with good potential and have them signed at the end of the season when you’ll know exactly how your finances look like.
- Striker(s): no need for improvements as well, you should do more than fine with the available strikers during your first season.
It’s very important how you manage the first part of your season, especially if you play in the EURO Cup. You can get really unlucky and have a tough opponent in the playoffs, like Saint-Etienne and miss the groups phase (losing the prize money) – which will only make your finances look worse. Or you can start the season playing against Real Madrid/Barcelona. Or you can meet them in the Spanish Cup during the early phases.
All these will lower the morale and it’s going to be really tough getting your team back on the tracks. But let’s suppose things go well then there are lot of games to be played – you will need to use the rotation. Picking up the right players for each game while resting some others could become tricky. And of course, there’s also the risk of injuries.
Before I realized how to use my players well, there were enough points wasted already. But I still managed a lucky finish for a Champions League place, close to being 2nd above Real Madrid (who had a rather poor season). Knowing what I know now, I would have done much better. Just remember, your first season should be all about finances first. Sell Bruno and Musacchio, get Balanta. During your second season you can invest a lot in players with great potential (that you already scouted), and the title should be yours by the end of your 3rd season.
Any questions, thoughts or suggestions about this FM 2015 Villarreal Guide (and not only) are much appreciated. Just leave them below and I will be more than glad to answer them all. See you next time and good luck with “El Submarino Amarillo”!
- Pros: great facilities, solid midfield, no philosophies.
- Cons: poor finances, competitive league, high expectations, factor of luck.
- Difficulty: 5/10