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FM 2015 Manchester United Guide

FM 2015 Manchester United guide

Why Manchester United?

Founded in 1878 (137 years ago), Manchester United is a professional football club based in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England. The club has won 20 league titles, the most of any English club, 11 FA Cups, four League Cups and a record 20 FA Community Shields. Its trophies also include 3 Champions League titles, the most memorable being won at the end of the ’99 season with a fantastic comeback against Bayern Munchen, during the very last moments with players such as Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, David Beckham or Ryan Giggs, with Peter Schmeichel as a goalkeeper, and a fantastic couple of strikers by the name of Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke. But going back in time, the club’s history was also marked by sad moments – the most disturbing being the Munich air disaster from 1958, when eight players lost their lives. In total, the accident resulted in 23 fatalities and 21 survivors.

Following the loss of so many players in the crash, United desperately tried to find replacements with experience, however the end of the season saw their title challenge collapse and as such, they fell to ninth place in the league. The club slowly improved over the seasons and 10 years later they were winning their first European Cup under the same management of Matt Busby, who nearly gave up football entirely after the crash. Another highlight in the club’s history represented the arrival of “Sir” Alex Ferguson in 1986, a manager who was going to lead the club to multiple trophies until his retirement in 2013. There are many more to be said about the world’s third most valuable football club in 2015, but from the game’s perspective, I think the most important is that no other team has a bigger budget than Manchester United. Should be quite an easy save to begin with.

Club Information – The Initial Setup

  • Reputation: Worldwide
  • Estimated Value: €1.61B (Loan Debt: €520M)
  • Stadium: Old Trafford, 75797 all-seater
  • Training Facilities: State of the art
  • Youth Facilities: Top Youth (Excellent Junior Coaching / Extensive Youth Recruitment)
  • Affiliated Club(s): Antwerp, FC Twente, Fluminense, Desportivo Brasil



  • Balance: €174,293,000
  • Projected Balance: €256,000,000
  • Total Player Wage Budget: €20,345,000 per month
  • Curr. Player Wage Budget: €17,425,000 per month
  • Transfer Budget: €87,85M (100% transfer revenue made available)
  • Sponsors: multiple sponsors worth €175.16M total
  • Loans Outstanding: Misc. Debt €460M (until 2023)
  • Interest Payable €58M

Board Expectations


  • Play possession football
  • Play attacking football
  • Develop players using the club’s youth system

Staff Members

  • Mutual Termination: Ryan Giggs (Assistant Manager) / Tony Coulter, Mick Doherty (Scout) / Neil Hough (Head Physio) / Garry Armer, Matt Radcliffe (Physio) / Richard Hawkings (Fitness Coach) / Nicky Butt, Alan Fettis (Under 21s) / Tom Hughes (Under 18s)
  • New Signings: Michael Lindeman (Assistant Manager) / Lieven Maesschalck (Head Physio)

The Squad – Key Players & Backups


Goalkeepers: David De Gea (7.09 av.r) is probably one of the best keepers from Premier League so I had high expectations, but his actual performances were rather disappointing. Still, he should be your number one choice for a keeper. Victor Valdes will be injured at the start of the season and he can be a reliable backup, so you can safely use him against some of the lower teams. As for Lindegaard, he is quite a decent 3rd choice in case of injuries or suspension.

Defenders: Weakest area of the squad needs a couple of reinforcements. Marcos Rojo (7.49) and Chris Smalling (7.29) are best used for central defenders, while Rafael (7.54) will cover the right side and Luke Shaw (7.49) will cover the left. Smalling can be used in rotation with Johnny Evans, but Rojo should be played as much as possible since he’s also quite a good scorer, with 8 goals in my save. Phil Jones and Daley Blind will act as backups, and if you won’t sell Valencia I recommend using him as a backup for the right wing back position.

Midfielders: Not the very best ball winning midfielders with Michael Carrick and Fellaini but other than that, you will have real problems in deciding which one to use in the starting line-up. Marouane Fellaini (7.20) might seem as the first choice also because Carrick will be recovering from a long injury, while his contract expires at the end of the season. I do not recommend renewing his contract. I have tried to use Juan Mata, Di Maria and Herrera as the 2nd central midfielder and the best was, without question Angel Di Maria (7.67), with  8 goals and 15 assists. Juan Mata is best used in rotation with Wayne Rooney as an attacking midfielder. Herrera was rather disappointing and I would probably sell him at the end of the season.

