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Man Utd: Director’s Cut – Ep 4: Let the rebuild begin!

Finally the full version of the game was released and with it the FM20 editor. This meant that I could make the changes necessary to start my save. The following changes were made:

  • The entire Glazer family were removed, both as owners and board members. Sir Alex Ferguson was appointed as the new chairman. Ed Woodward was also removed from his position as Director of Football.
  • To reflect the Glazer family’s withdrawal from the club I removed all of the club’s funds, setting both bank balance and transfer budget to 0.
  • I made Manchester United into a member-owned club with elections every 3rd year. I also checked the box preventing the club from ever being taken over again.

So, after four introductory posts it’s finally time to actually start playing the game! If you missed the posts leading up to this you can catch up here:
Episode 0 – Prologue
Episode 1 – The referendum
Episode 2 – Meet Roy Keane
Episode 3 – DNA and a transfer strategy

Following yet another unsuccesful season the fans together with Roy Keane took control of the club in early 2019 and quickly proclaimed that big and imminent changes were needed to turn Manchester United’s misfortunes around. The members voted on which players to keep and which to sell, resulting in a list of ten unwanted players. The following players were deemed not worthy of staying at the club for the climb back to the top:

With bottom of the list duo Chris Smalling and Alexis Sánchez out on loan at Roma and Inter Milan eight players remained to be off-loaded before the season started. This fire sale was also the only real opportunity for Roy Keane to bring in a bit cash to the club, a much needed injection to start rebuilding the club. To avoid repeating the mistake his predecessors made of buying players without any real thought behind the signings Roy Keane devised a player rating system and a transfer strategy. The Man Utd DNA rating primarily rewards mental attributes such as Aggression, Bravery, Determination and Teamwork, skills highly valued by Roy Keane, representing the mentality of “true Man utd players”.

Players out – a fire sale

The problem with this particular fire sale, as with most fire sales, was the fact that selling off players in this fashion doesn’t bring in that much money. Firstly, as expected, there weren’t that many clubs interested in the aging overpaid failures of players that mostly made up the group. Secondly, interested clubs didn’t want to pay that much for the players. Therefore, Roy Keane only managed to sell five of the players. Sergio Romero, Fred, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata and Ashley Young left, bringing in a total of £55M, a quite modest sum to start a rebuild with. The rest went out on loan, at least bringing in modest monthly loan fees.

But rebuild he must. Roy Keane is more than displeased with the character of the players that the members voted to keep. This is not a squad to compete for the Premier League title and certainly not one to build a dynasty with. Only Scott McTominay (DNA Rating 17) displays the sort of mental strength Roy Keane wants from each and every player on his team. He’ll need to rebuild slowly but steadily, hopefully achieving the board’s expectation of Champions League qualification in the process.

With the introduction of the DNA rating and a proper transfer strategy things have gotten both a lot easier and a lot harder for Roy Keane and his scouting team. Easier in the sense that there is now a set process to determine if a player is good enough to bring in and it’s based on the philosophy that will lead the club into the future. Harder in the sense that it’s quickly become apparent that not many players meet the high standards set by this new philosophy. At least not players fitting the tiny Man Utd transfer budget. However, Roy Keane is not a man easily discouraged by this type of practical limitation. You simply have to try harder, he told his scouting team as he sent them away to all corners of the world. And after adapting to the new standards required by their manager the scouts started returning with actual reports of players to sign.

Players in – a bit of old and a bit of not so old…

Three players were found to be both good enough and cheap enough to sign;

£10M from Juventus. DNA Rating 16.

The first player to come in is a player with amazing mental strength. 20s in Aggression, Bravery, Determination and Teamwork, this is exactly the sort of player needed to lead the team! It might seem odd to start a rebuild by signing a 33 year old player, but Roy Keane needs experience and the team needs a captain to guide them forward. Both Keane and the fans hope and believe that “Super Mario” Mandzukic will have a positive influence on the younger players with his Perfectionist personality and at the same time be a force to be reckoned with on the pitch. he’ll play an important part for at least a season or two until the rebuild has gotten a bit further.

£25M from Celtic. DNA Rating 15.

Norwegian international Kristoffer Ajer is a lot younger but also displays great mental strength, which is reflected in a DNA Rating of 15 and a Driven personality. He will primarily be used as a central defender, but can also play in central midfield if needed.

£14M from Inter Milan. DNA Rating 15.

The third and final player brought in is of course also in line with the new strategy. With 16+15+18 in the three Core skills Bravery, Determination and Teamwork Roberto Gagliardini has the potential to become one of Roy Keane’s new favourite players. He is versatile with both offensive and defensive strengths, but is initially going to act as a back-up to Pogba and McTominay in central midfield.

The squad

With ten players leaving the club either on permanent deals or loans and only three players coming in, there were of course a few holes to fill. Roy Keane didn’t find any back-up keeper, which is a bit of a worry, so we’ll just have to cross our fingers that De Gea stays fit and healthy! There is also an open spot for a fullback, but for now he’ll manage with Shaw and Wan-Bissaka starting and Dalot as a backup for both of them. With the acquisitions of Gagliardini and Ajer depth in central defense and central midfield is at least decent and upfront it actually looks quite exciting with Mario Mandzukic surrounded by a bunch of young talents. Mason Greenwood was already a permanent member of the first team squad, but he is now accompanied by Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong who were promoted from the reserves. Roy Keane is satisfied with the three players brought in as they all have the Man Utd DNA combined with good enough playing skills to contribute to the team. The squad is still lacking both in quality and depth, but this is a start at least.

Finally, a little message from our sponsors the board

As Roy Keane is about to prepare the team for this pivotal season of rebuilding, a little message appears in the mailbox. From now on the club will need to pay £5.25M per month towards two loans. Well, this isn’t exactly what the club needed. Actually it’s far from it. With rich American owners in charge perhaps this wouldn’t have been such a big deal. But now, with a completely empty treasure chest Man Utd will immediately go in debt and will continue to sink deeper and deeper into debt as the months pass by. This will of course add more difficulty to the challenge. Luckily Roy Keane is a man who loves challenges. Bring on the first season already!

This turned out longer than I planned, therefore I’ll end it here. In the next episode we’ll look at how good or bad Roy Keane has managed to lead his merry band of misfits through the first half of the 2019/20 season. Does he still have a job? How many managers, players and journalists has he pissed off? How many tantrums has he thrown? How much debt can one club handle? So many questions waiting for an answer! Until then, “take that you cunt!”

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