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10 teams we want to be on Football Manager 2018 after the January update

The oh-so-addictive management sim has enjoyed its winter transfer refresh, providing some fresh opportunities – brought to you by Bradley Russell

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The closure of the January transfer window often brings fans newfound optimism – or an impending sense of doom.

For Football Manager 2018, however, it marks the moment where the ever-popular management sim undergoes the biggest overhaul since its release. Clubs are now closer to their real-life counterparts, and in-form players have been given a welcome boost.

So it’s about time to surrender your life to FM 18. Again. But with so many options, who should you be? We’re going to try these on for size…

1. Freiburg (Bundesliga)  

Freiburg have all the makings of a long-term FM save. Not only do they carry the remarkable statistic of only sacking a manager once in their entire history, their squad is stacked with potential.

In fact, Mike Frantz is the only first-team player in his 30s, affording you the opportunity to build a real dynasty. If that wasn’t enough, you could pick up where Freiburg failed in real life by having a crack at the Europa League.

2. Ostersund (Allsvenskan)

Oster-who? You’d have been forgiven for being unaware of Graham Potter’s Swedish miracle-workers until the 2017/18 season, which has been kind to the Scandinavian club. After surging to the Europa League last 16, they recently recorded a famous victory over Arsenal at the Emirates.

Now the challenge is keeping the squad together and continuing the rise and rise of Ostersund. Next stop: Champions League?

3. Napoli (Serie A)

There’s a reason why Napoli are the only team to have made it onto this list and our original back in November – they’re just so good this year.

It would be tempting to sit back and watch Maurizio Sarri work his magic from afar, but as many of Napoli’s leading lights have had their abilities bumped since the game’s launch, now is as good a time as any to lead one of Europe’s most entertaining teams right now.

4. Dalian Yifang (Chinese Super League)

If you’re itching to see what Chinese football is all about, there’s no better destination than Dalian Yifang (let’s forget they lost 8-0 the other day). With new trio Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, Nicolas Gaitan and Jose Fonte, you’d be expected to get promoted at a canter.

There’s only one issue: the rest of the team are a bit rubbish (see above). Having blown most of the budget on the likes of Carrasco, it’ll be on you to either cash in on your big-name players or stop that bubble bursting another way.

5. Liverpool (Premier League)

In case you haven’t heard, Liverpool are a very good football team. Trouble is, they've got very little to show for it right now.

That’s where you come in. With well-deserved boosts for Roberto Firmino, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, you should be able to take the Premier League by storm and do what serial nearly man (in England, at least) Jurgen Klopp hasn't done yet by bringing silverware back to Merseyside. You’ve also got £110m from the Philippe Coutinho sale to play with and Naby Keita arriving in the summer. Enjoy.