Given our fantastic trio upfront I had to retrain a few players, in the end I used Van Persie as a right winger, Januzaj on the other side of the field and Wayne Rooney in center. Robin van Persie (8.01) was the best player of the first season with 33 goals and 27 assists. His performances made him the winner of the World Golden Ball trophy ahead of Lionel Messi and Ronaldo, which was quite surprising for me to be honest but numbers really speak for themselves. Adnan Januzaj (7.88) was the biggest surprise in the team, he was looking like a great prospect but he proved to be a key player already (16 goals and 21 assists).

The hardest decision was picking up the attacking midfielder as both Rooney and Mata are great players who should have been present in the starting lineup. But when you have Falcao you need to make sacrifices and as such Rooney gained an advantage. Wayne Rooney (7.13) scored 13 goals, 16 assists while Juan Mata (7.15) scored 13 goals, 8 assists for the team. Ashley Young was also sacrificed as a backup.

Strikers: Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Falcao. Keeping any of these on the bench would have been a total waste of potential so the only successful move I could think about was to have Falcao as lone striker, with Rooney behind and Van Persie as winger. Falcao (7.60) was a real beast upfront with 43 goals and 14 assists in 48 games – quite incredible, yet I still wouldn’t know if he should be given a permanent deal at the end of the season.

And that is because Wayne Rooney is not playing his best as an attacking midfielder, while Mata is clearly losing his place. Then you have James Wilson – this player has the potential to be one hell of a striker in a couple of years and he needs to be played as much as possible. Even if you change the system to have 2 strikers upfront, there will still be sacrifices to make. Falcao is also quite expensive when it comes to paying his wages. Your decision on this one.

FM 2015 Manchester United Tactics [Download]


Club Transfers

Note: You must have a large database with current International players available. There are no restriction rules for non-EU players in Premier League, but they must obtain a work permit before signing.

Players Out:

  • 22 players given mutual termination
  • Tom Thorpe for free to Rotherham, Ben Pearson and Nick Powell out on loan to lower clubs
  • Ben Amos for €1.5M to Southampton
  • Patrick McNair for €10M to Newcastle
  • (optional) Antonio Valencia to AS Monaco for around €20M

Players In:

And now because I had a few people asking me why do I choose the same tactic for all of my guides I will point out the obvious answer here. It’s all about adapting players to a specific tactic, which happened to be the 4231 system in my case due to positive results and personal preference. Some prefer the other approach, where tactics are based on the available players – it’s up to you really, you can choose whatever you like – the principles are pretty much the same: at some point, you will have to retrain some of the players to certain roles and positions, while new signings will be needed and no matter the tactics you will apply the same team management to keep players in shape, happy and motivated. Talk to your players, use the rotation, use training according, so on and so forth.

These guides are meant to promote new challenges, to offer a basic understanding of what each club has to offer, and hopefully to give others a helping hand towards a positive start. There could be many more aspects to take into account and of course most of your results will depend on what actions you actually take during the games but there are plenty of guides and tutorials out there for these topics. So once again do not take my guides as complete but rather as basic, starting guides for a successful run in the first season. Is 4231 the best tactic to use here at Manchester? Well perhaps a 4-4-2 diamond would be a better choice on paper but that is for others to try it.

The Conclusion


One of the reasons for which I decided to choose Manchester was their great display during my other Premier League challenges, when they also ended up top of the league. I can now understand why, just take Chelsea out of the picture and there are nearly 30 points difference between United and the surprisingly 3rd placed Everton. While it’s also true that the likes of Arsenal, City and Liverpool had a really poor season, I think Manchester (along with Chelsea) are the best clubs in the league and managing either of them should be quite easy.

As I try new challenges I learn more and more about Football Manager. As I keep learning, I find certain aspects to be more important than others. I have come to think that above all, there should be a very good understanding of what your team is made of before doing crucial changes and hopefully the extra bits of information will help others more in dealing with these challenges. Any feedback is much appreciated, as always. Thanks for following and good luck with The Red Devils!

  • Pros: worldwide reputation, secure finances, excellent facilities
  • Cons: loan debts, non European first season
  • Difficulty: 2/10



  1. SebD

    August 9, 2015 at 19:18

    Hi. Well im disagree with few points in that guide for United. I tried one tac from other FM side and I could say that without RVP and Falcao and even Januzaj I get Champions in 1st season with 102 points. My best for was Hernandez with 36 goals. Without big transfers in with out Fellaini,Valencia. Try tac called ultra att 2-6-2…
    Salute SD.

