Expiring contracts are the Holy Grail of the penny-pinching FM player. Whether we're hamstrung by stingy chairmen or we're just not a fan of chucking cash at pampered millionaires willy-nilly, dipping into a war chest isn't always possible, or indeed the best way forward. So when you find yourself in this situation, it's always best to go to the player search screen, click on contract status and see whose contract has only six months remaining.
If a player is over 24 and is coming to the end of his contract, you can snap that sucker up on a free. I'd even recommend it if he's under 24 you'll have to pay some money, but it's usually less than you'd be forced to cough up in negotiations. Check it at the start of the game for January signings, and come January for post-season arrivals. While many of the players tend to be Ghanaians in the 2. Bundesliga, there's nearly always a gem apparent in the new game, you can pick Japan's Champions League-ready Keisuke Honda from CSKA Moscow this way, and you'll be laughing all the way to the bank.
Also, make sure this doesn't happen to you by checking your staff/squad's contract expiration dates often and offer contracts accordingly. This goes double for the staff you don't get as much warning as with the players, and nobody wants an unwanted exodus come the end of the season. Oh, and it goes without saying, if a player sacks his agent, you should be in the contract negotiations like a pack of dogs on a three-legged cat you'll save money in agent fees, and players tend to ask for less anyhow. Hey it's not pretty, but that's football.
So that's everything, and I hope I've persuaded some of you to come aboard the good ship FM. And if you still need persuading, I'd say we've got jackets, but I'd be lying. Feel free to comment below!
Durham University graduate and qualified sports journalist. Very good at sitting down and watching things. Can multi-task this with playing computer games. Football Manager addict who has taken Shrewsbury Town to the summit of the Premier League. You can follow me at @Ed_OwenUK, if you like ramblings about Newcastle United and A Place in the Sun. If you don't, I don't know what I can do for you.See more from Edward