The release of Football Manager 2013 is just around the corner, but I'm a fan of one the old classic editions of the game. Football Manager 2007 remains my favourite, but I will, of course, reserve judgement for the new game.
Whatever version of the game you are playing, signing players in likely to be paramount to your success or failure as a manager. Clearly, an important component of this is to rely on your scouts giving reliable information when recommending players.
Like most managers, I also have a list of potential signings that I would like to bring in. It is important to make signings in every transfer window to keep your squad fresh. My usual strategy for contract negotiations is to try to save the club as much money as possible; this means trying to remove signing on fees and bonuses whenever possible.
This is something that is easy to do at the beginning of June and when there isn't any competition for your targets. However, it is much harder at the end of August, or in the very time restrictive January transfer window.
Therefore, I have learned that it is better to offer something close to the player's demands in these circumstances. It is usually possible to remove a signing on fee and a minimum release fee clause, but bonus payments can sometimes cause a problem.
It should be noted that it is possible to get a player to agree a deal even when not meeting his wage demands, but if removing something elsewhere, then you may want to improve the basic wage to sweeten the deal.
The real key to quick signings is having your scouts constantly working for you. That way you will always have a list of targets. The information on potential transfer fees and how interested they would be to join your club is often invaluable. It is important to focus on the players that are most likely to want to join your club.
However, you still have every chance to make a deal happen until the transfer window slams shut. It can actually be easier to make signings right at the end of the transfer window, than right at the beginning.
The game will stop regularly on transfer deadline day to help you get a last minute deal done. Therefore, it is always worth making that late offer for that player you have always wanted to complete your squad.
Remember that if you agree to an expensive contract to get the deal done, you can always renegotiable the contract at a later date.