It's heartbreaking, letting one of your players go only to find that a year or two later he's blossomed into one of the league's top stars... but perhaps it's even more gutting to pass up a huge offer for someone only to find that he fails to live up to expectations.
There's a very fine line between an extremely tempting offer and an almost un-rejectable offer, hopefully this blog post can help you decipher the difference.
The Extremely Tempting Offer
Often coming near the end of a transfer window, these bids take advantage of something I like to call 'the last minute factor', and are used to trick us into decisions we would otherwise deem rather irrational.
As deadline day approaches, we all get that buzz, that tingle in our stomach that says, 'Wait! I can make something special happen here.' Usually this comes in the form of a nonsensical incoming transfer - I once ended up spending 150k on Morgan Amalfitano, only for him to make one substitute appearance - however, it can sometimes mean a significant offer from another club for one of your players.
If this happens, you need to take several things into account:
Financial Circumstances - Is your wage bill currently far higher than your initial wage budget? Is the club in a monetary mess? Will the gain you'll make mean you can afford a long-term target? If not, then what is the benefit of selling?
Player Potential - How old is the player? Perhaps if he's approaching his 30's and you've identified a replacement in his early 20's then selling is worth the risk.
Player Power - How will the player react? If you're playing as Bournemouth and Manchester United come in for Matt Ritchie, can you be sure he won't react badly to the rejection of a transfer offer? Can you offer him the promise of a similar level of football or similar wages in the near future?
The Last Minute Factor - If this offer came in half-way through the window, would you have even considered it? Don't let the Harry Redknapp mindset force you into rash decisions.
These offers all come down to risk and reward, £17 million for a £10 million rated player may seem like a bid too good to reject on deadline day but always consider the impact it could have on your team. If you're playing as Chelsea and someone comes in with a big offer for Diego Costa on deadline day, you've got to question where your goals going to come from. Instant money is all well and good but if, it means the difference between finishing 4th and finishing 7th, it could end up costing you in the long run.
The Almost Un-rejectable Offer
I'm very reluctant to sell players, sometimes to the point were it ends up causing major problems, nevertheless, even I find that sometimes the only viable option is to get rid.
An un-rejectable offer may only come along once or twice throughout a whole career but, when it does, you need to be able to identify it.
As with most things, I learnt about this by making a big mistake. Playing as Everton, I rejected a £500k bid for an ageing Tim Howard - knowing full well I was going to go and sign the loan-listed Asmir Begovic in the same window.
Sentiment played a real part here, I knew Howard wasn't far off a testimonial and I wanted him to have the best send off possible. Unfortunately, this attempt at 'doing the right thing' quickly backfired as my failure to rid myself of Howard's substantial wages meant I couldn't afford Begovic's loan fees.
I eventually sent Howard off to the MLS for a fee of... wait for it... £0.
Of course these kinds of offers are a lot more difficult to accept when they come in for a young player. In my first Everton season, I was able to sign the excellent youngster, Matheus Pereira, on loan with a view to a £6 million permanent move, he mainly appeared as a substitute but did enough to convince me to sign him up.
Fast forward a season and Pereira is still only a bit-part player but, his impressive international performances - coupled with several goals from my bench - mean his value has shot up. I receive a bid from Atletico worth a total of £15 million for the youngster - an offer which falls into the aforementioned extremely tempting bracket - however, I know I can squeeze out a bit more money out of the Spanish giants if I really want to.
My club is in a position where it doesn't need to sell yet, given the fact Pereira can't break his way into the first team, I'm not averse to letting him go. In this situation, I have all the power, I can be cheeky with negotiations knowing that the only two outcomes are:
1) Receiving an offer I deem too good to turn down.
2) Keeping a player I know has the potential to be top quality.
I ended up asking for £21 million for the tricky playmaker and Atletico obliged. I made a neat £15 million profit safe in the knowledge that my starting 11 was no worse off for the decision.
That's it from me for today! Feel free to agree/disagree/share your experiences in the comments below. Good luck keeping a lid on those pesky last minute Harry Redknapp style offers and, until next time, enjoy playing FM 2016.