Welcome to this Football Manager 2019 team guide for Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio. In this guide, I, Shadow, intend to help you set yourself up for success with the Atalanta BC.
· Name – Atalanta Bergamasca Calcio
· Nicknames – Orobici, Nerazzurri (not to be confused with Inter Milan), La Dea
· Founded - 1907
· Stadium – Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia
· Stadium Capacity – 21,300
· Current Manager – Gian Piero Gasperini
Atalanta Club History
Atalanta was formed by a group of Swiss students in 1907. It was initially called Foot Ball Club Bergamo, but a merger of three clubs led to the creation of today’s Atalanta BC. The club joined the Italian league in 1929 and made it to the top flight in 1937, just 8 years later.
The club has oscillated between Serie A and Serie B since, and even dropped to the depths of Serie C in the 1980s. However, a change in ownership in 2011 saw the club win promotion to the top flight, where it has remained since. Atalanta have finished the current season (2018-19) in 3rd place, their best ever finish. While this is not reflected in your FM Save, it is something you will be expected to come close to by the fans.
· Coppa Italia - 1
· Serie B Title - 6
· Serie C1 – 1
Despite recent success, silverware is something that has truly evaded Atalanta. Their only major title was the Coppa Italia trophy, which the team lifted in 1963. They have had some good runs in European competition but were often eliminated by the eventual winners.
Should you choose to take over Atalanta, your best chance of adding to the trophy cabinet will come if you focus on your youth development. Atalanta has one of Italy’s most famed youth academies, and despite players like Franck Kessie and Bryan Cristante having agreed permanent moves elsewhere, there’s still plenty of bright prospects at the club.
Atalanta Finances in FM19
The club has had secure finances since the takeover in 2011, and while the 10m budget may seem insignificant to more experienced managers, with your starting squad you should be fine.
· Minimum Transfer Budget = £10.77M
· Wage Budget = £602K per week
Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez – Without a doubt, Papu Gomez is your best player. Equally talented out on the right and down the middle, Gomez’ dribbling and agility stats are an important part of what makes him so lethal. With 17 agility, 17 acceleration and 18 dribbling, he should have no trouble getting past his man. While his finishing isn’t the greatest for a striker, his ‘shoots with power trait’, when paired with his 17 long shots ensures that he will score some beautiful goals. Perhaps Gomez’ biggest downside is his 5’6’’ height and his poor heading and aerial reach, which is why I feel he makes a lot better CAM than a Striker. Despite his age, he is still the most important player at Atalanta, and should hold his position as the club’s best, at least for a couple of more years; which is why it’s essential you hold onto him.
Marco Varnier – From one of Atalanta’s oldest players to one of their youngest, Varnier is definitely one for the future. However, that doesn’t mean he isn’t first team ready. His 14 Marking, 14 Anticipation and 13 Tackling make him a decent option as a starting centre-half, and unlike Gomez, he is pretty good in the air too. Valued at just 1.5m, he is currently on loan at your club, but thankfully for you, the previous manager had already agreed to make the move permanent. He is worth holding onto for a few years at the very least, as he could soon be worth over 50m.
Goalkeepers – You begin the season with Etrit Berisha as your number 1 and Pierluigi Gollini not far behind. While neither of these two is elite, they are other areas of your squad which need your attention (and funds) more. Your third keeper, Francesco Rossi is nowhere near top-flight material, and if should be let go of if any offer comes in. Ludovico Gelmi from the U19s has significant potential and should be able to cover in case one of the first two get injured.
Wingbacks – Atalanta’s squad is tailor-made for a 5 at the back formation, with Hans Hateboer and Tim Castagne both being better as wingbacks rather than fullbacks. Hateboer is slightly better than Castagne, and should be your first choice. Both are quite young and have room to develop as well, so RWB is one of the positions you don’t need to bother about for a few years.
Robin Gosens and Arkadiusz Reca are both below average options to have at LWB, but are fairly young and have room to grow. Udinese loanee Ali Adnan can also cover at LWB if needed, and centerbacks Masiello and Djimsiti can cover wide if you chose to play four at the back.
Centerbacks – Atalanta are absolutely stacked at CB, and you should have plenty of options to rotate through, even if you choose to play 5 at the back. Andrea Masiello, Rafael Toloi and Jose Luis Palomino look to be your best 3 at the start of the season, with Gianluca Mancini being the bench option. It is worth noting that Masiello is 32 years old, and his ability declines quickly. However, he is a very influential figure in the dressing room, and you won’t be able to drop him immediately. Instead, I’d recommend easing him out slowly, often giving time to your wonderkid Varnier in less important games. Berat Djimsiti is your worst option here, and should only be held as a utility man capable of covering at RB/LB, in case you play a 4 at the back formation.
Midfielders – You have a plethora of options in midfield, however, arguably two of your best midfielders (in Franck Kessie and Bryan Christante) are out on loan and have already agreed to a permanent move. You still have the likes of Marten de Roon, Remo Freuler and Luca Valzania on your books, with Chelsea loanee Mario Pasalic also available for the first season. Despite being just 22, Valzania is already close to the first team, however, it might be a good idea to leave him on the bench for the first half of the season at the very least. Valzania is not your brightest prospect in midfield though, that title goes to Matteo Pessina, who is a year younger than Valzania and at a similar level. Pessina has more potential than Valzania, which is why giving him time in cup competitions is crucial. In attacking midfield, you have your star, Alejandro Gomez, who features alongside Josep Ilicic and Emiliano Rigoni. All 3 of the players are great, however, who you start comes down to what formation you play. If you choose to go with 4231, you could fit all 3, but this would have a severe impact on your defence. However, if you go for 5212, you would be able to play only Gomez at CAM. Rigoni is pretty poor, unless deployed wide, and I wouldn’t recommend triggering the option to buy him if you play narrow. Ilicic can play up front (more on that in a bit), or in Gomez’ spot, if Papu needs a break.
