In this week’s Backpage, football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross looks at the big moves in January and how they could affect FIFA 12 when the update is released…
I can’t wait for it.
By which I mean I literally can’t wait for it – I’ve been busy doing the transfers for myself using the change squads/rosters option in the Customise FIFA menu since the window closed on January 31.
Yes, yes… I know that makes me a bit of a geek but the good news for you is that I can now tell you how I think some of the most popular teams will be affected in online play – positively or negatively – while at the same time shouting about any transfers that you might have missed.
Not that there were loads. Prem clubs spent just under £60 million this year, far less than the £225 million from January 2011, but if you think that was disappointing wait until we cover the moves (or lack of them) from Europe’s other big leagues.
Anyway, that’s enough waffling. Let’s start with the Prem, which we’ll look at club by club…
Gunners fans are all chuffed about the arrival of Thierry Henry in the real world, and FIFA players who use Arsenal should be a bit happier too – he’s a good option next to RVP. New York Red Bulls fans may not be so pleased though, as Henry’s departure means they now become a 3 star club instead of a 3.5 star. Gunners fans who like pace in their FIFA teams may be gutted winger Ryo Miyaichi has gone to Bolton.
Villa have got weaker in FIFA terms, rather than stronger, in my opinion. Nathan Delfouneso – a quick striker who I really like – has joined Leicester on loan and I’m not sure new boy Robbie Keane brings anything they don’t already have in-game. Fabian Delph, who has gone to Leeds on loan, is another loss in my opinion.
Not a great deal to report here. Andrews, Roberts and Nelsen have all left the club, with forward Anthony Modeste, midfielder/forward Marcus Olsson and right-back Bradley Orr coming in. They’re not really any stronger or any weaker in FIFA terms.
Some interesting ‘ins’ at Bolton. Watford striker Marvin Sordell can be a handful in FIFA with his pace, defender Tim Ream is quicker than Gary Cahill, and Arsenal’s Ryo Miyaichi really adds velocity – he’s got 95 for Acceleration and 94 for Sprint Speed. Could be worth looking at if you’re after a new team to use online.
Gary Cahill is a significant real-world signing but you may not want to use him in place of David Luiz or John Terry – both are better in-game in my opinion. Attacking midfielder Kevin de Bruyne won’t be in the squad yet as he’s staying with Genk, and Blues players will also miss Alex and Nico Anelka, who have gone to PSG and Shanghai Shenhua respectively.
I think Everton did some great business in January, and FIFA 12 agrees – they jump to a 4.5 star club following the arrivals of Landon Donovan, Darron Gibson, Nikica Jelavic and Steven Pienaar. Louis Saha has gone to Tottenham and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov has left for Spartak Moscow, but The Toffees will be happy with their January business.
The Cottagers briefly jumped to a 4.5 star club when I moved striker Pavel Pogrebnyak into the team, then dropped back down to 4 stars again when I switched Bobby Zamora to QPR. I think this switch does make them a little weaker in FIFA terms, as Pav is slower and less responsive than Bobby.
Nothing to report here. Move along please…
Midfielder David Pizarro – who came in from Roma – has good Vision and Passing stats but he probably won’t get in your City starting line-up, he doesn’t make mine. Defenders Wayne Bridge (Sunderland) and Nedum Onuoha (QPR) are the biggest names to go out, but that won’t affect your line-up either.
Paul Scholes is back, but you already knew that. Federico Macheda and Ravel Morrison are the names to tell you about that have left the club but, again, they wouldn’t have been in your strongest United XI anyway. More on Morrison in a bit though…
The Magpies only bought one player in the window, but it was a great bit of business. Striker Papiss Demba Cisse instantly becomes their highest-rated player with an Overall of 81, but the stat that really stands out for him is his Finishing ability of 87. When Demba Ba gets the boost he deserves, Newcastle could be a very popular H2H Seasons choice.
The Canaries signed midfielder Jonny Howson from Leeds and defender Ryan Bennett from Peterborough. Bennett’s move dropped The Posh from 2.5 to a lowly 2 stars – very poor for a Championship club. Howson probably won’t get in your team, as Hoolahan is still the best bet at CAM, but Bennett adds some much-needed pace to the back four.
QPR made six signings in January, which has nudged them up from 3.5 to 4 stars. Strikers Federico Macheda, Bobby Zamora and Djibril Cisse give QPR players plenty of options up front. Cisse, with 89 Acceleration, 90 Sprint Speed and 87 Finishing, should go straight into the team. Defender Nedum Onuoha can play anywhere across the back four – I use him at centre-back – and Tom Taiwo is a left-back with tons of pace, a rocket shot and lethal free-kicks. Holding midfielder Samba Diakite doesn’t make my starting line-up.
A ton of fringe players left Stoke and they signed no-one, so nothing has changed here.
Defenders Wayne Bridge and Sotirios Kyrgiakos don’t change The Black Cats rating and may not make your starting line-up – neither is in mine. I prefer Kieran Richardson at left-back with Brown and Bramble in the middle.
If Swansea’s ratings stay the same then midfielder Josh McEachran, who’s come in on loan from Chelsea, will make your line-up, but I’d expect both Joe Allen and Leon Britton to get small boosts in the update, following their good form this season. No real departures to tell you about.
Striker Louis Saha and defender Ryan Nelsen came in from Everton and Blackburn, while Andros Townsend, Sebastien Bassong, Vedran Corluka and Steven Pienaar all left the club, but I don’t think any of that will change the way most Spurs FIFA players set up their teams.
The Baggies signed defender Liam Ridgewell and midfielder Keith Andrews, but the big win for them – and West Brom FIFA players – was hanging on to striker Peter Odemwingie.
Winger Jean Beausejour joined Wigan from Birmingham and he’s a good player. Personally I like Crusat on the left for Wigan because of his speed and balance, but Beausejour can also play in the centre.
Midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong and defender Sebastien Bassong make a difference to Wolves. Bassong is a good partner for Roger Johnson, and Frimpong is a better option than Karl Henry in holding midfield.
So that sums up the Premier League.
Elsewhere in England, West Ham are worth a look in The Championship after adding some quality in January. Maynard and Vaz Te are decent strikers at that level in FIFA, and I’d expect creative midfielder Ravel Morrison to get a bit of a bump from the FIFA 12 stats people – he’s only a 57 right now.
In Spain, pretty much nothing happened. Espanyol could be worth a look after picking up the excellent Philippe Coutinho from Inter, along with Uche and Sanchez from Xamax, and Sevilla signed Jose Antonio Reyes, but that is about it.
Over in Serie A, Gilardino left Fiorentina to join Genoa, and the Viola replaced him with Amauri from Juventus. Erm, that’s about as exciting as it gets. Sorry.
Things livened up in Germany thanks to Wolfsburg, who went transfer crazy and signed eight players at a cost of around £18 million. The most popular German teams online – Dortmund and Bayern – didn’t do anything significant though. Booooo!
French club PSG made some excellent signings, bringing in Alex from Chelsea, Maxwell from Barça and Motta from Inter. All three should make your starting line-up for PSG, who stay on 4.5 stars. Not much else happened in Ligue 1.
Okay, that’s all from me for this week.
Add me on Twitter @Darren_Cross and I’ll let you know when I hear an exact date for the update. Of course, you could just update all the moves yourself – like I have– but then you’ve probably got other stuff to do, right?
See you next week.
READ PREVIOUS BACKPAGE ARTICLES:
Football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross returns with more top FIFA 12 prospects for you to sign up!
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