The world’s most realistic soccer management sim released its latest update in the fall of 2020 to huge acclaim. Hundreds of thousands of soccer fans across the globe are disciples of the Football Manager franchise which is developed by UK-based Sports Interactive. Football Manager 2021 was launched on desktop PC, mobile and the Xbox, with the latter accepting the game for the first time since 2007.
There is a reason why Games Radar has described this version as the “most accomplished entry in years”. Sports Interactive have successfully rebooted the match engine and improved the user interface to make the game more accessible than ever before.
Whether you’re a FM devotee or a first-time FM player, it’s always important to vary your managerial saves on Football Manager. That’s why we’ve put together five of the best and quirkiest challenges in this year’s version for you to get your teeth stuck into.
Beat Phil Neville to the Inter Miami managerial post
Inter Miami were only established in January 2018, but already they have made their mark firmly on the Major League Soccer (MLS) scene in the US. Historically, the American women’s soccer team was more popular than the men’s team, but the MLS has helped enhance the profile of men’s soccer stateside. Last year was Inter Miami’s debut season in the MLS and the Herons eventually finished tenth in the Eastern Conference, above Chicago Fire and Atlanta United. The exciting aspect about this managerial project is that the franchise is part-owned by former England icon David Beckham. You can be sure of significant funds to improve the squad and who wouldn’t love the chance to build an American dynasty with Becks himself?
There’s already plenty of proven talent in the Herons’ roster too, with Argentine striker Gonzalo Higuain the marquee name in the front line. However, in real life, Inter Miami are seventh favorites for the 2021 MLS Cup with US sports betting operator FOX Bet, who’ve priced the Herons at +1000 behind the likes of Los Angeles FC, Seattle Sounders and Toronto FC.
Can you keep Wycombe Wanderers in the EFL Championship?
For decades, Wycombe Wanderers have flitted between non-league and the bottom tier of professional English football. In recent years, the Chairboys have risen through the pyramid and secured promotion from League One to the EFL Championship in 2019/20. The squad is greater than the sum of its parts, which means you will need to cultivate a great team spirit and avoid player fallouts. Despite a recent takeover by new American owners, there will be a limited budget to wheel and deal in the transfer market, with loans from the EPL teams likely to be the best route to squad strengthening. If you can fire up powerhouse veteran striker Adebayo Akinfenwa, he could prove an awkward customer for most Championship backlines.
Rebuild Bolton Wanderers in EFL League Two
It’s been something of a fall from grace for Lancashire side Bolton Wanderers, who have fallen into the depths of EFL’s League Two – the fourth tier of English football. Long gone are the days of Jay Jay Okocha, Youri Djorkaeff and Ivan Campo. Following a spate of disastrous owners, the club is looking to bottom out at League Two level and bounce back rapidly. Could you be the man to restore pride in the Trotters once again? You’ll have very little transfer budget to play with, but your attendances should ensure that you have a huge wage budget at League Two level.
Build a Basque dynasty with Athletic Bilbao in La Liga
This particular challenge is one of the most popular among seasoned FM players. Athletic Bilbao operate in Spain’s La Liga, which is their top division. Bilbao is in the heart of Spain’s Basque country. The club has adopted its own unique transfer rules whereby managers are prohibited from using non-Basque players. Although you will not be able to recruit from overseas, or indeed anywhere else outside of the Basque region, it’s a great chance to utilise Bilbao’s academy and develop homegrown prospects that you can sell on for big bucks in the future to sustain the club financially.
Restore Bundesliga status to former European Cup winners Hamburg
For a generation of Hamburg fans, the mere thought of their team operating outside of Germany’s Bundesliga would be enough for them to blow a gasket. Unfortunately, that was the case in 2017/18 when they were relegated to 2. Bundesliga for the first time. They’ve not yet managed to return to the Bundesliga after two seasons of trying. As one of Germany’s oldest and proudest clubs, their very presence in 2. Bundesliga makes them a scalp for each opponent week in, week out. It takes a strong manager to handle the weight of expectation and deliver. Do you have what it takes?