Football Manager

The best teams to start a save with in Football Manager 2022

Tom Gott
Atalanta are on the cusp of greatness
Atalanta are on the cusp of greatness / Eurasia Sport Images/GettyImages
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Figuring out which team to take control of is the toughest decision you'll make at the start of Football Manager 2022 as there are so many brilliant options out there.

Taking charge of one of the game's top sides is always an option, but delve a little deeper and you'll find so many fascinating and fanciful stories waiting to be bought to life.

With you at the helm, dreams may become a reality, and you're bound to have plenty of fun along the way. Here's 90min's top jobs for you consider when you're fired up and ready to get cracking...


1. Wrexham

Now under the watchful eye of Hollywood superstars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, Wrexham's future is looking bright.

Down in the Vanarama National League, Wrexham's goal is to keep on climbing up the Football League under their new owners, and you could be the manager to make that happen.

Don't expect to see too much of that A-lister cash just yet, though, it's up to you to bring that money in with your results.


2. Schalke 04

Climbing back out of the 2. Bundesliga shouldn't be a big issue for Schalke, but the biggest challenge facing the German giants is reclaiming their place atop the national throne.

Historically, Schalke are one of the biggest clubs in Germany, but they need someone to remind them of that.

Whether you look to build around the current core of players or start selling up and begin anew, your job is to make Schalke a genuine force once more.


3. Derby County

In administration and with a 12-point deficit to make up, Derby County represent the dream challenge for FM players.

With no money to sign new talent, you'll have to find a way to maximise your squad with free transfers and affordable loans, while your tactics need to be spot on.

Surviving in the Championship is the obvious target in the short term, but if you can navigate that, why not aim a bit higher?


4. PSV Eindhoven

Ajax are threatening to take over the Eredivisie, and nobody will want to stop them more than PSV Eindhoven.

Without a league title since 2018, PSV have all the tools needed to get back to the top of the mountain, as well as a talented squad overflowing with potential superstars.

Eredivisie title #25 is still waiting.


5. Inter Miami

One of the more high-profile sides in Major League Soccer, being owned by David Beckham has done a lot for Inter Miami.

Big names like Gonzalo Higuain, Blaise Matuidi and Kieran Gibbs are all on the books, but the results haven't followed just yet and a new face in the dugout could be what is needed in Miami.

There's a lot of competition in MLS, but with some of the biggest pulling power in the division, you might be able to build something special.


6. Atalanta

There are a lot of heavyweights in the Italian top flight, but Atalanta have been threatening to topple the top dogs for a while.

With one of the division's smallest wage budgets, Atalanta are all about smart transfers and maximising player potential - two things you'll have to keep up if you want to be successful there.

Rivals all boast superior financial means, so you need to find a way to counter that.

7. Charlotte FC

Charlotte FC will join Major League Soccer in 2022 as the league's newest expansion team, so there's a lot of building work to be done.

You'll need to choose your staff and build your squad, before setting whatever expectations you want to. Are you just looking for a respectable finish? Or are you going for immediate glory?

First up, you've got the expansion draft to prepare for.


8. Newell’s Old Boys

Lionel Messi wants to go back to Argentina and play for Newell's before he retires - can you make it happen?

Newell's are a decent side and currently play in South America's version of the Europa League. There's a lot about them, but they're clearly still lacking a bit when it comes to a genuine title challenge.

Their stadium is named after Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa and Diego Maradona used to play for them, so Newell's have the history needed to make for a fun save.


9. Ulsan Hyundai

No side in K-League history has finished second more than Ulsan, whose last title came back in 2005. They've since been runners-up four times.

Displacing Jeonbuk is easier said than done, however. They've won in six of the last seven seasons and clearly represent some fierce competition.

You've got to focus on that, but don't sacrifice the Asian Champions League either. After all, Ulsan are the reigning champions.


10. Barcelona

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last 18 months, you'll know all about the turmoil at Barcelona.

