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Los Leones - An Athletic Bilbao Guide
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  1. KLIPPYBO's Avatar KLIPPYBO
    Newcastle United and Aberdeen Modern Day Legend
    #1

    Los Leones - An Athletic Bilbao Guide



    ATHLETIC BILBAO

    Thought it would only be right that I should do a guide for Athletic Bilbao after my story with them in FM12 and the one in progress just now. First time attempt so apologies in advance!

    THE CLUB
    Along with the first team you have a B team (Bilbao Ath.) who play in the Second Division B2 and who can get promoted all the way up to the 2nd tier in Spain. There is also a C team called Baskonia but I have never seen them in a competitive league.

    ATHLETIC BILBAO ARE FAMOUS FOR ONLY SIGNING BASQUE PLAYERS!!!!!!!!!
    This obviously makes being Bilbao a challenge - you can also sign Spanish players who are 16 but when they turn 17 you cant get them again.

    Facilities wise you start off in the San Mames stadium but in September 2013 the club moves into a new stadium (San Mames Barria) with a larger capacity of 55,000. The club has also got top training facilities and good youth facilites.

    SEASONS EXPECTATIONS

    Euro Cup Qual - £17.5m & £525,000
    Champions Cup Qual - £20.5m & £575,000
    Title Challenge - £22.5m & £575,000

    As you can see you have a fair bit of cash available to spend and I just went for the Euro Cup Qual option but you could easily do the Champions Cup Qual option and manage. Title Challenge? Depends on how good you are and what you plan to do with Llorente - more on this later.......................

    THE SQUAD


    Goalkeepers
    NAME AGE POS VALUE STARS
    Gorka Iraizoz 31 GK £2.6M 3
    Raul Fernandez 24 GK £325,000 2.5

    Iraizoz is a decent enough keeper and can play for a few years yet but Raul Fernandez is not up to scratch really and should only be kept as backup until you can get a better one and then he can be sold or moved to improve the B team. There is a decent young keeper in the u19 side called Kepa Arrizabalaga and I recommend putting him out on loan.

    Transfer target - The only keeper that is any good and Basque is STEPHANE RUFFIER of Saint-Etienne. I got him inthe 3rd season for £17m but he is good enough at the highest level until a regen comes through.

    Centre Halves
    Jon Aurtenetxe 20 DC/L £1.8M 4
    Fernando Amorebieta 27 DC £3.5M 3
    Borja Ekiza 24 DC £2.5M 3
    Carlos Gurpegi 31 DC/DM/MC £1.6M 2.5
    Jonas Ramalho (B) 19 DC/R £325,000 4
    Mikel San Jose 23 SW/DC £3.1M 3.5

    You have a decent set of centre backs here although I prefer to play Aurtenetxe at LB in the first year. Ramalho has potential but I put him in the B team usually so he can develop there. San Jose is a goalscoring centre half who has a high penalty attribute.

    Transfer target - After a couple of years I managed to get the excellent INIGO MARTINEZ off our rivals Real Sociedad and he cost £17m but you can only get him if he is unhappy.

    Full Backs
    Xabi Castillo 26 D/WBL £1.2M 2
    Markel Etxeberria (U19) 17 DR £55,000 4
    Andoni Iraola 30 D/WBR £5.5M 4
    Enric Saborit (B) 20 D/WB/M/AML £230,000 2.5

    Iraola is class but other than that there isnt a lot to shout about here although Etxeberria is definately one for the future. As I mentioned above I play Aurtenetxe at LB.

    Transfer target - I recommend MIKEL BALENZIAGA of Real Valladolid as he can play in either full back position and you can get him for £3m. Also you should aim to get the LB, NATXO MONREAL, off Malaga - he has a £10.5m release clause so I would go in for him in January if he is interested. CESAR AZPILICUETA of Chelsea is a dream signing - if you can manage to get him you wont need another RB for a long time. Finally ASIER DEL HORNO is available on a free transfer if you want to keep your cash.

    Central Midfielders
    Ander Herrera 22 M/AMC £7M 4
    Ander Iturraspe 23 DM/MC £3.4M 3.5
    Inigo Perez 24 DM/MLC £1.2m 2.5
    Inigo Ruiz de Galarreta 18 M/AMC £650,000 4.5

    Herrera is quality - he should be the hub of the team whether you play him at CM or AMC. Iturraspe and Inigo Perez can do a job until you get better while Ruiz de Galarreta turns into a very good player if you give him game time.

    Transfer target - BENAT of Real Betis should always be your first signing. He is an extremely good central midfielder who has high passing and set piece attributes. Expect to pay £15m plus though but he is worth it - you need him anyway in the first season.

    JAVI MARTINEZ
    of Bayern Munich is obviously the dream signing along with XABI ALONSO while the other notable Basque central midfielders are RAUL GARCIA (Atletico Madrid), MIKEL ARTETA, MIKEL RICO (Granada) and ASIER ILLARRAMENDI (Real Sociedad). Illarramendi is a very good player but you can only get him if he is unhappy - which I did at £7m. Also playing for a club in Mexico is a talented youngster called JORGE ESPERICUETA.

    Attacking Midfielders
    Oscar De Marcos 23 WB/M/AMRLC £5.75M 4
    Ibai Gomez 22 AMRL/ST £2.1M 3.5
    Igor Martinez (B) 22 AMRC/ST £875,000 3
    Iker Muniain 19 AMLC/ST £10.5M 5
    Markel Susaeta 24 AMRLC £5.75m 3.5

    Its all about Muniain here. He is world class and he does great wherever you play him be it LW or AMC however in the 2nd season I played him up front as a poacher and he scored o can over 30 goals. Susaeta is better than his star rating and gets goals as does De Marcos. Ibai Gomez is a useful squad player/sub to have.