    • Acss

      August 10, 2015 at 07:29

      Hi mate, I think you can do it without them as well, it depends. I am curious though, how did you play Hernandez in 1st season since he is out on loan at Real Madrid?

  2. White

    August 11, 2015 at 10:01

    Will you do a Bayern Munich Guide?

    • Acss

      August 11, 2015 at 10:43

      Unlikely I’m afraid, it would be too easy. I think clubs like Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea are no challenge at all – unless you want to make a youth academy challenge or add some extra rules to your save.

      • Danut Codrescu

        August 11, 2015 at 11:52

        With Barcelona is easy even with the youth academy. I enjoyed playing with Barcelona because of its transfer restrictions and I was forced to promote players from the B team. I admit that I bought Alvarez Balanta in the first season, but then I only sold players. Of course I used the team that was in place, but I like to rotate the team every match so many of the youngsters played more than 25 matches per season.

        I promoted Rafinha and then I sold him for 40 mil to Liverpool, I sold Dani Alves to Man Utd for 20 mil and retrained Alba to play on the right so that I can rotate Alex Grimaldo and Quintilla. Grimaldo established himself in front of Busquets, Halilovic wom Golden Boy two times in a row, Adama Traore made me sell Pedro for 30 mil to Chelsea in the third season and when Dennis Suarez came back from the loan he was a real gem, he replaced Havi perfectly. In the attack I Munir was great as a young striker (he was very good in decisive matches) and even Sandro was a good option (despite being very inconsistent).

        So yeah, Barcelona is an easy team to manage. You can win La Liga by only using young players. In Champions League you might need some more experience, even though Munir can be very efficient and score decisive goals. La Masia can provide solutions (sometimes two players for the same position) for almost any position, except goalkeepers and central defenders (it depends of the save, maybe they get a very young keeper with potential), but you do not need a keeper as long as you have ter stegen.

        • Acss

          August 11, 2015 at 12:21

          I couldn’t agree more on this one. Nice moves under your management, there could be many more changes perhaps if you can sell Messi and Neymar, it would be quite interesting to see if Barcelona are still up to the challenge without them.

          I usually prefer outsiders, if I would manage the likes of Barca I would sell all the key players and impose a limit to players wages, have a max transfer budget of 10M or so, sign only under 21 players – that would be an enjoyable save for me personally.

          Thanks for the reply!

          • Danut Codrescu

            August 11, 2015 at 14:09

            That is very interesting. I might give a shot to this challenge.

            Well to get rid of Messi is harder than replacing him in my opinion. I honestly did not try to sell him, but I guess if he you manage to sell him he will want you to pay him some part of the salary. I played Messi on the right (just as he plays now under Enrique) and Suarez in the center. I can say that “my” Barcelona played quite well without Messi (he was injured 8 months), Halilovic and Adama Traore played extremely well. Another solution to replace Messi would be Deulofeu, but in my save he was far to incosistent, half of the season was a beast scoring and assisting, while 1 year was not outstanding, with performances under anyone on his position (so I sold him for 40 mil to Chelsea, a very good deal considering he was not a top player for me). Maybe Deulofeu was inconsistent because he was so versatile, you can play him in almost any position in front and he will play okish (for Barcelona, for a smaller team he might be good). Tello, I do not know, I sold him after he came back from Porto because I simply did not have a place for him in the team.

            The challenge would be to replace Neymar. For me, Neymar was far better than Messi. He might have seasons when he does not score very much, but provides tons of assists, while in other seasons he scores and assists on a consistant base. I played five seasons with Barca and not even a single player from the squad could match Neymar. On his position I do not see any player from La Masia that can match Neymar in FM2015. Rafinha is a good player, but he is not that good, Deulofeu does not seem to play very well on the left, Munir plays better as striker. I played other teams as welll in different saves, but I did not find a perfect match for Neymar: Depay and Kenedy score more than Neymar (perhaps), Bernard can match Neymar if we consider the assists, but does not seem to score so frequently and is prone to long term injuries.

            I like also to keep the salary budget very strict. I usually try not to offer more than 10 mil per year to a player. If he wants more, I sell him at the end of the season and try to find a youngster to replace him. Of course this applies to all the players that I promoted, but I could not lower the salaries of Messi, Neymar, Suarez, Iniesta.

          • Acss

            August 11, 2015 at 14:38

            I haven’t managed Barsa so far and I really can’t be in place to give you any advice about replacing key players but your points seem valid to me as much as I know about Barsa in real life.

