Girona FC – S5,0 – Signing a Striker with Ethos and Data.

FM22 Analytics, tactics and soccernomics

We finished season 4 with Girona FC having three main strikers and all did well in our new system, which enabled us to finish the season strongly and clinch 6th position which saw us qualify for the Europa League.

The only issue is that all 3 strikers were on loan. We have options to buy on all 3 loans, however there’s only 1 I’ll be taking advantage of, and that’s Kalimuendo.

Although I had a options fee of £4m, I put in a cheeky offer of £2.5m which was accepted.

The PSG players is perfect for our Deep Lying Forward role, and we already have a backup for that position at the club in Slobodan Tedic, who can also play as a Target Man.

The other role, and the one I’m attempting to fill here, is the Advanced Forward.

From looking at the players we’ve scouted and have a decent knowledge of I’ve put them through the following selection criteria:

  • Minimum finishing – 14
  • Minimum pace – 13
  • Can we afford them? (with either up front or in instalments)
  • Can we meet their wage demands?
  • Will they join us?
  • Can they play as an advanced forward for us, in La Liga?

This left me with a shortlist of 17 players.

Of course, we have our own Girona Ethos which players need to adhere to. For those unaware you can catch up here but essentially we want players who have a good physical profile and have the necessary intelligence.

Here’s how the 17 shortlisted players stack up for the attributes which make up our Ethos, measured against the average for strikers in La Liga:

The red means they are below the La Liga average for strikers, and green means they are above it.

This now helps me refine the list down further and you’ll notice there’s only 3 of the 17 who fit our Ethos perfectly: Araujo, Bonazzoli and Vanzier.

HOWEVER, just because they don’t exactly meet our requirements exactly, it doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be a good signing for us. For example, look at Guillemenot – He may not be as strong as we’d like but he excels in lots of other areas, having excellent mentals and above average technique.

After going through each player I’m able to cut the list down to 9.

Let’s next set out what we’re looking for from our advanced forward:

We play with pass into space selected so they need to have the awareness and acceleration to be able to lead the line and find the right areas to get on the end of through balls from the two creative midfielders and both wingbacks.

When in the final third we want them to be able to find some space when the area is crowded with players and also be able to be a threat aerially, as strike partner Kalimuendo isn’t good in the air.

Here’s the stats for the 9 remaining players:

Immediately, we can rule two players out:

Evann Guessand has hardly played so the stats we’re looking at aren’t statistically significant, and Federico Bonazzoli may have scored 14 goals in 36 appearances, but he did so in Serie B which ranks 30th in the league coefficient – significantly behind La Liga (2nd) and all others we’re looking at.

With the list now down to 7, let’s be reminded we’re now looking for 2 things:

  • an efficient scorer (as our shots per game stats are only just above league average)
  • an aerial threat (they don’t need to be an out and out target man, but we do want around a 50% header win rate if possible.

We’ve clearly got 3 who don’t fit in with the ability to be an aerial threat so we can now remove Berisha, Guillemenot and Vanzier. I will keep Vanzier in mind though, as he’ll made a great DLF.

So we know they can win headers a reasonable amount of the time, it’s now about the scoring efficiency.

All players are playing at a good level and the three European-based players all played in European competitions last season. Araujo played 1 game in the Champions League and scored a goal, Esposito made 9 Champions League appearances and scored 4 goals and Kadeware notched up 4 goals in 10 Europa League games.

Although Araujo was the only one of the remaining list to match all the Girona Ethos, has the best goals per 90 (0.85) and wins the most headers (57%), I can’t look past Esposito scoring 13 goals in Serie A last season and winning a starting position for Inter.

Alerrandro is having a great season in Brazil, but he’s doubling his xG which sets small alarm bells ringing, even though he’s on target to beat his output from last season’s 15 goals in 37 games.

Kadewere has a fantastic shots on target ration at 63% but he hasn’t scored more than 10 goals in a top division in his career and he’s now 29 years old – so I don’t think he’s the option.


