FIFA 22 Rebuilds in Career Mode After the January Transfer Window
The January window has come and gone in the world of European soccer. While not too much business gets done in January, it is a time where some clubs have taken the opportunity to either strengthen or offload excess players. It’s one of two main events on the FIFA calendar where career mode players entertain the idea of abandoning previous saves, only to start over with the updated squads. With EA finally having updated most of the transfers and free agent moves across Europe, let’s take a look at a couple FIFA 22 rebuilds in career mode that are worth scoping out.
FIFA 22 Rebuilds In Career Mode
It feels weird even writing Barcelona under the squads to rebuild, but alas, here we are in 2022 and the Catalan giants are ripe for the rebuild. The two biggest news stories this summer circulated around two players who have dominated the game for more than a decade. Lionel Messi departed the club he had spent nearly his entire life at, and Cristiano Ronaldo felt the need to one-up him and head back to Manchester. As Messi made his way to Paris to link-up with Mbappe and his old pal Neymar, a huge hole was left at Barcelona. Fortunately for the Catalans, there are a plethora of youngsters who maybe can’t currently replace Messi, but given time and the right complementary players, could be the next generation’s superstars.
Winning sides need to make sure that the person in-between the posts is rock-steady, and Barcelona has that in Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Germany’s #2, ter Stegen’s main real-life strength, his ability to play passes with his feet, isn’t transferable to FIFA. However, his 90-rated goalkeeping reflexes means that he can be your shot stopper for quite some time as he’s still only 29 years old.
With a release clause near roughly $186 million, selling him and rolling with 82 OVR Neto as your temporary stopgap could help to fund the blockbuster transfers we’re so accustomed to seeing from Barcelona.
If there’s an area where strengthening is needed at Barca, it’s in the defense. Longtime stalwarts Pique (34) and Jordi Alba (32) are getting a little long in the tooth, and if that wasn’t enough, Dani Alves (38) is back to make up three-fourths of the backline that dominated the 2010s. As they face the eventual FIFA decline, there are a few youngsters that could bridge the gap, buying you some time before you upgrade back there.
Young Uruguayan center back Ronald Araujo (21) is the best of the young bunch, while Eric Garcia (20) has bags of potential. Young fullbacks Sergino Dest (20) and Alex Balde (19) have the potential to be starters, but with Alves on the verge of retirement and Alba also getting up there in age, some stopgaps might be required. Lastly, there are two french center backs in Lenglet (26) and Samuel Umtiti (27) that are there to provide cover.
If there’s one thing that current Barcelona skipper Xavi knows, it’s the midfield — and Barca is loaded in the middle of the pitch. Sergio Busquets is still prodding around (40 speed/43 acceleration) quite well in real life, but unfortunately his skills have never been that translatable to FIFA where pace rules. Luckily, you’d have Nico Gonzalez (19) waiting in the wings, although with a ~$20 million release clause you might want to explore giving him a new contract to keep the prying eyes away.
To the left and right of Busquets/Nico, there are two of the best young midfielders in Europe in Frenkie de Jong and Pedri. Both are under contract until 2026 with hefty release clauses, so training them up to their full potential could have your midfield pair set for the long run. If that isn’t enough, there’s always the steady Sergi Roberto to help provide cover while youngster Riqui Puig also has the potential to be a good rotational player. Lastly, there’s wunderkind Gavi (16) who can play midfield in a pinch, but perhaps is better suited for life on the wings.
With Messi departing, many around Spain wondered where the goals would come from, and between August and January that was a valid question. The man who was supposed to help in this department, Sergio Aguero, was forced into retirement due to health concerns so the burden of putting the ball in the back of the net fell to Memphis Depay as the main goal threat. Often injured, Barcelona upgraded this position by adding Ferran Torres (21) and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang in the January window, giving them some much-needed goals.
Out wide, Barcelona is deep with Torres able to play there (as well as the aforementioned Gavi). Ousmane Dembele (24) is out of a contract in the summer, but you might be able to persuade him to stay. If not, Adama Traore has added some directness to Barca’s attack. Oh yeah, there’s also the new #10, Ansu Fati, who’s making his way back from a serious injury but still has loads of potential (90).
Another club that has fallen on tougher times is Arsenal. From the glory days of Thierry Henry and the Invincibles, Arsenal was once a perennial title challenger before succumbing to settling for top four finishes. That said, Arsenal has quietly put together a nice young core mixed in with a few veterans while trying to climb back up into their rightful place as one of England’s top clubs, hence why it’s the other team picked for the FIFA 22 career mode rebuilds.
When Arsenal splashed the cash for Aaron Ramsdale this summer, many fans of other clubs took shots at the London side, but it’s Arsenal now having the last laugh as Ramsdale looks to be the present and future. Already an 81 overall, Ramsdale could benefit from some consistent training in order to reach his full potential (86).
Behind him, Bernd Leno (78 OVR) is a steady backup and could provide some cover should you choose not to spend on a backup keeper.
While the days of Tony Adams and Martin Keown are long gone, Arsenal does boast a much improved backline. Kieran Tierney is likely the best of the bunch as an 81 OVR, but alongside him are Gabriel (23) and Ben White (24). Right back Tomiyasu is only 23, and despite being fairly under the radar coming from Bologna, he offers a lot down the right-hand side. In future updates, I’m sure he’ll see his default rating (78 OVR) improve, but with a potential of 85 he has everything you need in a right back.
Depth on defense is probably Arsenal’s biggest worry, but there are a few youngsters in Nuno Tavares (21) and William Saliba (out on loan) looking promising but not quite good enough to supplant the starters.
The midfield at the Emirates could use some attention with Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka both being 28, and with the latter splitting opinions like few players can. There is ex-Real Madrid midfielder Martin Odegaard who has settled into the side very well and offers a Mesut Ozil-like presence, but he excels a little closer to goal primarily in the CAM role.
Arsenal did bring in reinforcements this year with Sambi Lokonga, and youngsters like Charlie Patino offer loads of potential (85). However, they might require some time before they’re able to boss the midfield. Lastly, Emile Smith Rowe (20) is another young player that can play both on the wings and at CAM, so perhaps a little training can boost his stats if you want to turn him into a goal-scoring #8.
With the departure of Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, Arsenal is left very light up top when it comes to strikers. Alexandre Lacazette is out of contract in the summer, and while you might be able to extend him another year, a legit striker should the #1 priority for all Arsenal rebuilds. 22-year-old Eddie Nketiah is serviceable for the rotation and/or cup games, but he’s not a long-term solution.
If there’s one positional group that gives Arsenal fans hope, it’s out wide. Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli, Nicolas Pepe, and Emile Smith Rowe all bring different intangibles to the table and should be the building blocks for your squad.
February always tests career mode players’ resolve. The question becomes, “Do I restart now that my club has brought in a few new players, or do I keep on keeping on?” It’s something I always ask myself come this time of year. Post-January you always have a slight advantage as you get to see clubs play for a few months, but it’s rare to see clubs like Arsenal and Barcelona as prime targets to start a FIFA career mode rebuild.
When it comes to FIFA 22 career mode rebuilds, what teams are you looking at right now?