In part one of this week’s Backpage, football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross reveals ten stars you’ll want to check out in FIFA 13’s Career Mode…
Last year I wrote a FIFA 12 Career Mode article for The Backpage called 'Five Young Players You Must Sign'. To date it's the most popular column I've ever written - thanks for that by the way - so when I was thinking of what to write about first following FIFA 13's full release, it was a bit of a no-brainier to go for a new list.
Only this time that list is bigger, much bigger.
Over the next two weeks we're going to look at twenty players that I highly recommend signing for your Career Mode team. Like last year's column many of them are young stars with great growth potential, but I've also included slightly older players that you can pick up for a bargain, as well the odd one here and there that you can buy, develop and sell just to make a bit of money.
Whether you're playing as a small club with a tiny budget or a Prem giant with millions to spend, I’m sure you'll find players here that prove to be worth getting.
I should point out that all of the stats you’ll see below are from a Career Mode using the latest squad download, since I’m assuming that’s what most of you will do when you start a new campaign. You’ll get slightly different numbers for some of the players here if you’re using Default squads, but I still absolutely recommend signing them.
Right, that's enough of me waffling. Let's move on to the good stuff...
Actual Cost: £13m
If you only sign one player from this list, make sure it’s Luis Muriel. In my first Career Mode save in FIFA 13 I bought him for £13 million in season one and sold him for £35 million to PSG in season three. His stats improve very quickly, but with initial numbers like 90 for Acceleration, 92 for Sprint Speed, 88 for Dribbling and 80 for Finishing, you can chuck him in right from the start for almost any team and he’ll do the business.
Actual Cost: £9m
Italy centre-back Ogbonna is one of my favourite defenders in the game because he’s strong, quick and improves rapidly. I have him in season three of my PSG save and he’s flying, with very big gains in the speed department. You’ll have to pay a bit more than he’s worth to sign him straight away, but he’ll quickly increase in value – not that you’ll ever want to sell him. I also like that he’s left-footed, as my defence feels a bit more balanced when I have a right-footed defender at RCB and a lefty at LCB.
Actual Cost: £4.6m
Kouyate is a cheaper, younger version of Ogbonna and yet another player that I feel comfortable signing for whoever I’m playing as. From the start he has 80+ ratings for Acceleration, Jumping, Sprint Speed, Stamina and Strength, all of which should grow over time. Because of those attributes he’s a very dominating player who is also capable of playing further up the pitch if needed. Sign him up.
Actual Cost: £3.8m
Vallecano winger Lass is on this list because you get a lot for your money when you buy him. For starters he’s really quick, with 91 for Acceleration and 90 for Sprint Speed, and he feels very responsive on the ball because of his excellent ratings in the Balance, Reactions and Dribbling departments. You don’t get much by the way of skill – he can only do 3 star skill moves – but he does have the Flair trait and can play on the left or the right wing. A good signing if you’re looking for a very direct player to run at defences.
Actual Cost: £8m
Porto’s Atsu is like an ever-so-slightly better left-footed version of Lass, because he’s also a very direct speedster. In fact the players are so similar that it’s tough to see why Atsu costs twice as much and wants double the wages, but he does improve very quickly if you give him plenty of playing time so your investment will definitely pay off.
Actual Cost: £2.3m
There are so many good reasons to buy Sterling. First off you’ll get him for little over £2 million and – because of excellent physical attributes like 91 for Acceleration, 87 Sprint Speed and 81 Balance – he feels fine from the start of your first season at any level. He also improves very rapidly if you play him week-in, week-out; in season one of my Aston Villa save he’d gained 2 points Overall by January and continued to grow at pace.
Actual Cost: Loan
ogba’s a really interesting one because, on paper, it’s hard to spot anything outstanding about him. All I can say is that if you’re looking for a dominant holding midfielder, give him a chance. He’s one of those players that just feels great to use and, given time and experience, his stats will develop very nicely. I loaned him in my first season for the same Villa team that included Sterling, and Pogba had gained a massive 4 points Overall by January. Needless to say, the first thing I did in the season two transfer window was sign him up, something that’s not possible in your first year because of his recent move to Juventus.
Actual Cost: £6.5m
My research notes on Alaba simply say ‘Awesome’ and ‘Cheap’, which is an accurate summary of why I think you should buy the left-back as soon as you can. His physical stats are great – Alaba has 87 for Acceleration, 86 Sprint Speed and 86 for Agility – and he’s also excellent in possession thanks to great scores for Ball Control and Dribbling. At just 20 you can expect plenty of growth and you should see his value double or triple after a few seasons.
Actual Cost: £12m
Emenike reminds me of Didier Drogba at his peak… fast, powerful, clinical and at times unstoppable. You don’t get the free-kick or aerial abilities that Drogba had, which is a bit disappointing in a player that’s 6ft tall and almost 200lbs, but pretty much everything else is there so he’s a real bargain at just £12 million. He’s only 25 too, so you’ll get plenty of great seasons out of the big Spartak striker.
Actual Cost: £10m
I’m sure plenty of you reading this have already heard the name Wellington Nem before in relation to good FIFA signings. I was tempted to leave him out of this list for that reason, but he’s just too good to ignore. Plus he kept on scoring against me in Career Mode so I feel like he earned it. The 20-year-old has stats in the 90s for Acceleration, Balance and Sprint Speed, and he isn’t far behind on Agility, Ball Control or Dribbling either, all of which will improve with match experience.
Okay, that should keep you busy for this week. Pop back next time and we’ll look at ten more players you need to get the chequebook out for.
Does anyone still use chequebooks?