Girona FC – FM22 Analysis, tactics & soccernomics
Quick financial overview
You might remember from the first post in this series that there’s no money tree in Girona, but in case you don’t, here’s the team’s transfer dealings since being relegated back to La Liga 2:
With a net player trading amount of over £28m you’d think there’d be plenty of money in the bank, however that’s not the case. We have a starting balance of £5 million but are predicted make a loss of £12 million this season and to be £34 million in the red by the end of the 2023/24 season.
Where do the problems lie?
I’m no expert in finances, especially when it comes to football clubs, but I imagine this is due to:
- some high wage, high bonus contracts remaining from the La Liga days,
- paying off the contracts of the three managers who’ve been sacked since Machin’s departure,
- The small capacity of the Montilivi stadium (11,200)
How do we turn this around?
Luckily, we have no loans so there’s no debt to pay off which means all money we generate goes straight back into the club.
Clearly, the main way to make a lot of money is to get promoted to La Liga and take part in European competition. The problem is that playing in La Liga is a minimum of 12 months away, and European football is at least 24 months away (and more realistically at least 36 months away) so what can we do in the meantime?
- Increase the commercial revenue of the club
- Not overspend on staff
- Implement a player wage structure
Let’s look through these three in order.
We can try to increase the commercial value of the club by winning games and playing attractive football to increase gate receipts and sponsorship. We can also make a point of signing high profile players and staff and if possible, signing players from markets which can bring a financial boost, the example below shows a player from East Asia.
Not overspending on staff is easier said than done. We all want the best coaches, physios, and scouts but to achieve that we often need to terminate the contracts of those already in place which can be costly. I’m sure we’ve all cleared out our coaching and scouting teams without realising we’ve probably spent over £1 million in doing so. We’ll have to be more patient when it comes to building our backroom staff and be very selective over who we get rid of.
Our U19 squad only consists of THREE players at the start of the game so I can keep staff down there at a bare minimum for the first season.
Implementing a wage structure
This is the area I’m most excited about. Although wage structures aren’t part of the game there’s nothing stopping us implementing our own and it ties in very nicely with my previous post about assigning role values.
I’ve been doing this, when needed, for a few years now after reading an article on guidetofm but it’s something that really helps when money is tight.
By taking our weekly wage budget and breaking it down into a 30%/30%/30%/10% split we can assign a total wage budget for each of the areas which make up our squad:
Star/important players, Regular starters, Backups/squad players and Youth.
I try to stick to a squad of 22 players – that should be enough to get us through the season and allow for plenty of rotation. In the name of good squad harmony and balance, I don’t think ANY team needs more than 4 (or 5 in special circumstances) star players. This then leaves the rest of the squad made up of 8 or 9 regular starters, and around 10 squad players & breakthrough prospects.
We now have the following:
Goalkeepers & Defenders
We only have one player here earning more that they should, which is our best central defender, Juanpe. He only has 12 months left on his contract and I expect he’ll want to be considered a star player – which he is. I’m hoping that because he’s now 30-years-old he’ll not be as demanding with his wage requirements and I’ll be able to lock him up for a couple of years within the wage structure.
We also have a slight issue as Bernardo is listed as a Star Player, when realistically I don’t quite see him as that. Luckily, the season hasn’t started yet and I’m not planning on upsetting people so early, especially a team leader, so he can stay as a Star and see how the season plays out. He’s 32 and when I come to renegotiate his contract at the end of this season, I imagine he’ll be willing to reduce his playing time and wage requirements.
Midfield & attack
Here’s where we have proper issues and as you can see, lots of players earning more money than they should be and we’ll need to control the situation carefully.
Bustos immediately jumps out. He’s on £25k per week which is a staggering £16,750k more a week than he should be, as a regular starter (£8,250). That’s over £800k a year more than our wage structure says he should earn. Luckily, he’s on loan from Man City so if he doesn’t impress in his role as a starter I’ll try to terminate his loan in January, and if he does particularly well he can stay until the end of the season and I can try to get him back on loan on more agreeable terms.
We’ve already discussed Juanpe, so next up is Saiz. His role as the attacking midfielder in our system says he should be a star player so I’m not concerned by his salary as it’s still under the Star player cap, which means I can amend his status when the time is right.
Moving on to Stuani is where I glance over at our Director of Football Quique Carcel (more on him later) and shake my head.
Don’t get me wrong, Stuani has been a great striker for Girona – 79 goals in 126 games – but firstly, who’d give a four-year contract to a 34-year-old, and secondly at £27,500 per year when you’ve spent the last couple of seasons in La Liga 2?
Out of respect for the Uruguayan, and because I think he’s going to be a 15-20 goal striker for us – which could get us promoted – I’m going to let his contract ride for this season but will have a difficult decision to make at the end of the season (when his attributes have started to decline).
Sarmiento and Moreno are both loan players, neither of which will get much playing time so Moreno will be one I’m looking to terminate as soon as possible if the loan agreement allows. £22.5k per week for a squad player is craziness.
Jairo we already know will not have his contract renewed as he failed both Gates of the team ethos. I’m still looking forward to seeing him play when he gets an opportunity though as he’s a player I like in real life…. But business is business.
Unless your finances are in a dire state it’s not worth forcing your team into a wage structure immediately. Our is in a bad way – we’re already over our wage budget and I have to offer important players new contracts before they expire so measures will need to be taken, but at least I now have a plan of which players already in the squad I need to pay attention do and it can happen organically where necessary.
New recruits, however, will have to fit within the structure.
Which brings us nicely to…
The recruitment policy
Meet the Director of Football
Anyone who’s watched the first series of the excellent Prime Video series, Six Dreams, will remember Quique well. The likeable DoF who had the job of trying to persuade Pablo Machin to renew his contract as Manager, despite them both knowing Girona couldn’t offer him anywhere near what the larger clubs could, who were showing an interest.
Being at the club since 2014, the 47-year-old clearly lives and breathes Girona FC so, although his attributes aren’t quite as high as we’d want, we’re going to stick with him and give him another chance at his La Liga dream.
Any Six Dreams fans would also remember that he was the man in charge of signing players who’d been identified as targets by Pablo Machin. So, that’s exactly how we’re going to do things (which is another first for me, and to be honest I’m terrified!).
I’ll identify players who meet our team ethos and put them in a priority list, per position, with a maximum transfer fee for Quique to go out and pursue. Most importantly, I can set the agreed playing time and maximum wage, so no matter if Quique manages to sign our first, second or third priority we know it’ll be within our wage structure.
Due to the limitations of FM, however, I can’t control the details of the contract, so I’ll have to trust him not to add in ridiculous clauses and bonuses. I think I’ll set up the option to finalise any deals as I’m getting mild heart palpitations just thinking about it!
Speaking of transfers, we currently only have enough scouting budget to look at players in Spain, but looking at where Girona lies geographically, you’ll notice that other than the other Catalan teams, Barcelona and Espanyol, the nearest teams are actually in France, with Toulouse, Montpellier, Marseille and even Bordeaux all being closer than a majority of La Liga teams. Therefore, we’ll be paying a keen interest in French players and hoping we can persuade some to make the short trip south of the border.
So there we have it, a long post (apologies) which covers the current financial status of the team, how we’re going to implement a wage structure to keep the finances in check and finally, how we’re going to use our analysts, scouts and the Director of Football to ensure we sign the players we want on wages within our wage structure.
Hope you’ve enjoyed this post as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.
Give me a follow on twitter (@fm_throwing) and let me know what you think.