Did you know that Preston North End paid their star player Nick Cross £10 a week in 1888? Things have come a very, very long way since then.
Football is now one of the biggest businesses in the world. Players are paid thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of pounds a week to put on jaw-dropping performances for their teams.
Due to the sport now being such a seriously taken business, it’s also crucial that the finances are always kept on top of, and the same truth remains in Football Manager. That doesn’t mean throwing loads of money at the problem is a long-term solution for success, and in Football Manager, your board can quickly turn against you if you’re flushing money down the drain!
Furthermore, your fans may soon turn against you if can no longer afford to bring in good players and maintain the level of competition that they expect.
Alongside tactics, finances are probably the most important part of Football Manager. If you have long-term ambitions to take your club to the top or keep them there, it’s important you’re not spending more than you’re making in the long term, especially with rules like Financial Fair Play now in place!
Here are the 6 best ways to reduce wage demands on Football Manager.
How to reduce wage demands on Football Manager
Here are 6 strategies you can use to reduce a player’s wage demands:
#1 Don’t play them too much
Your best bet for reducing individuals’ wage demands is to generally lower their expectations. If your star striker is scoring week in and week out, it will be clear to him that he is a crucial player to your team and that he doesn’t deserve a wage cut.
Sending this message by building a team around him and playing him every week will have him expecting a wage increase if you’re not careful.
It’s always better to gradually introduce a player to the idea that their value to your club may be diminishing.
It’s a hard balance to get right, considering that you must also uphold your performance on the pitch. Wherever possible, leave your player on the bench or out of the match-day squad so that they can come to appreciate there are other things that you value at the club.
This transition shouldn’t be done with too much haste. Sending your star signing straight to the reserves may result in an unhappy player, an unhappy squad and even an unhappy fan base!
If you have the space to bide your time though, then reducing the number of minutes your player has on the pitch can go a long way to making the wage expectations more manageable.
#2 Move them to the reserve squad
However, sometimes players just won’t get the message and will be more than content with carrying on at their current wage rates whilst taking on fewer minutes.
If the situation gets really desperate, you can hammer home the point of your player’s dispensability by placing them in the reserves.
However, this is a risky tactic that can just as easily land you with a rebelling group of players rather than a reduced wage structure. You’re more likely to have good luck with this strategy if the player is young or already on the fringes of your squad.
Placing a star player straight into the reserves with no transition period is a Hail Mary at best, but it’s always there if you’re completely out of other ideas.
#3 Offer them other contract incentives
Sometimes it’s better to take a less aggressive approach. Many players will respond well to being offered financial compensation in other areas if you ask them to lower their wages. There is an abundance of ways that you can diversify the financial incentives of your players during contract negotiations.
If you know that they’re going to be worth those high demands in a few years, you can promise them a wage bounce when they reach a certain number of international appearances, or give them a large bonus when your team wins a promotion or a trophy.
If you are confident that your financial situation at the club will improve in the coming years, a yearly wage rise that potentially takes them past the rates that they’re currently on could convince more patient squad members that taking a wage hit in the short term is a good idea.
#4 Don’t sign other high-wage players
All of this is going to be a lot harder to pull off if you have other expensive signings coming in on top wages! Members of your squad naturally compare themselves to one another and the last thing that they’ll be thinking about is a wage cut if they’ve just seen a colleague coming only extortionate amounts of money.
If you can make it clear to your team that the wage structure is dropping by bringing in cheaper signings and cheaper contracts, then they will be far more open-minded.
If they see that you’re dishing out money to new people then, once again, they’re more likely to ask for wage increases than accept a wage reduction.
You can find out more about renewing your player’s contracts here.
#5 Improve your club’s reputation
It’s not all about money with some players though. Others do it for the glory or to be seen as a club legend one day.
The stature of your club is likely to be a big factor in how much a player wants to be a part of your team for football’s sake, rather than for money. If you make it clear that your club fights for trophies or is on its way to the top, incoming players are far more likely to buy into your ambition and show more negotiating space during contract talks.
Keep an eye on your team’s prestige to see if you can attract players without huge financial rewards.
#6 Dealing with agents
Agents can be rather pesky, and here are 2 strategies you can use:
Working the players
Before diving into those contract talks though, it’s always best to have a chat with the player first. The cost of most contracts are greatly increased by the player’s agent.
At lower levels, your players may not have agents, but once you start getting into the higher tiers of the football pyramids, these figures can make contract negotiations a nightmare.
Getting rid of a player’s agent is almost always going to make contract negotiations more financially fruitful for you, and possibly even for your player. Some agents demand millions for their “services” when this money could be much better paid to bonuses or your team’s transfer kitty.
If a player has an agent, then it’s possible through the interaction tab to suggest to the individual that they fire him. Some players will agree straightaway that they’ve been considering such a move, whilst others will require some convincing.
Working the agents
Unfortunately, some agents are just latched on too tight and there’s no way of getting rid of them. In these cases, you may get some luck out of overpaying the agent in the contract negotiations, at which point he is more likely to budge on things like weekly wages.
Picking the right attributes for your manager at the beginning of your game will affect how likely the suggestions to your players are to succeed. They are also more likely to bear fruit if you hold good relationships with your players or are coming into the club with a good reputation.
Sometimes they’ll even ditch the agents on their own accord, so it’s always worth paying attention to your inbox so you can dive into contract negotiations as soon as you see the two have split ways.
Agents are a pain but approach the situation the right way and you may be able to reduce a player’s wage demands.
#7 All-out approach
Don’t go into each negotiation thinking there’s definitely a way you can reduce a player’s wages. It’s always more advantageous to take a holistic approach, combing through your squad and seeing where the best opportunities crop up for wage reductions.
Some players are just too attached to their current pay rate to take a considerable drop but there are always likely to be a few members of your squad who can be talked down to a more reasonable level.
Follow these tips and your overall wage bill should come down in no time!
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