That time of the year is upon us and we’ve been playing Football Manager 21 for about 6 months now, maybe we need something to spice up the game and make it feel fresh and exciting again? That’s why I’ve decided to do a Top 10 Underrated Clubs to try in Football Manager 2021 list. So let’s dive in.
Underrated Club – Atalanta
The first club in our Underrated Clubs to Manage list is Atalanta. They seem like they are on the cusp of greatness in the Italian leagues. They are rich. The owner loves the club. They have excellent training and superb youth facilities. With the right coaches you could turn them into a real powerhouse. The board want you to play high-tempo pressing football, entertaining football, attacking football and develop players in the youth system. There is another requirement in that you sign players from the lower levels domestically. That just adds to the intrigue of Atalanta.
Already at the club you have the likes of Duvan Zapata, Luis Muriel, Remo Freuler, Marten de Roon, Hans Hateboar, Robin Gosens, Rafael Toloi, Jose Luis Palomino, Cristian Romero and Pierluigi Gollini. Already an embarassment of riches. The task will be to make Atalanta a champion of Italy and a force in Europe. Are you up to the task?
Underrated Club – KR Genk
KR Genk from Belgium is a more under the radar pick, but looks like great fun. With superb training & youth facilities you could turn this club into a powerhouse in short order if you can bring in the right coaching staff and customize your training regime. The board want you to develop players using the youth system, sign players under 21, and do not sign players over 30. So this is another youth-centric club looking to make a profit from developing players. Even still, you could start to dominate the Belgian league with Genk and who knows maybe make them a force in Europe?
Already at the club you have Striker Paul Onuachu, midfielders Bryan Heynen, Bastien Toma, Jun’ya Ito, and in defense, Jhon Lucumi, Carlos Cuesta, Daniel Munoz and Gerardo Arteaga. The team certainly looks strong in defence, but you can see the potential this club has. Anyone looking to try out Belgium, should definitely think about managing Genk.
Underrated Club – Partizan
Partizan Belgrade from Serbia is next in our Underrated Clubs list. A storied club often sitting at the top of the Serbian top flight, but I think the real challenge will be can you bring them glory in Europe?
They have excellent training and youth facilities also (Can you see a theme?). The board want you to sign high-reputation players, but do not sign anyone over 33. They also want you to develop using the youth system, play attacking football, and make the most of set pieces. So it’s a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to youth versus experience here.
You’ll want to bring in high profile players as much as you can but there is an age cap, and you also want to mix in the youth. So it’ll be a combination of both at Partizan. Already at the club you have the likes of Filip Holender as your main striker, Milos Jojic, Bibars Natcho, and Sasa Zdjelar in the midfield. Which looks like Partizan’s main strength. Your key defender is the right back Svetozar Markovic, he should be able to contribute in the attacking phase and put in lots of assists Holender and co. can finish off. Can you bring European glory to Partizan and Serbia?
Underrated Club – Djurgardens IF
We are off to Sweden for this next pick in our Underrated Clubs list: Djurgardens IF. The owner loves the club, they have great training and youth facilities. Their finances are secure. The only stylistic requirement is to make the most of set pieces, so you can really play however you want. The board also want you to sign players from the lower levels in Sweden. So I think that the club is relatively conservative but there is high potential here to establish them at the top of the Sweden league. Take advantage of their facilities and bring in the right people, maybe Europe is on the horizon.
Some players already at your disposal are the two strikers Emir Kujovic and Edward Chilulya. Midfielders Haris Radetinac, Nicklas Barkroth, Curtis Edwards, and Magnus Eriksson. Defenders Erik Berg, Aslak Witry and Elliot Kack. It looks like a pretty well balanced squad to me, so you should be able to hit the ground running.
Underrated Club – RB Salzburg
Next on our list of Underrated Clubs is RB Salzburg. Recently coming to prominence in Europe with the emergence of Erling Haaland last season setting the Champions League alight. This club is rich backed by the energy drink company Red Bull, likely with affliations with RB Leipzig and New York Red Bulls in MLS. The owner loves the club, they have superb training and youth Facilites. So I think domination in Austria is definitely on the cards at Salzburg, maybe you can even uncover another gem like Haaland through the youth ranks? Definitely an interesting challenge.
By the looks of it, Red Bull play a modified 4-4-2 with two holding midfielders, Zlatko Junuzovic and Andre Ramalho. The Strike partnership looks formidable with Mergim Berisha and Patson Daka gobbling up most of the goals for the team. A key winger in Enock Mwepu, and the right side of defence looks strong with Oumar Solet and Patrick Farkas. The real challenge again here is to do well in Europe and consistently win the Austrian top flight.
