Football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross looks at some of the summer's most interesting transfers so far for FIFA players, and how they could make many teams even better to use online in FIFA 14.
As well as hoping the clubs we follow will make great signings, we're also watching for any moves we could use to boost our squads in FUT 13 right now, or transfers that might really improve teams we’ll be using online when FIFA 14 comes out in September.
They’re the kind of transfers we’re about to look at in this week’s Backpage. I've focused mainly on how some of the game’s popular teams are shaping up for FIFA 14, but a lot of the players here are in the FUT 13 database as their new club versions, so you can already sign those guys up.
There's plenty to cover, so let's get started...
It feels like the best could still be yet to come transfer-wise in the Prem, but many of the moves that have already happened should excite FIFA players.
For starters, Chelsea will have an injection of pace and power in attack thanks to the arrival of Andre Schurrle from Leverkusen and the return of Romelu Lukaku from West Brom. Although Schurrle is more of a wide player he's useful up front and I reckon that’s where most people will use him in FIFA 14 unless The Blues bring any more forwards in before the window closes. Combine that with the strength and rocket left foot of Romelu Lukaku – should Chelsea decide to keep him rather than loan him out – and you have a very tasty front line ahead of an excellent midfield, solid defence and a quality keeper.
Everton also added some pace to their attack by bringing in forwards Arouna Kone from Wigan and Gerard Deulofeu from Barcelona. Both players are fast – especially Deulofeu – so I have a feeling I'll be seeing a lot of those two online from the end of September onwards.
Liverpool have been busy, signing striker Iago Aspas from Celta Vigo, forward Luis Alberto from Sevilla, centre-back Kolo Toure from Man. City and goalkeeper Simon Mignolet from Sunderland. Of that bunch Iago Aspas – currently a 74-rated silver player in FUT 13 – is perhaps the most exciting thanks to his speed and dribbling ability, but The Reds are still being linked with lots of players so they're another club that could look quite different online in FIFA 14.
Manchester City have spent more than any other Prem team so far on some very interesting signings in FIFA terms. Fernandinho – who joined from Shakhtar – is a dynamic midfielder with an excellent long shot, so I’m looking forward to using him next to Yaya Toure in FIFA 14. City also signed winger Jesus Navas and striker Alvaro Negredo, both from Sevilla. Navas is extremely quick and Negredo – with his strength, heading ability and powerful left foot – is one of my favourite bargain La Liga players in FUT 13. I’ll be playing him up front in 14 next to Aguero or Stevan Jovetic, who came in from Fiorentina and should be a top replacement for Carlos Tevez, who’s moved to Juventus.
Norwhich will be one of the first teams I try online when I get my hands on the new game, as they’ve done some great business this summer. Striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel has come in from Sporting Lisbon, they’ve signed midfielder Leroy Fer from FC Twente, left-back Martin Olsson from Blackburn and speedy winger Nathan Redmond from Birmingham. All four players should make The Canaries feel better to use online.
Southampton have spent quite a lot so far – I’m a big fan of former Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama in the game – and they’re still being linked with more top players, so keep an eye on The Saints.
Sunderland have been one of the most active teams, and two of their new stars in particular should make a big difference when you use them. Striker Jozy Altidore, a big signing from AZ Alkmaar, is a quick, powerful striker that can finish, and I really like winger Emanuele Giaccherini. He joined from Juventus and brings speed and dribbling ability to a Sunderland side that already has some very good attacking players. The Black Cats are going to be useful online in 14.
Swansea have also brought in loads of new players and the one that stands out for me there so far is striker Wilfried Bony, who came in for a club record fee from Dutch side Vitesse. He's strong, extremely powerful, good in the air and has enough pace to get away from defenders.
Finally for the Prem, Tottenham have signed Brazil international midfielder Paulinho from Corinthians and winger Nacer Chadli from FC Twente, and I’m interested to see who could follow them. Spurs are still being linked with a number of top stars, so they’re another club to watch this summer.
Lots of popular FIFA teams outside the Prem have been busy buying new players too, so let’s take a quick look at some of those now, starting with…
There are two teams in Italy that I think are already looking very good for FIFA 14 after making some great signings.
Juventus bagged giant striker Fernando Llorente on a free after his contract at Athletic Bilbao expired and he’s one of the best strikers in the game at converting crosses, thanks to his height, strength and heading ability. When I use Juve I’ll be picking him next to Carlos Tevez, which will allow me to vary my attacks by going wide or passing through the centre. That’s not the only reason I’ll be playing as the defending Serie A champs though – they’ve also brought in Torino centre-back Angelo Ogbonna to form a brick-wall-like partnership with Chiellini. Getting past those two then finding a way to beat Buffon is not going to be easy.
