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Football Manager 2024 review: Any Given Sunday

FM 2024 is inevitably an end-of-cycle game
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"We did a lot of work on the transfer market this year [and] there were actually fewer injuries in Football Manager 23 than in real life." That's what Sports Interactive's studio director Miles Jacobson told GLHF in an interview earlier this month. And it's worth recalling these words as the transfer market and injuries are still some of our biggest concerns in Football Manager 2024.

We would never dare to contradict the words of such an industry legend, with whom we had one of the most delightful chats of our career. But playing Football Manager 2024, it's clear that things are a tad different in practice.

Let's start with the transfer market. Even on a limited budget, you always find ways to buy new players, whether it’s installments or some kind of bonus. However, something’s still off compared to real soccer.

Our biggest concern is that, most times, players will refuse your offers as they’ve already a contract signed with their clubs. Which is something that never happens in real football - anytime a bigger club comes for a player, that player just leaves.

Why would a youngster like Kayode turn down a rich offer under the pretext of having just renewed his contract with Fiorentina? When has this ever been an obstacle in today's soccer?

FM24 Club Info screen

It's the same reason why so many deals don't go through in the first season, as in the case of Salernitana's Mazzocchi (yes, we needed a full-back). And we could give you so many other examples in the same vein.

Since they're a tool designed exclusively for selling players, intermediaries do not help too much in this regard, and when they do, it's mainly for loan deals that do not bring in fresh money to reinvest on the market. They're all waiting for ours, it seems.

As for the Arab market, Jacobson didn't give too much away when speaking to us, but mentioned it'd play a role in the game. And it did.

The Roshn Saudi League wasn't included among playable leagues (clubs and best players are, though), but the Saudis' is a looming and massive presence. Whether it's them being interested in your players, or pitching crazy bids both in the summer and in January, it's a notable disruptive force.

January is typically a whirlwind - it's when you receive offers, refuse them, and people in the team get angry at you. However, with new variables like the Arab money, it's even more difficult to keep good relations with your team.

FM24 screenshot of the Training screen

A good example of how tough it can be is how you deal with long-injured players. We had Abraham returning two months after squad lists closing in January and kept him out as our Serie A list was full. Of course, he turned out incredibly disappointed, and some of his colleagues got mad, too. That ultimately kind of ruined our mood in the dressing room.

Beyond these little touches, Football Manager 2024 turns out to be pretty predictable. You'll know immediately when you're about to have a few good weeks or a couple bad ones, and performance collapsing around January has been an established pattern for years now.

Injuries are also hard to explain. Whatever Jacobson told us, and having said most of Roma's squad is injury-prone, it's just not realistic that we get as many as three injuries in the same game. While setbacks are part of the job, they are constant interruptions in the flow of the game, and when there are so many, they tend to feel like a joke.

It's not like the game doesn't come with its innovations, though. Generously, Sports Interactive made an effort to include some new gameplay features.

FM24 Tactics screen

New animations on the pitch are a nice addition. Now, players touch the ball with more parts of their feet and have a greater variety in their first touch, which adds a pleasant layer of realism when watching a match.

If the team managed to bring improvements like this on a dated engine, one wonders what they will be able to pull off next year, once they move to Unity.

On corner kicks, you can tweak them in the smallest details with a series of meticulous pre-sets, and then see them fail or succeed based on your preferences. It's a treat for fine palates.

Just beware of who's kicking them - once the shortlist of three runs out, the game picks totally random players. With AS Roma, we ended up with Lukaku (center forward) and N'Dicka (central defender) kicking them off to general dismay.

Speaking to the team and in meetings, situational touches are appreciable. On the final fixture in a season, you can tell your players that you are still in for a Champions League spot. And if you lost to Liverpool in Europa League, your management will be sad, but also recognize your opponent was superior.

However, decades-old generic lines in speeches and meetings still remain in the Football Manager code - such as the now cringe-worthy incitement about showing the crowd that they're worth the money spent on the ticket. Even from these minor details, it's clear how the time for a change has come.


So many things don't add much to the flow of the game, and players ignore them all the time - we just wish they get ticked off next year, or at least given less relevance when starting a new season. If anyone can do it, it's Miles Jacobson and Sports Interactive, so we are hopeful for the franchise's foreseeable future.

Football Manager 2024 is inevitably an end-of-cycle game. SI's passion meant that even this year, we got a number of decent innovations, some surprising like the improvements in animation. However, the outdated engine and gameplay patterns, more and more easy to read, are still there with them. You'll play it and enjoy it, but don't necessarily expect a memorable release.

Score: 7/10

  • Technical performance: 8/10
  • Visuals: 8/10
  • Audio and music: 6/10
  • Mechanics and systems: 7/10

Version tested: PC