The pre-release news cycle for Football Manager 2024 has started with a bang, as Sports Interactive has announced details regarding smarter transfers, squad building, and finances in this year’s game that all point to the game being harder to dominate than previous versions.
If that sounds rather all-encompassing that’s because Football Manager is the deepest game out there. You’re not running around on a pitch like EA FC or eFootball. You’re in the dugout making key decisions and running the show when it comes to transfer windows, contracts, and youth recruitment. So what does Sports Interactive have for us this year when it comes to the competitive world around you?
Smarter AI opponents
FM saves can occasionally be ruined by your AI opponents making some bone-headed decisions. We’ve seen Man City sign Jarrod Bowen and countless AI teams bungle the goalkeeper position.
For a game that so deeply immerses you in its world, things like this can be a frustration. Well, no more as Sports Interactive has done a lot of work under the hood to improve AI transfer decision-making.
This will better reflect both the wider global trends (hello Saudi Arabia) as well as teams building their squad with a clear identity and style.
AI Managers are now better geared up to recognise imbalances in their squad make-up and will take their tactical style into consideration much more when shortlisting players. In essence, this means that they’ll look to fill Attribute gaps in their squad. So, a manager using a Gegenpress approach will look specifically for midfielders with high Stamina and Work Rate Attributes if they determine that their squad is missing such a player.
This improved logic could also see the AI offload players that don’t fit the new manager’s style and may well open up the transfer possibilities as the managerial merry-go-round takes off in the summer.
Developing wonderkids is always high on the list of priorities for FM players. After all, it’s the only way to take the likes of BATE Borisov to Champions League glory.
It looks like your opposition is going to get better in that regard too. SI is making its AI managers consider player development. Thus handing more bench spots and comfortable minutes to youth players with the aim of having them hit their potential.
There is also a bit more dynamism in the way players develop. This will include those early developing stars like Bukayo Saka and Marcus Rashford that explode onto the scene at a young age, but also ‘Late Developers’ that might not break through until later. Think Jamie Vardy or Olivier Giroud.
Balancing your own budget can be tough enough, without considering a virtual one too. This part of the game has always been rather opaque and often taken care of itself, but now you will have to seriously consider transfer debt and balancing the books.
In FM24 you will be able to go into a negative transfer budget, at which point the board will give you a deadline to fix the matter before they step in and start selling clauses or even players. So if you want to avoid your board selling off your top star or budding wonderkid then keep a keen eye on your transfer balance!!
Financial fair play & dynamic income
FFP has come under wider scrutiny recently with Chelsea’s mega spending-spree and long contracts. It’s often been hard to breach FFP in Football Manager, as the game will usually sprout an extra sponsorship deal for you.
But if you make a breach this time there are sanctions in place to hurt you. This will include squad size and transfer restrictions, along with fines and competition income being withheld!
There will also be a greater sense of dynamism to your income flow, with changing competition prize percentages, new TV deals, and of course a greater impact from making the semi-pro to pro switch!