1 – Esposito
2 – Araujo
3 – Alerrandro
4 – Kadewere

After completing this I noticed that Red Bull Bragantino were playing Santos in a couple of days so I watched the game to check him out. Despite playing as a Deep Lying Forward, rather than an Advanced Forward, and Santos dominating the game, he notched up 2 goals in a 3-3 draw.

The first showed good strikers instinct to get in front of his defender to knock in a low cross and the second – almost as if he’d been reading this as I was typing it – was a very powerful header where he rose way above his defender. He certainly game me food for thought.

The signing:

Our main priority, is Esposito. He’s managed to get himself into the starting line up at Inter towards the end of the season, and scored 4 Champions League Goals.

However, he’s valued between £8.5m-£10.5m… and I only have £6.5m left… and I want to bring in a starting left wingback… so unless Inter are willing to deal with instalments I’m going to be struggling…

We have a new striker!!

Inter were willing to accept £2.5m up front and the rest in instalments and performance related bonuses, totalling £9.5m

In terms of how he fits the Ethos, the only area he falls down on is the bravery, in which he has 10 versus the La Liga striker average of 12… and to be honest, I can live with that.

What next?

I have £2.4m remaining in the transfer kitty. As mentioned earlier, I want to sign a starting left wingback. Anything other than that will depend on players leaving to raise funds.

There’s a few teams sniffing around a few players so it could be a busy pre-season as we prepare for the Europa League.

Thanks for reading.

Girona FC – S4,4: Season Review & Planning for Europe

FM22 Analytics, tactics and soccernomics

We had a good season!! After finishing 9th and then 8th the last two seasons, we managed to make the leap up to a 6th placed finish and now have the rather daunting prospect of European football next season to look forward to.

How did we make the leap of 13 extra points whilst spending only £2.7m?

Continue reading “Girona FC – S4,4: Season Review & Planning for Europe”

Girona FC – S4,3: End of season 4. Cracked it!

FM22 Analytics, tactics and soccernomics

We left the last update occupying 7th place, 5 points ahead of Athletic Bilbao with 3 months to go.

Our defence was solid but we were struggling up front since the departure of Ganago. As a result our form was a bit up and down.

We needed to find some goalscoring form if we were going to hang on to 7th place.

Continue reading “Girona FC – S4,3: End of season 4. Cracked it!”

Girona FC – S4,2: January transfer window frustrations.

FM22 Analytics, tactics and soccernomics

After 11 games in the 2024/25 season we were sitting in 7th position after a rocky start. Level on point with 5th place our dreams of European football were still alive. Surprisingly, Granada were riding high and 5 points clear at the top.

Despite things looking up, we have the impending departure of our best striker, Ignatius Ganago, hanging over us like the sword of Damocles.

Would our newly tweaked 3-5-2 keep us in contention to the January transfer window and beyond?

Continue reading “Girona FC – S4,2: January transfer window frustrations.”

Girona FC – S4,1: Tactics, signings and a good start.

FM22 Analytics, tactics and soccernomics

After finishing 9th and then 8th in La Liga we’re desperate to make the next step and qualify for European football. In fact, if we don’t do it this time I’ll see it as nothing but adject failure.

The only issue is I have no transfer budget and we have the lowest wage budget in the division.

Here we go.

Continue reading “Girona FC – S4,1: Tactics, signings and a good start.”

Girona FC – S3,4: Season 3 Review & Squad Analysis

FM22 Analytics, tactics and soccernomics

In season 3 we missed out on a European place by 1 spot. I now need to figure out a way to get us to the next level on what will be a small, or non-existence transfer budget (depends how the Stengs situation turns out).

Here I’m going to dissect the first team squad and have a look at what youth can break into the first team set up. Hopefully this will show who the team needs building around and who can move on, and potentially raise transfer funds in the process.

Here we go…

Continue reading “Girona FC – S3,4: Season 3 Review & Squad Analysis”