The best teams to manage in Football Manager 2023 is a subjective topic because there are hundreds, if not thousands, of clubs to choose from in the football game. Add custom databases and that number increases even further. However, defining the “best” is important right from kick-off, because on paper, the best teams in FM23 are PSG, Real Madrid, and Manchester City. They have the best players, the biggest budgets, and the most pull in the transfer market.
While playing as these global superstars in the management game can be fun for a while, our list of the best teams to manage in FM23 tackle the most interesting clubs, the ones with a bit of history behind them and a story to tell. After all, would you rather smash out a win on a cold Tuesday night in Stoke with Erling Haaland, or a free agent you signed from nowhere to help you climb to the top of world football? If you’re looking for a challenge, we’ve put together some of the best teams to manage in FM23 for those that want something a little different.
- Transfer budget: £15,000
- Wage budget: £12,950 pw (£750 pw to spend)
For a journey all the way from the bottom to the top of English football, most in FM23 will use Wrexham. For a tougher challenge (no Hollywood big bucks) but still with a media buzz, try Dorking Wanderers.
Bunch of Amateurs on YouTube and TikTok has built a following by giving a raw, behind the scenes look at life in the Vanarama South, and celebrates Dorking’s playoff final success to reach their current league, the Vanarama National. Impressive given they were established in 1999.
To succeed at this level, you need to search out loan talent from big clubs and free transfers. However, you’ve got English striker James McShane to lead the line and he should bag plenty of goals. Dorking is a long-term save as you climb through the tiers of English football, but it’ll be a satisfying one to finally reach the promised land of the Premier League.
- Transfer budget: £6,034,912
- Wage budget: £384,827 pw (£15,173 pw to spend)
Two words: talent factory. Energy drink Red Bull bought out SV Austria Salzburg in 2005, making it the latest piece of their global football franchise, and subsequently alienated their entire fanbase. The Austrian Bundesliga 16-times champions can be built into a force of domestic domination, before setting sight on European glory – if you can retain players who have bigger aspirations.
Erling Haaland made his Champions League debut with RB Salzburg, and other players who have passed through their system include Sadio Mane, Dayot Upamecano and Karim Adeyemi.
Future stars you’ve got a task to keep hold of include Oumar Solet, Noah Okafor and Roko Simic. Sadly, Benjamin Šeško already has a transfer to ‘sister’ club RB Leipzig agreed at the end of your first season, but the cash injection will help you buy the next round of wonderkids for Salzburg.
- Transfer budget: £2,586,390
- Wage budget: £217,640 pw (£16,781 pw to spend)
If you’re looking for a sleeping giant, Hamburger SV is the sleepiest. One of only three German clubs to win the Champions League, HSV haven’t tasted major success since 1987.
Relegated to the 2. Bundesliga in 2018, Hamburg have struggled to get back to the top division and it’s your job to do that. Once promoted, re-establishing them as one of the forces of German football won’t be an easy task as money is tight. However, you’ve got a massive fanbase and a stadium to hold them, so good results will bring in plenty of gate receipts.
Young centre back Mario Vuskovic and experienced striker Robert Glatzel are the top talents within the team, but you’ll definitely want to look for reinforcements. Winning that promotion might not be as easy as you think!
- Transfer budget: £0
- Wage budget: £142,943 pw (£0 pw to spend)
The Championship has loads of interesting clubs battling to reach the promised land, but the challenge with Coventry City is a case of restoring glory to a troubled club.
Promoted to the top division in 1967, the Sky Blues were one of the founding clubs of the Premier League until relegation and administration saw them tumble down as far as League Two. Coventry fans have had it rough, with relocations to both Northampton and Birmingham in recent seasons.
Now back at their home ground, you have league-topping talent in Gustavo Hamer, Callum O’Hare and Viktor Gyokeres, who you can keep or cash in on £25m+ to spend across the team. Otherwise, there’s nothing to spend. The board wants you to develop players using the club’s youth system, so look towards that for your future squad.
- Transfer budget: £0
- Wage budget: £3,809,203 (£15,483 pw to spend)
To see a global powerhouse on this list might be a shock, but if you must take one of the big clubs over, consider Barcelona. One of the best teams to manage in Football Manager 2023, Barca are going through turmoil financially (you’re nearly £1bn in the red) and need someone to steady the ship before pushing on.
You have a core of great young players coming through, but some deadwood that won’t leave, an out of control wage bill and a trophyless few seasons. The easiest way to steady this ship? Win trophies. The Champions League must be the goal, which they last won in 2015, but starting with La Liga and brushing off the two Madrid clubs, who have won the last three titles.
Legendary striker Robert Lewandoski now leads the line, and deserves more silverware before he retires. Wonderkids Pedri, Gavi, Ansu Fati and Alejandro Balde are just a few of the under21 talents at your disposal. Restoring glory to Camp Nou makes this more of a mid-term than a long term save.
Liverpool FC (Uruguay)
- Transfer budget: £7,388
- Wage budget: £11,628 pw (£900 pw to spend)
Taking the Liverpool job would be too easy in FM23. Taking the Liverpool FC job? There’s a challenge.
In the Uruguayan capital Montevideo lies Liverpool FC, one of *thirteen* teams from the city in the Primera División. Many Uruguayan clubs took Anglicised names on, and this club honoured Liverpool, where coal imported by ship to Uruguay departed from. They celebrated their first silverware last season, by winning the knockout league cup Torneo Intermedio and subsequent Super Cup. This is a great basis to start from.
Liverpool have a young team (average age 23) with potential; defensive midfielder Fabricio Díaz and striker Thiago Vecino are our picks of the bunch. If South American style is your thing, taking over a club on the continent will get you straight to the source of talented wonderkids.
- Transfer budget: £1,724,260
- Wage budget: £93,293 pw (£3,017 pw to spend)
The nearly men of NK Osijek in Croatia’s first division have been present since the founding of the league, but their best finish has been second. Dinamo Zagreb has won 16 of the last 17 league titles, and it’s your job to end that streak. You’ll also have the chance to enter the Europa Conference League at the qualifying rounds at the start of this save.
With an average squad age of 26, your team will just be heading into its prime years. Hungarian international László Kleinheisler is your best talent, leading the line with goals and assists from attacking midfield.
If you’re a fan of cool football kits and buy them from your Football Manager clubs, Osijek’s badge also has a marten (a weasel-like mammal) on it – that’s even more of a reason to take the club over.
- Transfer budget: £431,065
- Wage budget: £256,898 (£5,786 pw to spend)
Greece might not be the first country you look to when you look for a team to manage, but Panathinaikos are a giant going through tough times that will make for a fun challenge.
The club hasn’t won the league since 2010, and after finishing fourth last season, have qualified for the Europa Conference League, which could be useful in terms of prize money. They are familiar with European competition, being the only Greek side to have reached a Champions League final once, in 1971. Sadly, they went home as runners up.
There are no real young gems coming through at Panathinaikos for now, and the side is ageing and unbalanced. No single player stands out to us, either, but new signings Bernard and Andraz Sporar need to be put to use in their peak years. One or two shrewd signings with that small budget (FM23 free agents are your friend here) could bring this peaking team further up the table and knock rivals Olympiacos off their perch.
When you do get started with your chosen Football Manager 2023 team, make sure you install the best FM23 skins and logo packs, along with the real name fix to get the correct club and competition names.