One of the biggest clubs on the planet, they're in relative ruin these days. The ageing, overpaid squad is not getting results and debts are spiralling out of control. You need to sell the big earners, but the problem is that nobody wants to buy them.

You've got to find a way to get them off the books before you can make any major additions, but because it's Barcelona, you won't get too long to pull the magic off.


11. Benfica

Of Portugal's so-called 'Big Three', it's Benfica who have had the worst fortunes recently.

Their last league title came in 2019, which doesn't seem so bad, but they've been third in each of the last two seasons and had to watch on as Porto and Sporting CP both celebrated their own league triumphs.

It's time to end that with a return to glory, and why not try and smash some records on the way? 88 points is the league record - can you do better?


12. AJ Auxerre

French champions back in 1996, Auxerre have a rich history but have struggled in recent years.

Getting them back up to Ligue 1 is a must, but once you get there, you've got the whole new challenge of toppling Paris Saint-Germain, Lyon, Lille and the rest of the division's heavy hitters.

Their first reign of glory saw them go from nothing to champions. Now, it's time for round two.


13. Celtic

Celtic had to watch on as Rangers smashed records en route to winning the title last year. That cannot be allowed to happen again.

There's no denying that the Bhoys need a little bit of work to get back to their best, and there are a few ways to approach that. You can rip it up and start over, or just figure out a way to maximise what they already have.

A new run of consecutive titles needs to start soon, and it's your job to get it going.


14. Newcastle United

A pretty obvious one here.

It's a new dawn at St James' Park and Newcastle United are now the richest club on the planet, and that is reflected with an enormous transfer budget capable of bringing in a number of huge stars.

It's the perfect spot for a major rebuild, although finding buyers for the players you want to replace won't always be easy.


15. RANS Cilegon

In the second tier of Indonesian football, you'll find RANS Cilegon, a side which doesn't really have a lot going for it.

A small stadium, a poor youth setup and underwhelming training facilities, Cilegon also have no transfer budget and a rule that you can only sign Indonesian players until you get promoted to the top flight.

To make matters worse, your two best strikers have a combined age of nearly 80, so you need to get the rebuild on immediately.


16. A. Bilbao

Speaking of transfer rules, Athletic's Basque-only policy is well known.

As a comparatively big side, you shouldn't struggle to sign the players you really want, but the problem is actually finding them in the first place. If Basque Country doesn't produce a star, you're going to have to make do without.

With a limited pool of players at your disposal, it's up to you to figure out how to maximise your assets.


17. Vasco da Gama

Vasco are undisputedly one of Brazil's biggest sides, but it's been a while since they actually looked like that.

They're now down in Brazil's second tier and have been relegated four times in 13 years, which is nowhere near good enough for a side who enjoyed plenty of domestic and continental success at the turn of the century.

Big Vasco, as they are affectionally known, were responsible for the career of Brazilian legend Romario. Good luck trying to find the heir to his throne.


18. Roma

Jose Mourinho's spell in charge could be a short one if you choose to take his seat at Roma.

After a big summer of spending, bringing in big-name striker Tammy Abraham in attack, Roma are looking to mount a title challenge, but there is some significant competition for Italy's biggest prize.

Inter, Milan, Atalanta and Juventus are all sniffing around and you'll have to be at your best to take them all down at once.


19. Aberdeen

Otherwise known as the Sir Alex Ferguson challenge, there are a few different ways to view an Aberdeen save.

They were Fergie's old stomping ground and where the legendary Scot cut his teeth en route to becoming one of the best of all time. That's a path you should be following.

If that's not enough for you, surely the appeal of stopping Celtic or Rangers winning the title can convince you? Aberdeen were the last side to manage that... all the way back in 1985.


20. Las Palmas

One of the smaller sides in Spain, Las Palmas are blessed with a fantastic youth setup and are responsible for introducing the world to Pedri not too long ago.