    Transfer target - ANTOINE GRIEZMANN of Real Sociedad is a fantastic young player but once again you can only get him if he is unhappy. I ended up paying £19m for him but he is a class act who scores and assists regularly.

    Forwards
    Aritz Aduriz 31 ST £3.3M 3
    Fernando Llorente 27 ST £19M 4
    Gaizka Toquero 27 AMR/ST £2.6M 2.5

    Llorente is world class but you have to make a decision here as he intends to leave on a free transfer at the end of the season. What I did was transfer list him the moment the first window shuts in August and Arsenal came in with a bid of £30m. That way I had him for half a season and I still got cash for him too.

    Aduriz is a very good striker and plays brilliantly as a target man - he scored over 30 for me in the first season but I moved Muniain up front in the 2nd season and I sold Aduriz.

    Transfer Target - DIEGO FORLAN is the big name Basque out there but other than that there isnt much quality ones. The best are KIKE SOLA (Osasuna) and IMANOL AGIRRETXE (Real Sociedad)

    STAFF

    A major overhaul is required here from top to bottom. There is a few decent scouts and a youth coach but other than that they can all go.

    I personally like to have a Spanish core of coaches etc and recommend Paco Ayestran, Angel Vales, Rodolfo Borrell and a physio called Javier Vazquez. Also the C team, Baskonia, has an excellent GK coach called Juan Jose Lasuen.

    FORMATION
    I play a 4-2-3-1 but with Bilbao - because of the flexibility of the players - there are so many options. The back 4 picks itself but with at least 5 (6 if you sign Benat) quality midfielders it is hard to say which works best!

    TIPS
    *Do what I did with Llorente (see above)

    *When you see good 16y/o regens and you are struggling to sign them you may be able to get them in on loan easier - that way they obtain and keep their Basque nationality.

    *The two main positions to find/develop are a goalkeeper and a striker - if you sign Ruffier you have 5 or 6 seasons to get a keeper in and unless you want to play and keep Muniain up front you have to hope to find a striker sharpish with Llorente leaving.
    Last edited by KLIPPYBO; 13/11/2012 at 11:22 PM.

  2. Just like to say, I think this a great post, and has persuaded me to start a save with Bilbao after I do an Arsenal one!

    Also, is there no way at all to keep Llorente?
    KLIPPYBO likes this.

  3. KLIPPYBO's Avatar KLIPPYBO
    Newcastle United and Aberdeen Modern Day Legend
    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Scotty98TR View Post
    Just like to say, I think this a great post, and has persuaded me to start a save with Bilbao after I do an Arsenal one!

    Also, is there no way at all to keep Llorente?
    Nope - even with an international footballers reputation etc he is adamant in leaving so as i say its up to you whether you cash in or keep him for a season and lose the £30m

    Bilbao is a perfect team for a long term save as it is all about developing players - you have to plan 3 or 4 years ahead really. In the first few years you spend some cash but after that you spend very little - in fm12 I had over £500m in the bank and the club was worth well over £1bn

    Only in season 3 in my story - The Return of Aitor Herrera - The Boss of Bilbao - but it is going very well!!!!
    xlewisx likes this.

  4. Quote Originally Posted by KLIPPYBO View Post
    Nope - even with an international footballers reputation etc he is adamant in leaving so as i say its up to you whether you cash in or keep him for a season and lose the £30m

    Bilbao is a perfect team for a long term save as it is all about developing players - you have to plan 3 or 4 years ahead really. In the first few years you spend some cash but after that you spend very little - in fm12 I had over £500m in the bank and the club was worth well over £1bn

    Only in season 3 in my story - The Return of Aitor Herrera - The Boss of Bilbao - but it is going very well!!!!
    Ah, gutted

    I was hoping to build the team around Llorente because thats what I did with my Arsenal team on FM12. De Marcos was also great for me in the first season of that save (He won PFA Young Player of the Year) but I bought Tore and started playing the Ox more so got kicked out of the side.

    Is De Marcos still as versatile as he was on last years game? Last year he could play anywhere exept as a ST,CDM,CB or GK?

    And I will be trying to keep up with your story, sounds interesting! Haha

  5. Nice work, definitely gonna try it.

  6. I'm actually in my second season with Athletic. First season was quite easy.. I won La Liga and Europa League. On the second season I have only 2 defeat: One against Real Madrid, and against Zaragoza (I'm in November). I bought (including first season transfer) Benat, Cadamuro a LB RB DM backup, Monreal, Forlan und Griezmann! He was unhappy at Sociedad so I made an offer and it was accepted. I also bought some great regens.

  7. I enjoyed my Atletic save on last years game but I'm quite dissapointed with there starting finances this year. They sold Martinez for £40 million and have half that in the bank and they also have debt! Seems quite strange to me. Also can I ask in your save last season did you get any french basque players? I had the french league going but in the few years I played never got any decent regens going.

  8. On the Llorente front, if you're happy to get £30 million instead of the extra £1.5 million on his release clause you can transfer list him on the first day and Spurs and Arsenal usually throw in a £30 million offer. Gives you best part of £50 million budget, just difficult finding Basque players

  9. Does that mean, you could get an english player in on loan when he is 16 and he would get basque nationality?

  10. @jordymakin - sounds like you didn't consider that Bayern paid 40 million EURO for Martinez, that's actually more like £30 million.

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