Napoli have added two very quick attacking players to their squad that should make a big difference to how they feel in games. Dries Mertens – a winger with good dribbling skills and decent finishing ability – has come in from PSV, and Napoli also bought forward Jose Callejon from Real Madrid, who has 91 Acceleration and 90 Sprint Speed. At the time of writing it looked like they were about to get another Real Madrid player – striker Gonzalo Higuain – and Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina, so those moves may have already happened. Either way, they should be a lot more popular in FIFA 14.
In Spain there’s one move in particular that both FUT 13 and FIFA 14 players will be very excited about, and it’s the biggest transfer in La Liga so far… Neymar!
The Brazil striker left Santos to join Barcelona, where he’ll link up with the planet’s best player Lionel Messi. FUT 13 players can see what it’s like to play with those two in the same team right now – by getting them in packs or through trading – otherwise you’ll have to wait until September to try them out online. Spoiler alert: it’s going to be good.
Real Madrid have also spent a lot of cash so far, and mostly on midfielders. Promising playmaker Isco has come in from Malaga and the highly rated Asier Illarramendi – who is similar in style to Xabi Alonso – joins from Real Sociedad. Real already have top quality in those positions but these two will give FIFA players extra options.
Elsewhere in Spain look out for Sevilla. They replaced Jesus Navas by signing Chelsea’s Marko Marin on loan, and they’ll almost certainly by a striker to fill the gap left by Alvaro Negredo in attack too. At the time of writing they were being heavily linked with PSG’s Kevin Gameiro, a fast forward that I really like in FIFA 13.
Bayern and Dortmund are two of the most popular teams online at the moment, and that doesn’t look like it’s going to change for 14 following some cracking signings by both clubs.
Champs Bayern announced the transfer of Dortmund midfielder Mario Gotze just before the end of last season, and he officially joined up a few weeks ago. He feels great on the ball in FIFA and can be used in a number of positions across the midfield, so I’m sure most of you will find a space for him in your starting line-ups. As if they didn’t have enough world-class midfielders already, the Champions League holders also brought in Thiago from Barcelona, who’s another creative player with great dribbling ability. With an incredible goalkeeper, excellent defence and an abundance of top midfielders, all they’re missing in FIFA terms is electric pace up front. If they sign a player who has that they then could be almost unbeatable in FIFA 14.
Talking of strikers with pace, Dortmund bagged the rapid Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from French club St Etienne, who’ll give us FIFA players really good options up front with Lewandowski and Reus. They also brought in exciting attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Shakhtar, and it’ll be good to see what he’s like in FIFA 14. The club have sold centre-back Felipe Santana though – to Schalke – who is popular with FUT and Seasons players in FIFA 13 because of his size and speed.
Away from the Bundesliga’s big two I’ll be giving Bayer Leverhusen a go in 14. They’ve brought in forward Heung-Min Son from Hamburg, who is a player I really like because of his speed and five star weak foot.
There are some cool Ligue 1-based FUT 13 teams around right now thanks mostly to PSG and Monaco, who have both signed top players this summer, and I’m sure loads of you will be eager to try these clubs online in FIFA 14. I know I am.
Starting with PSG, their star signing so far is Napoli striker Edinson Cavani who is a great all-rounder; tall, strong, quick, good in the air, a great dribbler and an excellent finisher. His partnership with Zlatan could be incredible.
Newly promoted Monaco wasted no time getting down to business, making one of the best moves of the summer when they brought in Falcao from Atletico Madrid at the start of the window. He’s another fantastic all round goal machine, and FUTers can link him with Colombia team-mate James Rodriguez, an excellent winger that joined Monaco from FC Porto in a deal that also brought playmaker Joao Moutinho to the club. Since then they’ve signed Barcelona defender Eric Abidal, Real Madrid centre-back Ricardo Carvalho and midfielder Jeremy Toulalan from Malaga – and they may not be done yet.
So they’re the main transfers that stand out for me so far as a FIFA player, but there’s plenty of time to go in this window and lots of big clubs still to spend their transfer budgets, so look out for more great moves.
If there are any transfers I haven’t mentioned here that you’re excited about for FUT 13 or FIFA 14, share them with us by commenting below or tweet them to me @darren_cross
As always, thanks for reading The Backpage and please come back next time, when we’ll be focusing on the attributes I look for in each position when buying players in Career Mode.
Thanks for reading The Backpage, and see you next week.