Football Manager 2017:
From the latest features to the best free signings
Developed by Sports Interactive and published by Sega, Football Manager 2017 is the 13th edition of the series. Long considered the ultimate sports strategy simulator, the developers have left no stone unturned in their quest for realism – from referees’ magic spray to Brexit, it’s all here in the game.
Here’s a rundown of FM17’s best new features, as well as some tips to help you turn your hometown Vanarama National League South team into Champions League winners.
An improved 3D match engine
One of the themes of recent editions has been the addition of live in-game match play with 3D visuals. In FM17, there’s a new low camera angle from behind the goal, which allows you to get up close and personal with all the penalty-box scrambles. This is also a great way of seeing how your team is maintaining its shape across the pitch.
The 3D match engine also has 1,500 new motion-captured elements, meaning goalkeepers are now capable of pulling off spectacular saves, and players can head the ball or shoot in a much more intuitive manner by taking into account the flight of the ball.
Two seasons ago, referees across all of Europe’s major leagues adopted magic spray to mark out where the ball and wall must be placed in free-kick scenarios, following its success during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Now, this relatively minor feature makes its way onto the game, demonstrating Football Manager’s painstaking quest for realism.
New law changes
Ahead of the 2016/2017 season, some new changes to football’s laws were made, and these have been included in FM17. This includes the new kick-off, where one player can start the game by himself, and a foul committed by the last man denying a goalscoring opportunity will not bring an automatic red card.
Though many predicted the result of June 23rd’s referendum to have consequences reaching far and wide, few expected it to have an impact on football management simulations such as FM17. However, given Football Manager’s hugely international nature, both in the context of the game and its production, the question of how Brexit will shape the future of British football is one that needs an answer.
In a LinkedIn post, Sports Interactive’s Miles Jacobson explained how Britain’s departure from the European Union could mean the introduction of work permits for players from the EU. “Football-wise, whilst not directly affecting us, the work permit system would come into place for EU nations.”
FM17 players will be alerted at some point between two and ten years into the game that trade negotiations have begun, and then one of three possible scenarios will play itself out. Jacobson explains:
“The first is a soft Brexit option, which allows for freedom of movement of workers inside the EU. The second option allows for freedom of movement for footballers, which is similar to the special exception in place for entertainers, whereby it is easier for them to obtain work permits than other people. The third option, hard Brexit, moves EU players into the same work permit situation that non-EU players face at the moment, and that is a points-based system based on the salary and transfer fee”.
In terms of what he has to offer budding managers, Dimitar Berbatov is arguably the pick of the bunch of free agents. What the Bulgarian magician lacks in physical prowess, he more than makes up for in technical ability, with a maximum 20 rating for his first touch and a 16 for his finishing. He’s not just great at scoring goals, as this clip shows:
Unwanted by clubs this summer following a disappointing spell with Crystal Palace, though he’s 32, Emmanuel Adebayor still has a lot to offer Premier League sides. With strong ratings for physical attributes such as heading and finishing, he’s more than capable of grabbing some vital goals.
Antonio Di Natale
Now 38 and injury-prone, the Udinese legend won’t play many games and has absolutely no sell-on value, but he still has the ability to grab crucial late goals from off the bench. The former Italy international could prove to be the difference between survival and relegation or securing promotion if you take a punt on him.
The former French international is now 34, but managers of Premier League clubs towards the bottom of the table could do worse than seek out Mexes’ experience in Serie A and the Champions League for AC Milan. He is still rated between 15-20 for most of the key defensive attributes, and even has the odd overhead kick in his locker.
At 36, Barcelona and Brazil legend Ronaldinho may be getting on a bit, and he’s been without a club since having his contract with Fluminense mutually terminated in September 2015. Very much a short-term fix, his technical stats alone suggest he’s still capable of moments of greatness.