Underrated Club – FC Basel
Next up is another domestic powerhouse in FC Basel. You will be expected to consistently win the Swiss League but the challenge against comes against the big clubs in Europe. They have Excellent training, and superb youth facilities. Their finances are secure, and they want you to play attacking football. The transfer policy is more unique in that they want you to sign players under the age of 22, and develop players using the youth system. Make the most of set pieces, and do not sign players over 32 years of age. So more of a youth challenge at Basel.
Looking at the squad they have a very solid defence. Heinz Lindner in goal, Silvan Widmer, Eray Comert, Timmy Klose and Jorge in defence. Luca Zuffi is the key man in midfield, and the attack is strong also with the likes of Arthur Cabral, Afimico Pululu and Valentin Stocker. Definitely a formidible side in the Swiss League. Can you bring them European glory?
Underrated Club – Atletico Mineiro
I didn’t want to make this entire list based in Europe, so for this pick we are travelling to Brazil and featuring Atletico Mineiro. Financially, they aren’t quite a powerhouse, but they are a Brazilian wonderkid factory. They have excellent training and youth facilities and the board want you to play attacking football, and develop players in the youth system. The challenge is to get Atletico consistently on top of the Brazilian league and to try and win trophies in the continental competition. I feel like you could make some money developing talent here and selling to the big clubs in Europe as well.
The main player you have at your disposal here is Guilherme Arana, a left back on loan from Sevilla. A 34 year old Hulk is also on the books, Ignacio Fernandez, Eduard Vargas, and Keno are all up there in age but provide good quality and experience going forward. In general it’s quite an old squad, but over a few seasons you could really start to bring in some youth and keep the veterans around that can help mentor them.
Underrated Club – Beijing Guoan
Over to Asia we go for our next Underrated Clubs list member, this time we are in China and this is Beijing Guoan or Beijing FC. The Capital club of China, the owner loves the club, the finances aren’t amazing but they have superb youth facilities. Maybe this club is primed for a building a nation challenge? There are some board rules, you are not allowed to sign non-Chinese GKs, you must sign high-rep players and play possession football. I love a good possession based team
There are some foreign players on huge wages here, look at Cedric Bakambu. He has to be your best player though as an attacking winger or striker. Renato Augusto and Jonathan Viera also in the midfield should be among your best players. There are some foreign player limits in the Chinese league as you will find out. Beyond that you will want to develop some youth prospects through your system. There are a few teams competing at the top in China and you will be tasked with winning the league consistently and doing well in Asia also. Chinese could be great fun if you’ve never been there before.
Underrated Club – Olympiakos
Back to Europe we go with Olympiakos in Greece next in our Underrated Clubs list. Olympiakos are the big dogs in Greece. They’re expected to win the league nearly every season. In Europe however they have been relatively unaffective. However the club has great training and excellent youth facilities. The owner loves the club, and their finances are secure. The board wants your to play attacking football, possession football, entertaining football, and develop players in the youth system. You must also sign high-rep players. So this is another mixed bag of signings and youth prospects you want to bring through.
By bringing through the Greek youth I think you could have a positive effect on the Greek national team and also make some money selling players to other big clubs in Europe. Already in the squad you have goalscoring machine Youssef El Arabi. Attacking midfielders like Mathieu Valbuena, Kostas Fortounis, and Giorgos Masouras. Quality in midfield from Yann M’Vila, and great defenders in Ousseynou Ba, Jose Holebas, Ruben Semedo and goalkeeper Jose Sa.
You may walk the league with Olympiakos but adventures in Europe will be the real romance for this club, and passionate fanbase to boot.
Underrated Club – Kasimpasa
Last but not least we are heading over to Turkey and feature Kasimpasa in our final club of the Underrated clubs list. They have excellent training & youth facilities. The owner loves the club and their finances are secure. The only rule is you must sign players under 23 years of age. So this will be a young squad for years to come. You’ll want to develop these kids and sell them on, hopefully building the clubs bank account in the process. Maybe after a few season the board will change their mind and focus more on becoming a powerhouse in Europe.
This will be a good long term save in Turkey, and hopefully you can build Kasimpasa up to be a force in the Turkish league, competing with the likes of Galatasaray, Besiktas and Fenerbahce. Already in the squad you have a lot of loan players. So this squad could use some rebuilding if you’re into that type of project. After a few seasons though you could really mold a team like this.
I hope you enjoyed the list, I mainly compiled this to try and give people a bit of spark and intrigue. Try to cure some of the FM burnout some of us experience after playing the game for 6 months or so. This could be the beginning of a great journey for you and maybe you will give these clubs a try. Let me know how it goes in the comment section if you do! Until next time.
- Tips for International Management
- Top 10 Underrated Clubs to Manage in FM21
- Read to win: How football books can improve your FM experience
- FM21: How To Survive In The Top Division
- Total Football Journeyman: Perfecting the Attacking Trident