The First 10 Things You Need to Do in a Barcelona Save on FM21

Nov 25, 2020, 2:18 PM GMT
Lionel Messi celebrates with Antoine Griezmann | JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images

In years gone by, if you wanted an easy game of Football Manager where you had absolutely nothing to do except steamroll your way to league glory while splashing millions of pounds on the world's best players, Barcelona would be a pretty solid choice.

However, times have changed at Camp Nou, and if you decide to take the hot seat on the 2021 edition of the game you'll have quite a job on your hands.

If you're bonkers enough to become the ringleader of the circus that is modern-day Barcelona, take a look at our list of the first ten things you need to do once your tenure has begun.

1. Raise Transfer Funds

Matheus Fernandes
Matheus Fernandes could be moved on to generate transfer funds | Soccrates Images/Getty Images

Despite a massive summer overhaul, Barça's squad is still threadbare in areas and definitely lacks balance. So, it's up to you to bring in some talented, high-profile new faces - good luck doing that with a budget of £9.1m.

Yep, that's how much you'll have to spend on new signings, with the club's financial crisis showing no signs of ending any time soon.

If you're looking to pinpoint an area of the team which you could afford to lose a few bodies from then look no further than central midfield.

2. Bring in Centre-Back Reinforcements

La Blaugrana have very few senior centre-backs to choose from
La Blaugrana have very few senior centre-backs to choose from | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Once you've generated a bit of cash it's time to go and spend it, and your first port of call has to be the centre of defence.

With Jean-Clair Todibo loaned out to Benfica, La Blaugrana's senior squad contains just two fit centre-backs, with Samuel Umtiti (obviously) sidelined through injury for a minimum of five weeks.

A first-choice partnership of Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet is solid enough, though reinforcements are definitely needed, and with the aforementioned Pique well into his 30s you may want to start scouting for his replacement while you're at it.

3. Trigger Lionel Messi’s One-Year Contract Extension

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has a one-year contract extension which you can immediately trigger | Eric Alonso/Getty Images

Yes he's had a bit of a rocky summer and yes he's already turned 33 when by the time you takeover, but it's a bit of a no-brainer, isn't it?

One of the first bits of business you'll be tasked with performing is looking into the players who have recently entered the final year of their current deal, and lucky for you Lionel Messi is the only one who has a, automatic contract extension option.

With a five-star rating there's absolutely no way you can afford to let a man of his quality slip through your fingers free of charge.

4. Buy a Centre Forward

Martin Braithwaite
If you're serious about mounting a title challenge then centre-forward reinforcements are a must | Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Another area which badly needs addressing.

Following the sale of Luis Suarez to Atletico Madrid, Barcelona don't have a single out-and-out striker in their senior squad. None. Zero. Zilch. Not one.

That being said, there are a number of players who could easily fill the centre-forward void such as Antoine Griezmann and Messi, but none of them are listed as a striker for the purpose of the game.

Given Barça's ropey backline you're likely to ship a few goals, so looking a threat going forward is going to be key to your success and a proper centre-forward could be just what your side needs.

5. Reassure the Youngsters

Fati and Pedri are two of Barcelona's brightest stars | LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

It's no secret that Barcelona possess some of the most promising talents in European football.

Ansu Fati and Pedri in particular have the potential to go on to become absolute superstars, however, with so much competition for places in their preferred positions they may need to bide their time.

Make sure they know there's a future for them at the club and ensure they're given the necessary game time needed to develop, otherwise you might find yourself being forced to sell a future world beater.

6. Tie Down Oriol Busquets

Dutch Eredivisie"FC Twente Enschede v sc Heerenveen"
Oriol Busquets will spend the first season of your save on loan at FC Twente | ANP Sport/Getty Images

Speaking of which.

Oriol Busquets has long been talked of as the successor to his namesake at the base of the Barça midfield, and with Sergio Busquets entering the twilight of his career it could be time for the youngster to shine.

The 21-year-old on loan at FC Twente for the 2020/21 season and upon his arrival back at Camp Nou next summer will be a free agent.

He's bound to have more than his fair share of admirers if you don't secure him to a new deal, so act fast or risk losing him next year.

7. Continue to Shift the Oldies

Sergio Busquets
Could Sergio Busquets be the next out the Camp Nou exit door? | Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Despite a summer of transition, Barcelona still have a lot of work to do on their ageing squad.

The spine of their starting XI still contains a number of club stalwarts, and with many of them carrying eye-watering contracts it might be a good idea to sever ties.

Striking the right balance is going to be crucial, with experience a valuable part of any squad and La Blaugrana not in a position to just go out and throw blank cheques at clubs anymore, so be careful who you choose to move on.

8. Put an Arm Around Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho has struggled to live up to the hype that surrounded his move to Camp Nou | Alex Caparros/Getty Images

One of the forgotten men of Camp Nou, but if you can tap into his undoubted quality then it will be like having a new signing in your squad.

When you first take the reigns at Barcelona you'll be greeted by a Philippe Coutinho with very low morale, however, if you can pick him up and help him rediscover the form which saw him secure a move to Spain then you'll have a real player on your hards.

9. Find a Formation That Works

Fitting all of Barcelona's top talents into your starting XI will be a huge job
Fitting all of Barcelona's top talents into your starting XI will be a huge job | Eric Alonso/Getty Images

It sounds pretty obvious, doesn't it? But it could be a lot more difficult than you think.

Given the imbalance in Barcelona's squad there's a lot of considerations to be made before choosing your formation.

Only two fit centre-backs rules out playing three at the back, though the club's full-backs are generally more adept going forward than defending, but do you want to risk exposing Pique and Lenglet?

Headaches aplenty we're sure you can imagine.

10. Give the Fans Something to Smile About

It's been a wretched few years at Barcelona | JOSEP LAGO/Getty Images

It's been a tough few years to be a Barcelona fan - well, relatively tough anyway.

Followers of La Blaugrana have been forced to watch on as their squad has been decimated this summer, with even starman Messi looking set for pastures new at one point.

So, when you settle into the job and have your first press conference, don't bother taking the cautious approach and telling the fans they need to be realistic given your limited budget - reach for the stars!

Tell them you're going to win the lot and take this grand Spanish club back to where it belongs.