Strikers – Sampdoria loanee Duvan Zapata is a clear first choice for your starting striker, and his aerial supremacy allows you to run a non-traditional striker like Gomez alongside him. However, as mentioned earlier, Gomez is best deployed in the midfield, and Ilicic is a better option to partner Zapata. It is worth noting that Ilicic begins the season injured though, and with him being out for at least 2 months, this might be a good time for you to give minutes to youth prospects Marco Tumminello and Musa Barrow. It is essential for you to develop these two, if you do not intend on triggering Zapata’s option to buy.
First Season Transfers
Atalanta’s transfer strategy is not really one that can be covered for just the first season, given how many players you have out on loan. Several of your players also carry an option to make the deal permanent, which makes things more complicated.
Goalkeepers – You should be able to make it through the first season with just Berisha and Gollini, but things get complicated when Marco Sportiello returns from his loan at the end of the season. Gollini should be held onto regardless, but you should look at selling either Berisha or Sportiello based on their development over the course of the season. As mentioned earlier, Rossi should be sold as soon as possible, as while he doesn’t add a lot to your kitty, his departure would mean one less player to try and please in the dressing room.
Fullbacks – Again, you should be fine should you choose against buying a full back in your first season. If you choose to play a 4-at-the-back formation, you could look at selling Castagne if you need to raise funds. Also, if you do not play wide midfielders in your formation, Ali Adnan’s loan move shouldn’t be made permanent, as you already have two LWBs that are better than him.
Centrebacks – You should look to off-load at least one of your many Centrebacks, ideally Djimsiti. If a huge offer comes in for Masiello, he could be moved on as well, opening up funds to try and lure a younger option like Luiz Felipe or Wallace of Lazio, or Joachim Andersen of Sampdoria. You might also be able to get Andersen on a loan with an option to buy, allowing you to take a call based on the progress of your own centrebacks.
Midfielders – De Roon, Freuler, Pessina, Valzania and Pasalic should be able to handle the midfield pretty well, but none of them is a true enforcer. If you choose to play a four at the back formation with a CDM, it might be worth considering getting either Morgan Schneiderlin or Vincente Iborra from the EPL. The Ghanian duo of Thomas Partey and Alfred Duncan also are equally good in the position, while also being a few years younger. Partey has a 28.5m release clause which is great value for money if you are able to raise enough funds. Duncan meanwhile, has experience in the Serie A, and is significantly cheaper. However, the dream signing for you Atalanta BC undoubtedly has to be Declan Rice. Capable of playing CDM or as a CB, Rice is a guaranteed starter regardless of what formation you choose to play. At 19, he has plenty of room to grow too, and is undoubtedly going to be one of the world’s best in a few years. However, there’s two major hurdles in trying to sign him. With Europe’s elite interested in him, it’s highly unlikely that he will agree to sign for you at all. Even if you are able to convince him though, West Ham are likely to demand a huge transfer fee. The best way to go about this transfer is to act quick, before Rice learns of the interest of bigger clubs. It is also advisable to try and offer West Ham a player swap + cash deal, so that you can free up some of your wage bill in the process as well.
In terms of attacking midfielders, there’s not a lot of signings to be made. Ilicic and Gomez are both 30, but will still provide you with a couple of years at the top of their game. As mentioned earlier, unless you play with wide players, Rigoni’s optional fee clause should not be triggered. Pasalic might be able to fill in for Gomez if you commit to playing Ilicic at strike, but even his 13.5m release clause isn’t cheap. The only reason you should trigger it is if you fail to bring in a young midfielder (Rice, Duncan, Partey or anyone else). The one big statistic working in favour of Pasalic though, is his age. At 23, he could still improve, and while he may never be as good as Gomez at CAM, his defensive abilities allow you to use him all over the midfield.
Strikers – Strikers are probably the most interesting part of Atalanta’s roster. While you are relatively sorted for the current season, the end of the season may bring in two more quality strikers in Andrea Petagna and Andreas Cornelius, depending on whether their current clubs choose to trigger the buy clause or not. Barrow and Tumminello both are bright prospects, which allows you to just focus on the short term future instead. Should both, Petagna and Cornelius, make their moves permanent, triggering Zapata’s 10.77m clause isn’t the worst option, as he adds experience to your front line, along with Ilicic. Alternatively, you could also look at loaning in someone else for the second season. Lastly, Josh King or Alfred Finnbogason could also be looked towards for a permanent move, given that neither is too expensive and bring a ton of experience to the table.
THE GOALS in FOOTBALL MANAGER 2019
Short Term - The short-term goals for this save should be qualifying for the Europa league at the end of your first season. This should not be too difficult given that Atalanta have achieved it in recent times in real life, however your management skills will be put to the test
Long Term – Atalanta have won only one major trophy in their history. It would take something spectacular to increase this tally. Are you the man to rewrite the history books?
Ultimate Goal – While I could suggest something generic like winning the champions league or the treble as your ultimate goal, Atalanta have one of the best youth academies in Europe. If you truly are up for a challenge, then the ultimate objective should be to win silverware exclusively using players from your own academy. This is not going to be easy or quick. You will first have to win some silverware early into your save to have any hope of holding onto your prospects. But if you are able to do so, then you will go down in the history books as one of the all-time greats.
I hope you guys enjoyed reading this guide as much as I loved writing it. I like to believe that this should set you up for success and am glad to be of help! If you have any questions or just want to say hi, I’m always available on twitter. While I don’t often post FM related stuff, my DMs are always open, and I’d love interacting with each and every one of you.