You'll have to rely on that to help you grow, but Las Palmas already have some stellar names on the books, including Jese Rodriguez, but they'll need a little more if they are to make any major noise towards the top of the Spanish top flight.

If you'll looking to build around youngsters and homegrown talents, this could be the save for you.


21. Persib Bandung

Indonesian giants Persib Bandung boast an enormous stadium but come with a trophy record that needs a whole lot of improvement.

Part of the appeal of their squad is the presence of young Beckham Putra, who is among Indonesia's finest young prospects. Named after David, Beckham also has a brother on the team called Gian Zola.

Most managers would have loved a chance to work with (David) Beckham and (Gianfranco) Zola, so here's your chance to live the dream.


22. Palermo

Palermo have been through a lot in recent years: relegations, promotions, financial woes, league exclusion and a complete restart.

They fought their way up from the fourth tier and are now in Serie C, but that's still nowhere near where this side should be. They were Europa League regulars and Coppa Italia finalists just ten years ago.

There's a lot of work to do to get Palermo to the top, but that's why this save sounds so much fun.


23. Paris FC

Paris Saint-Germain have been dominating French football for a while. Trying to stop them is always fun, but why not try do so with another team from the capital?

Paris FC are kicking about in Ligue 2 and have a genuine shot at promotion, thanks to their young core and access to the unreal amount of talent coming out of Paris.

Get them promoted, stabilise them in the top flight and then set your sights on PSG.


24. Dorados de Sinaloa

Mexican giants Dorados have a lot of pull. Diego Maradona was the manager in 2018/19 and Pep Guardiola ended his career there while in manager school in Puebla.

They've been up and down the divisions in Mexico over the past few years, currently sitting in the second tier.

Maradona couldn't lead them to glory. Can you?


25. Deportivo La Coruna

In the early 2000s, Deportivo were one of Spain's big boys. They won the league title in 2000 and were regulars in the late stages of the Champions League.

These days? Not so much.

Down in the Spanish third tier and without any money to spend, getting Super Depor back to their best will take some doing.


26. Red Bull Salzburg

Arguably the best talent factory in Europe these days, Austrian giants Red Bull Salzburg are showing the rest of the continent how it's done.

Alongside introducing us all to Erling Haaland, Salzburg have been selling player after player for big money in recent years, using that money to reinvest in youth and slowly taking Europe by storm.

Regardless of whether you look to sell your stars or keep them around, you need to try and lead Salzburg to the late stages of the Champions League and prove that a side outside a top league can hang with the best.


27. Beijing Institute of Technology

The only semi-professional team in the Chinese second tier, BJIT used to be a team full of students from the university, but they have since gone their own way.

They're favourites for relegation to the third tier so your job is not only to survive, but to lead them to the top flight. Unfortunately, you'll have to do it without any money.

If you can get to the first division, you'll be up against clubs with some enormous budgets. Bargains and free transfers are the way forwards.


28. Atletico Ottawa

The first expansion team in the Canadian Premier League, Atletico Ottawa are owned by Spanish giants Atletico Madrid and share a lot of similarities with Los Rojiblancos.

On top of similar team colours, the Ottawa side boast a number of Spanish players as they benefit from that link with Madrid.

They're yet to come close to domestic success, but if you can maximise those Spanish routes, you might just be able to change that.


29. Barranquilla FC

Barranquilla find themselves in the second tier of Colombian football and have been there ever since they formed in 2005.

The job, promotion, is obvious, but that's complicated by Barranquilla's transfer rule that states you must sign players under the age of 23.

Not only do you need to find some future superstars, but importantly, those wonderkids need to be good enough to make a difference immediately.


30. Albirex Niigata

Niigata come with one of the strangest transfer rules around.

Based in Singapore, they are only permitted to sign Japanese players, because of their affiliation with a second-tier club in Japan.

Niigata are actually one of Singapore's most successful sides, with that Japanese investment setting them apart from the rest, but maintaining that with such a limited scouting pool won't be easy.

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