The American Dream

INTRO

After success in Europe on FM 22 at multiple clubs, I felt it was time to hop over the ocean and start a South / North American journey. On FM20 I had great success with Gremio, making them the best club in the world, winning title after title and it all culminating in a Club World Cup win. So where better to start this year than fallen giants Gremio? Gremio have recently fallen victim to relegation, and similar to German outfit Schalke, they are a club in free fall when really they should never be looking over their shoulders and only ever looking upwards. A state of the art ground holding 60,000 fans, a rich history in Brazilian football and 3 Copa Libedatores titles to their name, Gremio need taking back to their glory days.

However, this won’t be a one club save. I’ve always found the best thing about FM is learning about leagues you’d never take an interest in on a Saturday afternoon. Therefore, the objective of this save is as follows:

Win a League Title, a Domestic Trophy and a Continental Trophy in:
Brazil
Argentina
Mexico
USA
Canada.

The USA will be an interesting one when trying to get my head around the transfer and drafting system over there.

The squad

Financial difficulties have seen a lot of the star players either sold or shipped out on loan. The squad has a lot of deadwood however, in a years time I will have a lot of talented loan players either back in to the fray or on the transfer list, building foundations toward repairing the financial damage the club has recently faced. There isn’t much in the way of transfer funds, so we’ll be relying on free’s, loans and bargains to do a job for a season or 2 as we progress. Looking at the squad I have inherited, there is enough here to make me think we could and should be getting promoted back to Serie A at the first time of asking. Ex Liverpool star Lucas Lieva still has the ability to be a star player for us, despite being 35 years of age. A versatile midfielder who can pass, tackle and stay composed, however we’ll find a role for him to hide his lack of physical attributes.

Up top we are very thin, with the main threat being 36 year old target man Diego Souza. I’m not expecting him to chase every ball down and cause havoc down the channels, however standing at 6″1″ and being a danger in the air and with his hold up play due to his strength, Souza will be the ideal target man for us to aim at from wide and set pieces.

Partnering Souza will be Elkenson. A solid set of attributes for this division and he could well be our talisman firing us back to the top tier of Brazilian football.

Now at the back we are pretty average, but Walter Kannemann is the stand out centre back who does not belong in the second division. He is however injured for 6 months, which means he will miss the Gaucho State Championship but will be back fit for the start for the league season. There’s a huge possibility his long term injury prevented a move away, but that suits us down to the ground.

We’re also short at wing back, both sides, however Nicolas looks like he will be a great player for the season being on loan from Paranaense. Solid across the board with crossing ability and the physical attributes to meet the demands of a modern day full back flying up and down the pitch.

And to partner Lieva in the midfield we have Vilasnati. Again, a very versatile player who can slot nicely into almost any midfield role, the Paraguyan will key to any success we may have this season.

shape

Looking at the squad and the new instructions of Low Block etc I’d like to test out a 3 at the back system. And being in Brazil it would make sense to have wing backs starting higher up the field. So this is the shape we’ll begin with, testing it out in the Gaucho State Championship. I’ll go into more detail about the Gaucho State Championship later on but in a nutshell it’s a tournament whereby we will play the teams in our state (Gaucho). Gremio are and always have been one of, if not the, strongest side in the tournament so we won’t learn much about how the system works as we’ll be playing teams much lower than us in the footballing pyramid.
As you can see, we’re set up to be cautious, I’d like this team to be tight at the back and use the pace of the wing backs and creativity of the midfielders to soak up pressure and hit teams on the counter attack. With Diego Souza being our main target up top I’ve instructed the goalkeeper to quickly distribute it up to him with the idea for him to be winning flick ons and and holding up the ball for the Mezalla to make a run in behind or his strike partner to do the same.

recruitment

Recruitment has been very tough. My scouts aren’t coming back with much and what they do come back with aren’t good enough or are too expensive for us. So before the start of the season we’ve made one signing to bolster the back line and that comes in the form of Ulisses. A solid defender who will fit nicely into the back 3, and with high determination and decent mental attributes, I feel we could have found a real bargain here, especially at this level.

Now it’s important to remember that in Brazil, the season starts in January (Gaucho State) with the transfer window opening on the 11th and closing on the 5th March, around the time of the Gaucho State final. Therefore, being a strong team in the competition we can treat the Gaucho State like a long pre season and there’s no rush yet to strengthen the squad. We’ll try and move some players on and I imagine some of the top players will want to leave for a better level of football shortly, but with 20% of transfer revenue made available the money coming in from player sales will only be seen in wages and not necessarily transfer budget.

ready, set…

So here we go, the first game of the Gaucho State is upon us and I am to begin my managerial career with the once mighty Gremio. Success is expected, but a rebuild is priority. With 4 automatic promotion spots up for grabs it would be criminal of me as a manager to not get this side promoted. Here we go…

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