            Speaking of wingers I am quite curious if Konoplyanka would be a decent replacement for Neymar. Or perhaps Marco Reus. I’ve seen Reus during my Dortmund save but to be honest I wasn’t too impressed by his performances, as for Kono I am an admire of his talents in real life football and I would certainly sign him if I needed a good winger, supposing I actually have the money to get him.

          • Danut Codrescu

            August 11, 2015 at 14:52

            You might give him a try in FM 2016 now that he signed with Sevilla. Seems interesting to replace Emery and to try to “continue the tradition”.

          • Danut Codrescu

            August 11, 2015 at 14:43

            Now, this Barcelona talk is a bit off topic, because you wrote about Man Utd. And recently played a save with them. I agree with you in all the aspects, it’s a very nice team, but it has huge defensive problems. Smalling and Rojo are by far the best defenders in the team and Johny Evans is the third. I really like Phil Jones as a FM player and in reality as well, but I played with Man Utd for two seasons and beside the fact that he was simply not good enough in big matches, he was committing too many penalties and getting stupid second yellow cards…

            It is a very good choice that you sold McNair. I tried to give that boy all the chances in the world, but he simply ruined my first season by being sent off too many times and making fouls in the penalty area. In the second season he was an eternal backup, but when he played in the League Cup he made sure that he gave a penalty kick to the opposition.

            Januzaj is a very very good player. He creates soo many chances and is consistent all the season (if he does not get injured). Even so, when he comes after an injury he plays just as well as before. My main problem with him was his fitness, I could not play him more than 3 matches in a row (in the case that Man Utd played every 3 days). When it comes to midfielders, especially defending midfielders, I might argue that Blind was quite good (not outstanding because he was inconsistent, but he played well during the big matches – both in UCL and in Premier League). Herrera is good in my opinion as central midfielder with attack duties (he can score a lot from long range), but on support or defending duties he is not very good. You are right about Fellaini, he plays very well in central midfield as long as he does not get a long term injury. For me it took him quite a few matches until he regained his form. I did not play Di Maria in the center, so I have no idea how good he is on the position that Ancelotti retrained him. I played Angel on left wing mainly and he was an extremely good player, he did not play well in the first part of the seasons, but in both years starting February he became instrumental with assists and goals.

            I did not sign Falcao in the second season (55 mil is too much for me, and he wants a big salary as well) even though he scored a lot. I preferred signing Aboubakar from Porto (you can sign him under 28 mil if you move fast and the salary can be even 3.5 mil if PSG does not bid as well, otherwise something around 5 mil makes him more than happy). Vincent Aboubakar is just as good as Falcao in my opinion.

          • Acss

            August 11, 2015 at 15:07

            True about the defensive issues. That’s why I brought Balanta, you can do just fine in the first season with Rojo and Smalling then Balanta will be good enough to take Smalling place (I think Rojo is still a very good choice for at least one more season). The biggest issue for me however was the BWM position, Fellaini was too inconsistent and the other options were even worse but I believe Ruben Neves will prove his 20M fee starting from second season.

            Selling McNair was an easy decision as I think he is quite overrated, I would never pay 10M for such a player but Newcastle did it – much more than what I was hoping for.

            Januzay is simply fantastic, he was the most consistent player along with Van Persie. Biggest surprise in my squad.

            I tried to play Daley Blind in a few games but he failed to impress me each single time. If it was my decision I would have never signed him at Manchester. I believe there were plenty of better options out there on market. Same for Herrera.

            De Geea was disappointing in my save as well. Inconsistent. As for Falcao, I wouldn’t buy him. I would play Rooney upfront and have James Wilson compete him. You will also have Chicharito coming from Real Madrid. More than enough for a second season.

      • White

        August 11, 2015 at 13:03

        He have already done R.Madrid and Barcelona’s (I don’t remember if also for Chelsea) guide…

        • Acss

          August 11, 2015 at 14:27

          Real Madrid and Barcelona guides were done by someone else. Once again I don’t think I’ll be doing such challenges unless I add some extra rules for the save. We’ll see.

  3. Chai Chien Liang

    August 13, 2015 at 03:51

    Manuel Pasqual looks like a really cheap solution to any left back problem :)

    Nice guide, would you like to try doing one for……..dum dum dum dum

    Blackpool :P

    • Acss

      August 13, 2015 at 11:42

      Thanks! Pasqual is a very good solution for the very first couple of seasons.
      I will check Blackpool and if it seems interesting I will surely post a guide for this team :)

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