Season 2016 was a good one. I won the Treble—League, Cup, European Cup—but it left me unsatisfied for a lot of reasons.
Number one was that I felt I shouldn’t have won the Treble. I messed up the start of the league season and should never have been able to overtake the CPU team at the top. When PES indulges in macro-scripting, it’s often not very subtle about it.
What does it all mean for season 2017 and beyond? It means that I now want to win a proper Treble. I want to win it in style. I want to dominate in the league and win it comfortably. I’d like one of my players to take the Golden Boot (my early money’s on Andy Cole to do that). I also want to move my team up to #1 in the overall club rankings. I can’t believe Barcelona are at #1. They’ve done nothing of note in this Master League. Nothing.
After several negotiations periods where I didn’t get any new players, I felt that I should at least have a look for some. My squad is great—some of my players are at the very top of their game and could be described as brilliant—but overall things feel a little stale. Also, I do have some lightweights. A couple of my players never seem to get a game and remain underused and underdeveloped. Larsson in particular—a great PES striker—has suffered from lack of use. On the odd occasions throughout the seasons when international callups, injuries, and fatigue have forced me to use him, I’ve found him to be a player of low ability compared to the rest of my team. It shows, sometimes painfully.
I’d like to offload Larsson, and by this stage Donk, for some replacements with considerably better stats. Money is certainly no object. Even after my mammoth wages bill is taken into account, I’ve got a staggering 150,000+ points to play with, as the blurry picture shows. Could I get it up to 1,000,000 before PES2009 comes out? I think I could. (But would it go up to 1,000,000? I don’t think there’s room for another digit there.)
I called up the list of All Players, and sorted according to the Attack stat. I was pleased to note that I already had most of the top-rated players in my squad. Shaw was the top-rated according to Attack. I’d never managed to get him despite many years of trying. He’s 25 now, and still just young enough for it to be worth getting him. If I leave it any longer he’ll be in decline.
I forget which club he was at. It wasn’t one of the big ones—it was somebody like Parma. Whoever it was, I offered them 40,000 points plus Larsson. I offered Shaw himself a salary of 3000 points, eight hundred more than my next-best-paid player, Schwarz. I thought I was bound to get Shaw. I’d just won the Treble. My club ranking was second only to Barcelona. There was no reason why he wouldn’t come, surely?
He wouldn’t come. Or his club wouldn’t deal. I don’t know which it was. (Another innovation I’d love to see in PES2009: detailed reasons why transfer bids break down.) What should I amend for my next offer? The points offered, the player offered, the salary offered, what? There was no way of knowing for sure.
So I played safe and bumped up the points on offer to the maximum possible. 59,999. I don’t know why you can’t offer any more points than that. 59,999 seems a pretty arbitrary figure to me. If it’s limited to five digits, why not 99,999? Anyway, I offered Larsson in part exchange again, and this time I offered Shaw 3500 salary points. And once again it was all refused.
I gave up at that point. I was also trying for a couple of other players as well. The excellent Bos would have been a welcome addition to my defence, but he turned his nose up at all offers. Khumalo wouldn’t come for any money. Nobody wanted to come to me. I don’t know what it was, and I didn’t care to find out. I skipped all the remaining negotiations weeks. To hell with them. I’ve got a great squad anyway. Larsson can still be built up into a great player. I played my one pre-season friendly, against Rangers (a 1-1 draw), and moved onto the season proper.
On the First XI front, it’s time for Andy Cole to become an automatic first choice. He’s just too good. He’s not just a handy goal-poacher, as he was in real-life (when he was in the right mood). He’s also fast, skilful, and unerringly just there, in the right place, at the right time, to get crucial goals. I think he could win the Golden Boot in this coming season. We shall see.
Kim Cyun Hi moves to his natural position of central striker. There’s a sense in which Kim Cyun Hi is on trial for me this season. He came highly recommended, but so far I’ve only seen flashes. He is still very young, and probably has yet to fully mature. When he’s been great for me, he’s been great for me down the middle, and he’ll get a full season to prove his worth.
Dropping Schwarz to the bench for the sake of Kim Cyun Hi might seem a bit foolhardy, but it’s a bit of a no-brainer for me. As good as Schwarz is (and he’s very good), I just never seem to get the best out of him. He scores a lot fewer goals than I think he should. And I can see that Kim Cyun Hi, if used correctly, is a striker more in keeping with my pass-and-move style of play.
Otherwise I’m making no changes to the First XI. It’s largely a cosmetic selection anyway, as ever. Very few games will see this exact team take to the field. Over on the left of midfield, I did look long and hard at Dos Santos. He’s 28 now and his best years are almost behind him. However, I don’t have any other dedicated left-footed AMFs in my squad (something to shop for in the mid-season), so he keeps his place for now.