How to Scout and Sign the Best Players in Football Manager 2021

Who was the best signing of all time? Is it Lionel Messi or Christiano Ronaldo? Or is it Pele, or even the late, great Maradona?

Actually, it’s none of those. And I’ll tell you why. Back in the 80s Charlton Athletic, in the British Second Division, signed former player of the year Allan Simonsen. In today’s terms, that’s like Messi signing for Wycmobe. He was amazing; I’ve been told he is the best player ever to play at the Valley. However, he lasted the whole of a quarter of a year before the money got tight and he had to move on. This dire signing ended up being a catalyst to the club losing their ground for nearly a decade.

My point is: the best player isn’t always the best signing. It is about getting the right player at the right price. That’s as true in Football Manager 2021 as it is in the real world. So how can you be sure to find the best player to suit your needs? Here’s everything you need to know about how to scout and sign the best players in Football Manager 2021.

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How to Scout Players in Football Manager 2021

You can scout nearly any player in Football Manager 2021 within your game’s database by simply typing in their name, right-clicking and assigning a scout to them. Even if that player is outside your club’s agreed scouting range, you have the option to spend additional money on that player. But this is not cost or time effective, and a scout can only do so many things at a time. Instead, it’s best to scout in a clever fashion.

If you go into the scouting section on the left hand side of the screen you will be able to look at what scouting is all about. The first tab is your scouting centre: this is where you’ll find information from your scouts and recruitment analysts about their assignments. Essentially, it’s an update screen. This is more useful when you have tailored your scouts to assignments that are beneficial to you.

Creating a Good Network

Establishing a good network of known players is important for any manager looking to find a deal in the transfer market. The scope of this network will vary depending on your club’s resources, but any club that sets itself up the right way for scouting will have an edge over its competitors.

The first thing to do is check the ability of your scouting team and if you have any vacancies. Depending on your club’s financial help, you should try and get the best scouts possible for your league. Simply go to Staff > Staff Search, then filter by Judging Player Ability or Judging Player Potential.

If you have a big scouting team in Football Manager 2021 then it may be worth looking at scouts that are particularly good at one or the other. However if you have a small team, then a mix of both is preferred.

When hiring your scouts, you can also look at their knowledge of different regions. Those who have more acquired knowledge already will mean you can hit the ground running with their experience. Adaptability helps scouts get better acquainted with new areas quicker and so is more important for scouts that are working globally.

Setting the Right Assignments

Once you have your scouts and other recruitment team sorted, you will be able to start setting up your assignments. Make sure that you have scouting responsibility and will create the assignments. This can be sorted simply at the top left of the assignments tab in the scouting section.

Make sure first of all the basics are covered and that you have an ongoing assignment on the best opposition. No matter how small your club, it’s also worth scouting the competition you’re in; it’s more for tactical reasons than recruitment. This scout will want ‘high judging player ability’.

Now, depending on the amount of scouts you have left, you have several options in order to best maximise the ability of scouting the best players. Firstly, if you need a player immediately in a position you are missing, you can set up an assignment for a scout to search just for them. Make sure the scout assigned has a high ‘judging player ability’ score and a decent ‘judging player potential’.

It’s useful to use the rest of your scouts to build contacts for the future. If you’re managing a small club in Football Manager 2021, it’s a good idea to have a scout searching the local area with ‘high judging potential ability’ in order to find good players for the future. If you’ve got more money, then you can search globally. You can also rely on the high adaptability of some scouts to create new networks in new places.

If you are a top team, with world-class scouts, then applying this method will help you identify newly generated wonderkids before anyone else.

Choosing the Right Player

Once you have set up your assignments correctly and your Football Manager 2021 scouts have been at work, you will want to see the talent they have uncovered. You can search through these players in several ways. Interesting players will be highlighted in the scouting centre alongside potential players that have been brought to the club’s attention.

But if you are looking for a particular player then you can go to Players > Scouted. From there, you can further filter them by your specific requirements, such as position and likely financial cost.

Signing the Right Player in Football Manager 2021

If you look at your chosen player’s report, you will be able to see their expected cost and wage as well as their interest in signing for your club. If you are sure the player wants to play for your club, then you may want to urge on the lower border of these suggestions. However, if many teams are coaxing the same player, you may well need to offer him a bigger wage or make promises in order to entice them your way.

For example, you can promise the player that you are planning on strengthening your coaching team to make him more interested in your club. To do this go to the ‘Transfer’ drop down menu, and select ‘make an offer’. Based on your scouting you should be able to make a fair but cost efficient deal. Then, if you are accepted by the club you can try and coax that player to your club using the above techniques to grease the wheels.

If you have invested your time well and set up your assignments correctly in Football Manager 2021, you should have established a decent network with unrivalled intel on players. You can use this knowledge to make an informed decision on who will be the best signing for your club.