Home to European giants Real Madrid and Barcelona, the two dominate La Liga year after year. Here, we’re looking into which clubs have got the funds to mount a challenge on the league’s status quo.
Keep in mind that, at the start of any new save in Football Manager 21, teams have already made signings through the summer transfer window in real-life. So, the spending is reflected by their in-game budgets for the first season.
This article is based on the beta version of FM 21, available to all pre-purchasers of the game, and may change upon the game’s highly-anticipated full release on 24 November. You will find the top five transfer budgets of La Liga detailed below, with a full table of all of the league budgets at the foot of the page.
Real Madrid (£54.8 million budget)
Reputation: Five Stars
Transfer Budget: £54,830,072
Wage Budget: £4,883,270
Key Players: Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos, Luka Modrić
Real Madrid possesses the biggest war chest at the start of the La Liga season, which was to be expected, considering their quiet summer transfer window. The only arrivals were those returning from loan; departures, on the other hand, saw several players deemed surplus to requirements.
Winning is in the DNA of this club, settling for less is non-negotiable, and replicating last season’s title win is paramount to the job security of those at the helm of Los Blancos. Keeping the fine balance of global superstars while cultivating youth products for the future is tricky, but the immense financial backing and top facilities prove invaluable.
The core starting eleven are exceptional, albeit with ageing players in key areas of the pitch. Still, youth is waiting in the wings in the form of Vinícius Júnior, Martin Ødegaard, and Luka Jovic – all of whom have at least four-star potential ability. Vinícius Júnior starts with great 16 pace, 16 technique, 17 acceleration, and 17 dribbling, so you can expect him to develop rapidly into a first-team player.
Real Madrid arrives as the La Liga club with the largest budget in FM 21, boasting a £54.8 million purse. Adding defensive cover for Raphaël Varane and the ageing Sergio Ramos could prove beneficial in the coming seasons, with the transfer and wage budgets available being more than enough to find a successor.
Athletic Bilbao (£22.8 million)
Reputation: Four Stars
Transfer Budget: £22,845,864
Wage Budget: £940,905
Key Players: Iñaki Williams, Iker Muniain, Iñigo Martínez
Buying just one player during the transfer window, winger Álex Berenguer joined from Torino, Athletic Bilbao elected to promote several young players from their second team of La Segunda Liga.
Finishing last season in 11th place, the Basque club have ambitions to qualify for the Europa League this season. Even with the sizable transfer budget of £22.8 million, the club’s ethos means that the board requires you to only sign Basque players. As such, the preference is to focus on creating the best youth system in Spain.
Athletic Bilbao boasts a solid starting eleven with fine attacking talent in Iñaki Williams, Iker Muniain, and Raúl García leading the front line. At 34-years-old, Raúl García will need replacing soon, but Iñigo Córdoba can cover at striker with an accomplished rating in the role, but he is more naturally suited to the left-wing.
The defensive midfield position requires some bolstering, replacing Mikel Vesga until youth player Unai Vencedor is first-team ready – should he develop into the four-and-a-half-star player that his potential suggests. To build him into such a highly-rated player, Vencedor’s seven composure rating should be a priority in developing the young Spaniard.
Villarreal (£13.7 million)
Reputation: Four Stars
Transfer Budget: £13,707,518
Wage Budget: £831,214
Key Players: Dani Parejo, Paco Alcácer, Francis Coquelin
With consecutive fifth-place finishes in the last two seasons, the Yellow Submarine is cementing its place as a top club in Spain. Several fresh faces joined during the transfer window this season, most notably 22-year-old left-back Pervis Estupiñán, signing from Watford FC.
Midfield reinforcements came in the form of Francis Coquelin and Dani Parejo, adding good depth to the middle of the pitch. Another club focusing on their youth product output, with excellent facilities, coaching, and recruitment, the stage is set to bring through top talent.
Limited options in the striker role could leave the team a little bit short during the busy spells of the season. Under-19s player Yéremi Pino, who possesses five-star potential, provides adequate back-up – which also presents the perfect platform to help him reach his potential and secure that position for the future.
With his five-star potential ability, Samuel Chukwueze follows the club’s youth policy and is first-team ready. Plenty of playing time and training his ten teamwork, ten vision, and nine decision-making attributes will have him reaching the full heights of his potential.
Villarreal made the most of the summer transfer window and have plenty of high-potential talents making their way to the starting XI. So, should you spend the £13.7 million transfer budget, it’s vital that you don’t clog the lanes that the youth players are looking to break into over the next few seasons.
Real San Sebastián (£11.8 million transfer budget)
Reputation: Four Stars
Transfer Budget: £11,846,280
Wage Budget: £836,772
Key Players: David Silva, Alexander Isak, Mikel Oyarzábal
Fighting for the coveted spots of European competition, Real Sociedad managed a sixth-place finish last term. A quiet transfer window followed, securing the services of David Silva on a free transfer while key centre back Diego Llorente left for Leeds United.
The club’s transfer policy entails signing Spain-based players, preferably from the Basque region, and promoting youth from the academy. Ander Barrenetxea, with his possible five-star potential, seems to be the jewel of the current crop of youngsters.
Depending on the formation that you choose, the club has two natural striking options, and so, the area could be due some reinforcements. One of those attacking options is Alexander Isak. The young Swede is already at three-star current ability, he has a possible five-star potential ability, meaning that he could be developing into one of the league’s leading scorers.
As for Real San Sebastián’s remaining £11.8 million transfer budget, the left-back area looks like it could use some depth. As it stands, 34-year-old Nacho Monreal occupies the role, and the inexperienced Aihen Muñoz sits as the understudy. With Muñoz lacking serious potential ability, a dip into the market could prove beneficial.
Barcelona (£9.1 million transfer budget)
Reputation: Five Stars
Transfer Budget: £9,138,345
Wage Budget: £4,640,016
Key Players: Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Gerard Piqué
Having such a fierce rivalry with Real Madrid, finishing second to them last season will be more than enough motivation to come out on top this year. The Blaugrana spent the transfer window revitalising the squad with top young talents whilst adding the qualities of Miralem Pjanić to the first-team.
The state-of-the-art youth facilities at Barcelona mean that you can continuously produce the world’s best talents from within the club. Some of the names already awaiting a first-team call-up are Ilias Akhomach, Ilaix Moriba – both of whom have possible five-star potential ability – as well as Diego Almeida and Nico, who possess possible four-and-a-half star potential abilities.
Defensive recruitment looks to be a must for the Spanish giants; there is little in the way of cover for an ageing Gerard Piqué or the injury-prone Samuel Umtiti. So, using the £9.1 million to bring in a young talent to develop would be perfect for this role. Elsewhere along the backline, new signing Sergiño Dest at right-back is a possible five-star potential player: he could be the heir to Dani Alves’ throne.
In the attacking options, you’ll find a headache-inducing plethora of talent to choose from; whether you go with youth or experience is your choice, but one thing is certain: results must follow.
All the transfer and wage budgets for La Liga teams on FM 21
Here’s the full table of every La Liga team’s transfer and wage budgets at the start of Football Manager 2021, listed in alphabetical order.
|Team||Transfer Budget||Wage Budget (per week)|
|Atlético Pamplona (CA Osasuna)||£0||£325,498|
|Real Hispalis (Real Betis)||£2,741,503||£711,249|
|Real San Sebastián (Real Sociedad)||£11,846,280||£836,772|
Now you know all of the transfer and wage budgets for the La Liga teams in FM 21, spend wisely as every penny counts.