Welcome to my first scenario! In this I will be taking the reins of a French side with some history for three years and attempting to bring them to heights in Europe they’ve never achieved before. I don’t have the creative juices to truly make this into a roleplay story (for those that were hoping for such), but I will be thinking like a manager (or at least how a career mode manager *might* think). I’ll be following my rules alongside this challenge to add to it.
If like me you spend many hours a week prowling Reddit, and are subbed to the Subreddit FIFACareers, you may have come across a post by Reddit user Badgnes94. In this he compiles all the FIFA career mode challenges he could find from across Reddit and other websites. I get a lot of ideas for scenarios from his post however I typically tend to amend them to suit what play-style I’m after. In his post there are mentions as to why certain clubs would be going for certain things and it’s those nuggets of info I find most interesting when creating a career mode scenario.
I loaded this up and filtered the spreadsheet to only show challenges that were appropriate for FIFA 20. The very first challenge was a 3 season LOSC Lille Challenge. See below image which dictated the original rules:
It was originally a FIFA 18 challenge however it was still appropriate for FIFA 20. The players may have aged a bit further and the squad may have developed since but all in all I saw it as a similar level of challenge. It’s worth noting I adapted these rules to fit what I was after. E.g. I removed the making 2 signings from outside the top 5 leagues followed by the Ligue 1 signing rule as for one I didn’t realllyyy understand it and two it doesn’t really scream realism for a team in the CL. I also don’t use Scout Future Star. The rules I used (taken straight from the Word doc):
By the end of season 3:
- They’re just kids – Have an average age of 22 across the 18 man “ideal” lineup
- By ideal I mean using the players with the highest overall for each of the positions
- J’adore Francais – Have at least 5 French players in your ideal starting XI
- French Talent – Produce x2 talents from your youth academy that play a key role in your 18 man squad.
During the 3 seasons:
- New heights in Europe – Reach the semi-finals of the CL
- To check with realism, on SoFIFA Lille are currently 49th in the club rankings (17/06/20 squads). In 18-19 Ajax reached the semi finals as the 24th ranked club 80 OVR rated, Lille start off as a 77 so grow an overall each season which sounds realistic).
- 17-18 Roma reached it as 15th ranked club 81 OVR
- 16-17 Monaco reached it as 25th ranked club 79 OVR
- Keep the board satisfied – Complete 50% of the Manager objectives every season
- Expand the clubs exposure globally – send scouts to Asia and pick up a young talent every season.
- Asia meaning all leagues that fall within the AFC
- Build a steady reputation – Qualify for European football every season, only in your first season is Europa League acceptable, after that it must be Champions League.
Bonus Objectives (not required):
- It’s been a while – Win a piece of silverware (not including pre-season tournaments)
- PS Who? – Win Ligue 1
- Back in Business – Win the French double (Ligue 1 + French domestic cup)
- French Domination – Win the French treble (Ligue 1 + both French domestic cups)
- C’est Magnifique! – Win the Champions League for the first time in Lille’s history
Club Specific Rules:
- On parle francais – You’re only allowed to setup your youth academies in countries where French is registered as a national language (I may have made some errors here).
- On FIFA these countries are: France, Belgium, Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Switzerland, and Canada
- Local Rivals – You’re not allowed to deal directly with RC Lens
- LFP Rules – No release clauses, this means as per the LFP rules on prohibited release clauses you are not allowed to give players release clauses and anyone that is sold via a release clause you are allowed to renegotiate with (provided it doesn’t exceed your wage cap).
Starting XI, 18 man squad, and the overall team depth:
Above is the starting XI I plan on using unless growth changes anything (and obviously if players come into form). Below is the table I used to determine areas of weakness in the team and where I needed to focus my scouts for the January window as we don’t have the first window. LOSC Lille use a 4-4-2 Flat formation so I based my team around that formation.
A few notes:
You’ll notice I have a potential column, this is based purely off whether the squad report says they’re showing great potential etc. with <80 being at the club since, 80-85 showing great potential, 86-90 an exciting prospect and 91+ potential to be special. This doesn’t actually impact my choice on who starts though, just their future value at the club.
You’ll see some positions which are out of place with a red comment triangle in the top right of the cells. They are that player’s preferred position but they have flexibility to play in the position that suits the formation.
I always include nationality as I need to keep to the 6/18 squad players normal rule and also with this career I need 5 of the starting 11 to be French too.
From this table I can summarise each position, I am to have every position covered with a 2 replacements, any extras from there can be loaned out (the spares in blue).
This straightaway shows me areas that I need to fill out first before we start to look at buying players purely to improve the team. The areas it shows are that I need an additional RB, I need to call back one of my CM loans, I need to call back a Wide midfielder that can play on the left from loan, and I need to purchase two additional strikers.
