Sep 01

Rethinking Your Loan Philosophy: Part 1


“Loans – useful or useless?” It’s a question that was posed recently on the official forums and I believe it highlights the fact that many people do not understand how to use this piece of squad management effectively. Loans can be a very useful tool, both taking them on or doling them out, in order to increase your financial position and aid in player development. The stumbling block, of course, is changing your attitude towards what a loan should be and your exact motivations for participating in a deal.

Loans are not simply just a way to get rid of your worst players.

A natural tendency is for managers to identify their best XI and look to offload the excess talent. Obviously, many understand the need for some type of quality off the bench for substitutions and injury cover. It seems pretty logical then that the remaining members of the squad are the prime candidates for loan. But is this so?

Just like in real-life football, loans deals are made primarily either to get youth experience or to reduce the wage bill. In either case, the loaning club still has a vested interest in utilizing the player at a future time. If this wasn’t so, you’d expect to see a permanent transfer instead of a temporary move.

As dankrzyz points out, FML is void of mid-to-low quality clubs where one squad’s worst player can be another’s superstar. So, why should you expect another manager to use and foot the bill of someone that isn’t good enough for your own squad? This is where negotiating from the other manager’s perspective is key.

Prime loan candidates are starters with adequate cover for their position.

It’s been many a manager’s quandary when two talented players occupy the same position and role for the team. While some will see this as a good problem to have, others will abhor the notion of having a perfectly capable body stuck for a season of late-game substitutions. This can be especially haunting if either of the players are denting the wage bill far past their current worth on the bench.

Although you could consider playing one out of position or merely transfer listing them, neither option is exactly beneficial to the club if you see their potential use in the future or are not in a dire need to raise cash. There is enormous value in rectifying this situation by use of a season-long loan deal.

1. It gives more starting opportunities for more players at your club. A season worth of 6.9’s on another team increases the value of a player more than 6.5’s coming off your bench.

2. It takes up to 50% of their potentially high wage off your financial position. You may seem reluctant to chip in half the wages of a 15k/day player for 0% production, but realize that paying the full amount for only 25% pitch time is actually giving you less value.

Youth loans are meant solely to further benefit their attribute development.

Other than very rare instances, there’s little if any money involved participating in youth-level competitions. As you can see with the abundance of quickplay developmental leagues, the manager’s primary goal is to shape their promising potentials into quality senior squad players for their own use or to sell for a profit. For this reason, there is no viable purpose for another manager to take in a high wage youth only to have them play on the youth level. Most do understand this concept as it’s common to see youth players with 5-10k/day wages languish on the loan list.

What you do see very little of is players of semi-decent caliber listed for a low or zero percentage wage contribution. Answer me: why is it so important to get 50% of a 600/day player’s wages off your books? Of course, every little bit counts, but at that end of the financial spectrum it’s more beneficial to assure that a youngster gets ample playing time (and meet the mythical 6.8+ rating cited for progression).

Dabbling in the youth game is fairly daunting and difficult to maintain effectively for most managers. Help them fill in their youth squads by dealing loans at no cost to them. In return, you get a season’s worth of starting youth experience for those players that may not get so much at your club.

“It’s a shame that loans have gone from one extreme (can be exploited left, right and centre) to utterly unusable. If they need to be so constricted that they are of no benefit to the game then they may as well be removed.” – Little Badger via the official forums

While it can be true that many of the restrictions on loans put into place after beta testing a more unregulated model hampers the use of this feature by most managers. No longer are the days where superstars can be given short-term for important cup finals. No longer can players be “day traded” while another club foots the entire bill. No longer are the exploits that allowed the loan system to be used in an wholly unintended fashion. I’m here to say that simply rethinking your philosophy and the way you look at loans can significantly change your squad management techniques for the better.

Next week, we’ll continue with this modification of thought and take a look at the philosophies behind loaning a player into your squad. Are you expecting too much out of the deal?

Written By Jordan Cooper
A moderator on GW Fowler and a co-founder of Gameworld One.Com, he has hosted/produced the Get Sacked! podcast for nearly two years providing humor and strategical insight to all about the FM series.
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  • Gareth Millward

    Precisely why I rarely ask for more than 25% wage contribution on my youngsters.  O:-)

  • Mark Burton

    Loans are an interesting area of the game, under-utilised for sure. Mostly for the reasons you point out i don't use it often.
    People want way to much for youth loans, basing it on potential instead of acknowledging the loaner is the one whose doing them a favour.

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