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The 10 Players You Must Sign On Football Manager 2009

Football Manager 2009 is out now and the world's greatest ever managerial simulation is no less addictive. The new 3D match engine brings even more realism to a game series that was already dripping with statistics and tactical possibilities.

As is always the case, success in Football Manager 2009 is very much dependent on the quality of player you can bring in.

So to help you get off to a flying start, here are the top 10 players that you must sign on Football Manager 2009.

10. Mirel Radoi - Steau - Central Defense - 27 years old
Start of game value: 4.7m
Purchase price: 8m

If your defense is in need of some stability, this is the man to go for. Though his stats don't look particularly outstanding, Radoi possesses the leadership qualities to make him a natural organizer of your defense and a brilliant captain for your team. Radoi is an aggressive player, with a powerful long range shot. Best to be paired alongside a quick central defender, as a lack of pace is Radoi's major flaw.

9. Pavel Pogrebnyak - Zenit St Petersburg - Striker
Start of game value: 5.5m
Purchase price: 6m

If you're in need of a big striker, then Pogrebnyak makes a very attractive option. Tall and powerful, the 24 year old Zenit St Petersburg star is an effective target man. He has high ratings for finishing and heading and is quite fast for a player of such size. Pogrebnyak can be purchased for a very reasonable 6m and will get you goals, even at Champions League level.

8. Sergio Asenjo - Valladolid - Goalkeeper - 19 years old
Start of game value: 3.9m
Purchase price: 7.25m

Here is a goalkeeper that could serve you brilliantly for several seasons before being sold off at a big profit. As would be expected, Asenjo has high ratings for reflexes, one on ones, command of area, agility, jumping and strength. The Valladolid shot-stopper has a release cause in his contract that will be triggered by a bid of 7.25m.

7. Marcelo - Real Madrid - Left Wing Back - 20 years old
Start of game value: 7.25m
Purchase price: 4.4m

Marcelo is that rare thing; a great player, at a bargain price. You will find that the Brazilian wing back will be transfer listed by Real Madrid at the start of the game and can be purchased for just 4.4m. Don't be put off if you don't play a wing back system, as Marcelo can be relied upon as an attacking full back within a back four. He has all the attributes needed for a modern full back, with high ratings for crossing, technique, pace, acceleration and stamina.

6. Oscar Cardozo - Benfica - Striker - 24 years old
Start of game value: 5.5m
Purchase price: 7m

The Paraguayan international is another option if you're in need of a big forward. At 6ft 4" and with a 19 rating for jumping and heading, few will match him in the air. Cardozo also boasts high ratings for finishing, free kicks and penalties, but it is his long range shooting ability that will cause most discomfort for goalkeepers. His only real weakness is a lack of pace, but pair him with someone fast and you can just let Cardozo do what he does best.

5. Marek Hamsik - Napoli - Central Midfield - 21 years old
Start of game value: 5m
Purchase value: 20m

If you're after a playmaking central midfielder, in the mould of Steven Gerrard, then Marek Hamsik should be the first name on your list. Hamsik will fly forward at every opportunity and will get plenty of goals and assists. Must be purchased quickly, as otherwise Manchester City will strike a deal.

4. Federico Fazio - Sevilla - Sweeper, Central Defense, 21 years old
Start of game value: 4.1m
Purchase value: 8m

Fazio is a no-nonsense central defender with a 20 rating for heading and strength. Allied to the fact that he stands 6ft 5" tall and it is unlikely that he'll lose out in many aerial challenges. Fazio is also pretty fast and mobile enough to do a job as a defensive midfielder.

3. Angelo Palombo - Sampdoria - Defensive Midfield, Central Midfield - 26 years old
Start of game value: 5.5m
Purchase value: 15m

A perfect defensive midfielder, who has the skills to be a threat in a more attacking role. Palombo has a 20 rating for tackling, strength and stamina - the key criteria for a midfield enforcer. You must buy him fast though, as Manchester City will put in a bid within days of the game starting.

2. Darijo Srna - Shakhtar Donetsk - Right Back, Right Wing Back, Right Midfield - 26 years old
Start of game value: 11m
Purchase Value: 18m

If you've got problems on the right hand side of your team, then Srna is your one stop solution, equally brilliant as a right back, right wing back, or right midfielder. Even better, he is an accomplished player in all of these positions on the left flank. With a rating of 20 for crossing and good ability with free kicks and corners, this man will be leading your assist table at the end of the season. Once again, this player will be snapped up by Manchester City, unless you get to him first.

1. Mario Balotelli - Inter Milan - Striker - 17 years old
Start of game value: 5.5m
Purchase value: 13m

Balotelli's stats, combined with his age, make him the number 1 purchase on this list. The Inter striker is a fast and powerful striker, with high ratings for free kicks and corners. He is also an accomplished wide midfielder on either flank, which is where you may prefer to bed him into your team (he'll still get you goals).

Balotelli can be purchased for around 13m, though he may state that he doesn't want to join your club if you're not part of Europe's elite. However, money talks and if you offer him enough, he'll come. Balotelli can also be bought in on loan, with a purchase clause inserted into his contract.

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25 November 2008

Oddly Enough

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