The loans are the easiest so I recall R. Kouame the 68 rated 22 year old CM from Mali and A. Ouattora the 64 rated 19 year old winger that can play either side.
Next I work out the Lille Average Team Rating (Average of the starting XI) which is 78. As far as targets were concerned I was hoping to replace the aging L. Remy so needed to buy a striker who could start regularly for me. I was going to use the 1 player per window that’s higher than the area rating (see rules on this) on the ST which meant I could look for:
78 Team Rating + 2 Max OVR Higher + 2 ST Area Difference = Maximum 82 Rated ST
At this stage I will work out the wage cap for Lille. Currently there are two players on £40k per week (B. Andre & N. Gaitan). This makes the wage cap for season one to be £48,000.
The problem you run into with LOSC Lille however is there relatively small transfer budget. I use Pound Sterling for my career modes, just out of personal preference (not strictly realistic), and LOSC Lille only start with around £12.5 mil. Now with various youth academy upgrades this could dwindle to around £8.5 mil. Realistically I’ll be looking for cheap options such as recruiting through the YA for the third option RB and maybe signing a 2nd ST on a pre-contract to form part of the 2nd team with L. Remy, I’d worry about T. Weahs development as someone showing great potential though.
We can hopefully get some cash for Gaitan and Zekaj, I’ve planned for around £8-9 mil for Gaitan and £450k for zekaj which would bump our spends up to around the £17 mil mark (see Jan transfer window section later)
We either buy a player between 25-29 so we don’t have to pay the larger prices that we’d pay for someone with room to improve, or we buy a younger player <22 years old who won’t be our best striker but will have potential. I’ve listed my targets below (although I’ll still need to find them with my scouting system on FIFA).
Remembering from the rules:
For the player in their prime:
If he was rated 81 or 82 we’d have to offer 1.4x their value.
If he was rated 80 we’d have to offer 1.3x their value.
Less than 80 we’d have to offer 1.1x their value.
For the young player:
We wouldn’t be able to afford a player who’s younger than 22 and 80 or higher so we’d be paying 1.5x their value.
We can realistically say that with a budget of £17mil or so, the player value could be around £12 mil so I’d put a cap on £13mil player value. Another point to consider, Remy is French so if we’re replacing him I need to keep the XI at 5 French players so we must buy French!
These were the top 5 players that fitted that spec. As you can see 4 of them aren’t under 21 and two are awkward because we don’t fully understand their potential but we’re paying the price with a 1.5 multiplier. I’ll run through each player in depth:
L. Ajorque & G. Laborde – I’ve grouped both of these together because they’re practically identical. They are both currently starting XI players for teams in the French league (+10% to price). They are less than the area base average for our ST which would be 80 and are between 25-29 so have +10% added to price for a final multiplier of 1.2. The teams are both worse than ours and we would be offering the players important roles in our team so the move could go through. I am more drawn towards Ajorque because in theory he is likely to accept the £32k per week salary more than Laborde due to his current wage being slightly lower. If I went down this route I could place further finances on the second ST as a young player with potential.
J. Mateta – Looks to be an impressive player however is the most expensive on the list and we don’t have a guarantee on a potential. He will definitely accept the almost doubling of his salary and playing for a starting XI CL side. The problem with this player is that he’s in the German division which is a division we may not scout for a while due to the rules of the career mode regarding scouting.
N. Maupay – A downgraded version of Mateta and unlikely to happen because he would have to take a pay cut to play for us. The sway could be starting XI football in the CL but with no guarantee on his potential I’m probably going to leave this as a fifth choice.
O. Edouard – The only player that truly fits the young with potential spec. He is showing great potential at 21 76 rated. We would have to pay over £16 mil to get him and his wage would be £41k so the highest paid player in our team at 21 years old. Luckily this year Celtic aren’t in the CL otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to sway him. If we bought O.Edouard, we would not be able to buy a young RB externally nor another young ST externally due to the rule of one player in the Winter window between ages 16-21. The problem with this player is that he’s in the Scottish division which is a division we may not scout for a while due to the rules of the career mode regarding scouting.
It’s important to consider as well that these players will likely grow by January and could be worth even more. We’ll need to explore this closer to the time.
I have ideas on targets for the second ST if we don’t recruit from within, see below table: (no write up on these)
Similarly see the possible young RB, I have drawn up a table below however note that this list has been filtered to just the leagues I would have probably scouted fully by the January window. There may be more not mentioned.
When scouting for players you must first complete the default areas with scouting. Your next priority is the AFC countries for the brand exposure. After that complete your neighbouring countries, then Europe, then wherever you like.
As mentioned before, the ideal plan is thwarted by Lille’s budget so this is what we’re settling with for now. We need to fill those three purchases by the end of the season and we will (YA worst case). That’s the focus of the first year and we just hope that the board trusts us to provide us with more money the following Summer.
