All summer long I’ve been tracking and updating the transfers that have been completed or rumored during this summer window. While the impact on each individual club can only be speculated I wanted to take a deep dive and see how this will impact FIFA 16 Ultimate Team. Every time there are major movements with players between leagues it creates a ripple effect throughout FUT.
- Who are the potential replacements for those players at that position?
- How much are they going to cost? (Supply & Demand)
- What is this going to do to over all chemistry?
- Will someone else get a boosted rating because now they’re the best at their position?
The Italian Serie A used to be as competitive as any league in the entire world. The likes of Kaka, Ronaldo, Nedved and Zidane were winning World Player of the Year Awards. Back in 2006 Italy was ranked 2nd in the UEFA Country Rankings only trailing Spain. For the next four years they would drop one slot as England surpassed them with the rise of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. Then from 2011 to now the Serie A would fall yet another spot to 4th overall with the German Bundesliga taking their place in the Top 3.
This past season Juventus made the Champions League final only to lose to Barcelona but they were the first Italian side to make the finale since the 2009-2010 season when Inter Milan won the tournament. Prior to Inter’s victory, AC Milan won two UCL trophies in the decade in ’06/07 and ’02/03 but Italian success on the European level was few and far between. The outlook for any Italian side to not only make the final game but to win seems very distant at this point.
I always enjoyed making Italian Serie A squads on FUT partly because everyone else was too busy building up their Premier League or La Liga teams that prices were more reasonable. Also in virtually every pack you open there is at least one Italian midfielder rated in the low 80s so accumulating a squad was very simple. That feeling is changing as the Serie A is losing talent at an alarming rate.
THE ETO’O EFFECT
The biggest impact will be what I call “The Eto’o Effect”. Remember back in FIFA 12 when Samuel Eto’o left Inter Milan for Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia? At the time he was an 88 striker with 93 pace, 85 dribbling and 83 shooting and he was completely worthless. Unless you were going to build a Russian speed team with moderately rated players your use for Eto’o was minimal. His Cameroon nationality didn’t even lend him to be valuable from an international club stand point either.
The point I’m making is that he went from 100 to 0 real quick. We’re going to face the exact same situation with FIFA 16 as Carlos Tevez is leaving Juventus of the Serie A and heading back to Argentina to play for Boca Juniors. The Italian league is losing it’s highest rated striker (and player) and now leaves us with a pu-pu platter of options at the goal scoring spot. Arturo Vidal the only other player in the Serie A rated as an 85 is also leaving Juventus in favor of Bayern Munich in Germany according to reports. To put that in perspective the Premier League had 13 players rated 85 or above, the Bundesliga had 10, Spanish La Liga had 11 and even the French Ligue 1 had 3 players above that rating.
FIFA 11/12 GLORY DAYS
Not too long ago the options in the Serie A were bountiful and plenty. Some of the world’s best goal scorers were playing in Italy the likes of: Samuel Eto’o, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani. There was also a slew of above average strikers still in their prime who could net with the best of them: Antonio Di Natale, Diego Forlan, Miroslav Klose, Diego Milito, Antonio Cassano, Alexandre Pato, Giampaolo Pazzini, Fabrizio Miccoli, Robinho and Francesco Totti to name a few. A lot of those names are still in Italy but they are pushing their late 30s and are more fit for the MLS than Serie A.
FIFA 15 SLIM PICKINS
The landscape has changed dramatically. Below are the Top rated strikers in FIFA 15 in the Serie A. Mind you that Carlos Tevez, Fernando Torres (Atletico Madrid, Spanish La Liga), Mario Gomez (Beskitas, Turkey) and Samuel Eto’o (Antalyaspor, Turkey) will be off that list in 2016. In terms of base rating (excluding In-Forms) Tevez was the highest rated striker at an 85 overall with total stat accumulation of 467 points. No one else really comes close to that tally.
The next tier has some good secondary strikers but no one I’m really excited to build my team around. You can sub down to Higuain and keep your chemistry the same but you’ll be losing speed and passing ability. Higuain has also been rumored to leave Napoli every summer with links to Arsenal always being mentioned. If you want the pace then go with Rossi or Doumbia but again you’ll be lacking in overall ability. The closest player that you can get to Tevez is really Rodrigo Palacio aka Rat Tail. His Pace/Shot/Pass ratings are comparable but his overall ability is down due to lack of aerial ability, foot skills, etc and he’s not even a rare gold card.
The third tier might as well be the AARP tier because these three are all playing on the back nine. If you go with a team that has Llorente, Klose or even Francesco Totti in any type of 4-4-2 or 4-3-1-2 formation you’re going to get destroyed. It all depends at what level you’re trying to compete. Sure you can have some competitive games against the computer on a middle of the road difficulty with these strikers but if you’re going to enter the online forum you will be crushed. FIFA is a game that rewards speed and not necessarily methodical tactics. You’re not going to out dribble anyone with Fernando Llorente or Miroslav Klose, you may get a nice curler or volley attempt but don’t expect counter attack breakaways.
So what is there to look forward to in FIFA 16 Ultimate Team? What prospects do you have if you wish to build a Serie A team? The answer is not that much but depending on how the ratings shake out you might have a couple of options…
If you want to play a slow, tactical, ground pass to ground pass soccer then you can build a decent Serie A team. Don’t be upset when you’re blown out of the water going up against a German team featuring Patrick Aubamayeng and Marco Reus who are shredding your midfield apart. The Italian Serie A is still head and shoulders above the MLS but right now but I’d put them closer to the French or Portuguese league. I know the current UEFA Country rankings shows Italy above them but I think the gap is narrowing and that could change if the larger clubs like Inter Milan, AC Milan and Napoli continue to hover in commonness.
Higuain – If he does end up staying at Napoli I can see him getting a boost to an 85 as the top rated striker in the league. He’ll essentially take Tevez place as the most potent goal scoring option. He’s a consistent scorer with weak foot ability and strong shot power.
Icardi – I have to believe someone like Icardi will get a significant boost from his original card rated as a 76. He finished the year at an 84 with his Team of the Season card and they bumped his pace to an 87 and shooting to 92. They even gave him 99 finishing ability which is incredible. I’m predicting his starting FUT16 rating to be an 80, possibly 81.
Mandzukic – He was a solid 83 striker during his time at Atletico Madrid and now that he’s moving to Juventus he’ll likely get more opportunities. I don’t expect his rating to change much I think he’s an 83/84 type of player who does very well in the air with headers. He’s a good shot but lacks the passing or dribbling skills to put him among the Ultimate Team elite.
Pogba – Everyone’s favorite gem in the Serie A is going to be Paul Pogba and for good reason. There’s nothing to dislike about Pogba’s game both on the pitch and in the game. He’s a very talented attacking midfielder who’s taken that big step from potential break out player to international superstar. He’s right on the cusp of breaking into that star status and 2016 could be his year. I expect a very high rating for Pogba, possibly an 87 overall. He holds value with a French National team connection but you can also plug him into a beast mode type of team as he has chemistry links that work.
Doumbia – You are either going to love him or hate him. Depending on your style of player he’s either gold or garbage. Some players you just click with, for example I dominate with Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon in France or Loic Remy of Chelsea and I couldn’t hit the backside of a barn with Edinson Cavani. Doumbia is that type of player so buyer beware make sure you test him out before spending the coin.