Football Manager 2018 – Which Russian Club Should You Play With?

The latest edition of everyone’s favourite football management game, Football Manager 2018, is now out. At RFN, we have a number of big fans of the series and will continue our tradition of producing our own custom update for the Russian leagues, hopefully out later this month.

But when this update is out, who should you manage? Here at RFN we could justify managing every club in Russia in one way or another, but to keep this short, we will name just five potential challenges.

Update: Our RFN Database is now out, read more about it here.


Zenit St. Petersburg

Facilities: Average training facilities, Excellent youth facilities

Transfer and wage budget: £44.57m and £26.23k p/w

Star player and biggest talent: Emiliano Rigoni and Sebastián Driussi

For those who like to aim big, Zenit are the Russian club with a set-up allowing almost instant ability to challenge. Their squad is bolstered with top Argentine talents following their transfer exploits over the summer, and they have £44m to spare should you feel the need to add anything else to the squad. The excellent youth facilities mean that long term you should have good players coming through to fulfil your obligation to have Russian players in your squad.

FC Krasnodar

Facilities: Superb training facilities, State of the art youth facilities

Transfer and wage budget: £8.91m and £13.16k p/w

Star player and biggest talent: Fedor Smolov and Ivan Ignatiev

In terms of Russian clubs, Krasnodar’s near £9m transfer budget is very healthy, but the main attraction to managing as Krasnodar is to take advantage of their state of the art youth facilities. Ivan Ignatiev is the standout youth talent, but Daniil Utkin, Magomed Shapi-Suleimanov and Ilya Martynov all have the potential to go on to be Russian internationals, as well as any regens your academy may produce over the years.

READ MORE: Ones To Watch: Ivan Ignatiev

CSKA Moscow

Facilities: Great training facilities, Good youth facilities

Transfer and wage budget: £1.3m and £109 p/w

Star player and biggest talent: Mário Fernandes and Aleksandr Golovin

The challenge with CSKA will be to manage within your means. A low budget and no room to manoeuvre on wages mean you will have to rely on your whole squad, including your reserve players. Aleksandr Golovin is already a key player, but Fedor Chalov, Timur Zhamaletdinov, Konstantin Kuchaev and Khetag Khosonov have potential to be important squad players in the future.

READ MORE: Ones To Watch – Fedor Chalov

Arsenal Tula

Facilities: Average training facilities, Below Average youth facilities

Transfer and wage budget: £1.3m and £1.3k p/w

Star player and biggest talent: Stopilla Sunzu and Luka Djordjevic

The draw to Arsenal Tula is opposite to Krasnodar and CSKA. Their youth team has no players of note, but the squad itself is solid. However, the real reason to manage in Tula is the support of the club. Arsenal is one of the best-supported clubs in the Premier League, and regularly has the highest percentage of stadium filled in the league, with their fans near filling out their 20k on a weekly basis. You should be able to stay up with the squad you have, but the goal will be to keep your fans happy and bring European football to the outskirts of Moscow.

SKA Khabarovsk

Facilities: Poor training facilities, Basic youth facilities

Transfer and wage budget: £74.9k and -£1.46k

Star player and biggest talent: Ventislav Hristov and Aleksandr Putsko

SKA are the first team from the far east to make the Premier League in a long time, but keeping them in the top flight is perhaps one of the biggest challenges in FM18. The squad is very much the worst in the league, and with only a tiny transfer budget and a negative wage budget, improving it in the first window will be almost impossible. You will have to try and pick up some astute loan transfers to improve the squad or rely on your management skills to keep SKA in the league. If you want a real challenge, this is the one.


If league football isn’t the one, the Russian national team could be of interest. As hosts of the 2018 World Cup, you will not need to qualify, but just have one year to find your best squad and prepare yourself for a big test. There are young players coming through like Golovin or Aleksei Miranchuk, and you will even have the opportunity to recruit from abroad, with a number of players with Russian passports playing in Germany, Turkey and Portugal.

Author: David Sansun

Arsenal and Rubin Kazan fan. Possibly too optimistic for Russian football which means I’m left disappointed a lot.


  1. Ron James says:

    Thanks for this. Can’t start a game of FM 18 until they’ve released a big patch and an update from you guys!

Leave a Reply