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

Nov 16, 2020, 3:00 PM GMT
Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood
Follow these steps to start taking United back to the top | Pool/Getty Images

We're now into our eighth season of misery at Manchester United since Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill departed the club, and there are still things that seriously need fixing.

Luckily, you've now got the chance to do that on Football Manager 2021.

Seems like a match made in heaven. The chances are you've got a winter season dotted with potential lockdowns and a bit of time on your hands, so load up that game, create your manager and step into the Old Trafford hot seat.

You can't do any worse than the managers who've come before you, surely, but you'll make sure you don't if you follow this guide.

1. Shift the Deadwood

Marcos Rojo
Earning sh*tloads and not playing? Get rid! | Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

It's been a job that's needed doing for years. Literally, years. But now it's in your hands.

Time to end Odion Ighalo's £100k-a-week loan and transfer list Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones and Tim Fosu-Mensah, hitting 'Offer to Clubs' repeatedly until somebody bites. Pay a chunk of their wages to get them out, if you have to. You can afford it.

Clearing the wage bill and boosting the transfer budget will allow you to reinvest straight away, and there's even money to be made on the likes of Daniel James and Jesse Lingard if you want to make wholesale early changes.

2. Set a Pathway for the Kids

Shola Shoretire
Shola Shoretire looks like he could develop into a superstar | Charlotte Tattersall/Getty Images

You're going to have to stick to traditions. United have named an academy graduate in the first team squad for every single fixture since 1937. It's remarkable.

The future's bright with the likes of Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood already in the mix, but you've got to look even further down the line. Luckily, you've got plenty of options.

Ensure you tie down the futures of the likes of Hannibal Mejbri, Teden Mengi, Charlie McNeill and Shola Shoretire, and do what you can to clear a path for them to reach the first team in the years to come - if you're patient enough for a long save.

3. Renew Paul Pogba's Contract

Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba is really, really good on FM | Visionhaus/Getty Images

Whatever you think United should do with Paul Pogba in real life, there's only one option on FM21. Sign him up.

Luckily, it's pretty easy. There's room in the wage budget to pull it off and you can just about get away with making him your second-highest earner.

He does have a slight concern in game that he may want to move to another club, but nip it in the bud and watch the concerns disappear. It's a simple task, and it'll be worth it.

4. Improve the Backroom Team

Michael Carrick
Michael Carrick might not cut it... | Pool/Getty Images

If you're turfing out Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to become manager, you might as well kick out the staff he's installed, too.

It's a simple process of offering mutual terminations to a team of coaches who, let's be honest, don't have the attributes befitting of a Manchester United coaching team (speaking strictly about the game here, no judgement passed on real world fortunes, promise). Though maybe Kieran McKenna's good enough to stay.

There's plenty of people to go out and replace them with, and make sure you pick up Bryan Klug from Ipswich, a true hero of FM.

While you're at it with the backroom staff, by the way, you're going to finally have that chance to streamline the unbelievably bloated scouting network. That, my friends, is a proper must.

5. Sell Poor Sergio Romero

Sergio Romero
This poor guy is locked at OT | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

They brought Dean Henderson back from his loan at Sheffield United and refused to offload Sergio Romero, so he's just sitting there doing nothing.

Set the poor guy free, like a decent human being.

He's on big wages, but you can fetch some money for him and put it towards Gianluigi Donnarumma's wages in a year's time. Chances are he'll become available on a free...

6. Buy a Top Class Centre Back

Dayot Upamecano
There's plenty of options out there y'know | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Ah, the one the fans demanded.

If you're scared to death of Harry Maguire's 10 acceleration and Eric Bailly's injury record, as you should be, you're going to have to do something about it straight away. There's plenty of options available.

Dayot Upamecano is the obvious one, but with a release clause set to kick in to his contract down the line, it might be a good idea to go in for him later on.

Jules Kounde from Sevilla is a cheaper, and whisper it, better, alternative at the start of the game. Sign him and develop Axel Tuanzebe and you've got a couple of extra solid options.

7. Find a Setup That Works

Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial
Allow these guys to flourish with an actual plan to beat smaller teams | Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

United have a real habit of playing well on the counter attack in big matches, and having absolutely no idea what to do against a team who sets out to defend.

It's on you to change that.

What you want to do is strike a balance and play on the front foot. Make sure you can utilise the skillset of Rashford, Greenwood and Anthony Martial, while having the quality further back to not only provide a solid base, but a creative platform.

The market will be crucial but you've got to get the tactics right too.

8. Find a Way to Play Bruno & Pogba Together

Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes
These two should spell D.A.N.G.E.R together, not B.E.N.C.H | Pool/Getty Images

It's a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 that's the way forward for this squad, and that means you'll be able to get these two in the same eleven. None of this PogBench stuff.

It's a dreamy prospect to actually see Bruno drop a little bit deeper, alongside Pogba, with one in a deep-lying or advanced playmaker role and one as a mezzala. They're both pretty well suited, y'know.

You just need to find a long-term solution for someone to play behind them...

9. Address the Other Problem Positions

Nemanja Matic
Nemanja Matic has a few years left on his deal, but he's pretty slow... | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

Yes, defensive midfield is one of those problem positions. Nemanja Matic's legs have gone, Scott McTominay is better as a squad option and Fred doesn't really cut it attributes wise on FM this year.

So go out and invest in a DM. There's plenty of options, and the good thing about FM21 is that teams in Italy and Spain will no longer demand monstrous money for their most talented players because of the impact of COVID on the market. Ismael Bennacer of Milan and Juventus' Rodrigo Bentancur are gettable in the first summer.

You could perhaps do with another option at right back, too. Norwich ask way too much for Max Aarons, but have a look around.

10. Sign Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho
If you have anything about you, you'll be able to get this one done... | Pool/Getty Images

Aaaaand finally, Jadon Sancho.

The player United spent a year trying to sign, only to fail. Their number one target that slipped through their fingers.

United still want him IRL, but you can go back here and right the wrongs of the summer 2020 window by reaching a deal with Dortmund for the England international, finally solving the right wing issues. Then you've got a great problem to have with a lot of depth in the front line.

You won't even have to break £100m for him, and staggering payments on the deal is possible. Pull this one off and within a few weeks you'll have already operated more sensibly than United have in the last seven years.