Manchester City are one of the richest clubs in world football but that only means the expectations are stratospheric, so can you handle the hotseat on Football Manager 2020?
The reigning Premier League champions have achieved unrelenting levels of domestic success since the start of Sheikh Mansour’s reign in boardroom, but the highly-coveted Champions League crown has thus far evaded his grasp.
Pep Guardiola was cherrypicked to cross this final frontier and achieve European glory, but even he has struggled to get the Citizens over the line and carry with him the elusive ‘Big Ears’ trophy back to the Etihad Stadium.
So, can you achieve where even the most decorated and esteemed tacticians of the modern era has failed? Are you, in fact, the managerial godsend City fans thought they were getting when Guardiola rocked up?
If so, we have the complete team guide on Man City in FM20 below, helping you on your passage to Premier League supremacy and continental dominance.
First up, meet the Chief Executive Officer: Ferran Soriano. The former Barcelona Vice President gets straight to the point and outlines the board’s vision for your tenure.
In keeping with Guardiola’s blueprint, Soriano is expecting you to adopt an entertaining and possession-based style of play, but given the players at your disposal, this shouldn’t be hard to achieve.
What will be hard to achieve, though, is winning the Premier League title and reaching the Champions League final in your first season. The City board have made both these objectives mandatory.
But fear not, petrodollars will be coming your way. The makers and shakers have sanctioned a £44m transfer budget, rising to £61m, while there is a handsome £3.8m p/w wage budget also on the table.
And joining you in your quest for silverware will be an illustrious nine-man coaching team consisting of Mikel Arteta, Brian Kidd and famous third-choice goalkeeper Richard Wright.
You’ll also be pleased to know that both the training and youth facilities are in “state of the art” condition, while the academy coaching and youth recruitment have been marked down as “good”.
There’s really only one way to go here and that’s to build on the foundations put in place by Guardiola. You can, of course, deviate from the Catalonian and instil a new brand at the Etihad, but we recommend selecting the default tiki-taka style and ushering your players into the famed system.
This tactical approach is centred on ball retention and patient build-up when in attack, but an urgent – almost desperate – press when the ball is lost.
It means your players can retain energy when on the ball, allowing the world-class instincts of your creative cogs to shine through, while also tiring your opponent out.
The formation is a Guardiola-esque 4-3-3 with a flat back-four, consisting of Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker on the defensive flanks as supportive wing-backs, while Nicolas Otamendi and Aymeric Laporte will form that all too familiar ball-playing-traditional centre-back partnership.
Summer recruit Rodri will take his natural position at the base of a midfield three as a deep-lying playmaker, while Kevin De Bruyne will roam just in front of him and David Silva will surge up the pitch alongside the Belgian looking to create chances and find openings.
Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling will occupy the attacking bylines, interchanging between roles, be it as a traditional winger, an inside forward, a Raumdeuter, or an inverted winger. And of course, Sergio Aguero will play through the middle.
Kevin De Bruyne
Few can hold a candle to the Man City marvel, who boasts simply outrageous statistics and will be essential to any/all of your aspirations in the dugout. His world-class technique, passing and vision attributes can unlock even the most watertight of defences, so keep De Bruyne fit and his moral high and watch him dominate games almost single-handedly.
He may be approaching his twilight years but the insatiable Argentine marksman is showing no discernible signs of slowing down and will be the most influential player for you in the final third. It’s all well and good having a creative virtuoso in the form De Bruyne further back but if there’s no one willing to make the runs and finish the chances then the Belgian’s work is effectively null. Fortunately, he has Aguero to complement his peerless distribution.
With David Silva leaving at the end of the campaign, his namesake Bernardo could perhaps inherit his central midfield throne, such is the Portuguese’s versatility. But for the meantime, B. Silva will flourish on the flank. He can pretty much shine in any role out wide, making him an exceptionally diverse and unique player.
Best young players
There will be no prizes for guessing City’s best youth product on the game. He’s only mustered a handful of Premier League appearances, but Foden’s value is at an incredible £34.5m and with good reason. The ‘Stockport Iniesta’ can already slot fluidly into your side and compete at the top level, whether that’s in the Premier League or Champions League. Should you nurture this precocious talent accordingly then you will have a future first-team regular for the next decade.
Both Tommy Doyle’s grandfathers were Man City players in their respective heydays so this is your chance to keep the bloodline alive and flourishing in the North West. The teenage playmaker boasts attributes years above his age and could easily be developed into a top player if given the right platform to thrive.
The Dublin-born shot-stopper is already a very proficient player between the sticks despite being just 17 years of age. He possesses a very respectable three-and-a-half star potential rating and could prove a competent understudy to Ederson in the first-team.
Left-back is City’s biggest area of vulnerability and will definitely need addressing, so this is your chance to go big and bring in a world-class player to fill the void. David Alaba will cost you just under £100m so either sell and get your funds up or bring out the instalments during your negotiations with Bayern Munich.
If Alaba proves too costly then you may want to bring in a cheaper alternative, and Alex Grimaldo is certainly that. The Spaniard is a downgrade on Alaba, but honestly not by a considerable margin. He is an archetypal modern full-back in everything sense, boasting key defensive and attacking attributes, so sign him up before another powerhouse comes knocking.
Central defence is another key area of weakness for City following the departure of Vincent Kompany, so if you still fancy plundering Benfica’s ranks, but don’t quite fancy a left-back, then go for Dias, who will add serious depth to your backline. He is proficient in all three central defensive roles so can flick between being a ball-player alongside Otamendi or a traditional centre-back alongside Laporte.
No longer needed
He just rejoined City in the summer but his two-star current ability leaves a lot to be desired while he also starts off in the club’s Under-23s, telling you all you need to know about how much FM20 rates him. The Spaniard is worth keeping around while Mendy recovers from injury, but in all seriousness sign a new left-back and offload Angelino in January.
Zinchenko is a very diverse player which may prove useful to have around, particularly with Mendy’s injury, but once the Frenchman is back up and running and you sign a new left-back, the Ukrainian may be surplus to requirements. His natural position is further up the pitch but he won’t supplant De Bruyne or D Silva, plus if either player needs a rest or picks up a knock then Foden is there to slot in, as is Ilkay Gundogan, B Silva, or even Tommy Doyle.
Not much of an explanation is needed here really. In all honesty, you are better off promoting Bazunu to the first-team fold as soon as possible and dropping Carson, and perhaps even Claudio Bravo.