When setting up the YA you are allowed 8 stars as a CL side so make sure you pick the max up to 8 you can when you first load up the game. In an ideal world I’d go with 3* experience and 5* judgement but I try and avoid reloading and just roll with what I get most of the time.
Then send your best rated (highest judgement) scout to France for 9 months for your official YA then between the other available locations there are 2 neighbouring territories and 3 external territories. I choose Belgium and Ivory Coast first, then Switzerland and Canada, then Belgium and Cameroon. The next season you must start with whichever neighbouring country you only visited once from the previous season; then any of the other parts of the world 3 for the 3rd (unless you failed to qualify for the CL, in which case you must remove any scouts with over 6 stars and can only scout Europe!).
The next thing we can think about before we even begin the season is planning those players whose contracts we want to begin renewing in November. The main focus for me is primarily dealing with those who have 12 months left, but also making sure that our Starting XI have long term deals locked down, and anyone showing great potential or better is also locked down on long term deals keeping their squad role low while they’re young. For LOSC Lille this list looks like:
January Transfer Window Prep/Plan:
Hopefully you’ve found the players you’d hoped for with your scouts, you aren’t allowed to move your scouts location until they’ve fully scouted the default three areas.
Next, in December we need to put R. Droehnle (CB) and A. Zeka (RM) up for loan.
We also need to do a quick review depending on if we’ve promoted any youth players. If we have we may have further short term loans that we need to sort to ensure players don’t stagnate.
After, during December time you should have also transfer listed N. Gaitan & A. Zekaj. Now Zekaj has two years left on his contract and is under 24 so we can hold out without worrying about a pre-contract for 90% of his value. However, Gaitan I think we should accept the first offer that comes in before he signs a pre-contract. Ideally it would be 90% of value but we must accept what we can get at this point.
Feel free to start making offers on the ST you desire at this point, change the balance of your budget because if you sell Gaitan thats around £40k per week off your books.
So now we’re fully prepped to begin the season really. There will be many bumps along the way I’m sure so this plan will go out the window at some point. I have got a plan for where we might be at come Season 2 but I don’t want that in writing until it’s closer to the time.
My goals for Season 1 will be to:
Reach the round of 16 in the CL.
Have what I would call a “full” squad by the end of the season (3 players for each position).
Finish in the top 3 – hard considering at the start of the season LOSC Lille are the 5th rated Ligue 1 team with the lowest transfer budget in the top 5 (you must finish in the top 4 though for your objective).
If I don’t reach these it doesn’t mean I’ve failed the challenge, these are just personal managerial goals.
Now you’ve thought about near enough everything, look towards the overall challenge goals and requirements. In particular the season by season ones.
What are your managerial objectives for the year? Make sure you meet 50% of them.
This is tricky to write up about because it changes from start to start but just apply a few minutes of thought to this.
Typically I think the personal league and CL objective will line up with the manager objectives, may need to reach a certain round in the French domestic cup too. That should cover most if not all of the 50% each season.
Youth Academies will help bring your average age of the squad down quickly
Remember it’s the 18 man lineup at the end of season 3 so setting up the youth academies will help with that massively if they can get into the mid 70s by then.
This is dependent on how quickly you can scout the 3 starting areas. Once they’re done look at using your spare scouts to look at places like Australia and China for a promising player. We’re after someone 21 or younger that’s showing great potential and we want to buy one every season. The first season it’s important to get the scouting done though otherwise we could miss it. Next season we can just sign in Summer based off previous reports.
Keep an eye on the French Players
Make sure you keep the 5 original French players in your starting XI and note the rising stars, if they’re not French they may end up replacing a French player one day. If that’s the case how will you plug the gap? Also it’s worth noting my Starting 18 man squad has 7/18 players being French. I know for example there’s a French CB on loan that would be on the bench if he weren’t out on loan making it 8/18. Pied may start on the bench but is 30 so will likely decline and be replaced the non-French Reinildo so that would be 7/18. Remy has a chance of retiring every year now he’s 33 and in the last year of his contract. That would reduce the starting XI to 4/11 and 18 man to 6/18 so we need that sorting ASAP if that’s the case. Just be aware how easily the numbers can rise and fall as people develop or decline.
And there we have it, that’s the preliminary write up for the LOSC Lille Career. I hope you enjoyed it and have found inspiration to start your own! Document your journey, keep track of the standout players and results. Let me know how you got on via the contact page and I could do a feature article on your career if there’s plenty of material to use. I will slowly begin including progress on my own career.
For next week’s installment please either subscribe to my blog so that you’ll receive a notification on any posts I make, or once it’s posted there will be a link below directly to that page.