What will football look like in 2027?
Will Harry Kane have broken Alan Shearer’s Premier League scoring record? Will Arsene Wenger still be manager of Arsenal? And is an English team going to win the Champions League ever again?
If you’re too impatient to wait, don’t worry – Football Manager 2018 has the answers.
After simulating 10 full seasons in the new version of the football management game, which is released on Friday, here’s how the football world looked.
Does Harry Kane break Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney’s goal-scoring records?
His 88 Premier League goals at just 24 years of age suggest that Tottenham’s Harry Kane is the most likely successor to Alan Shearer’s 260-goal Premier League top-scoring throne.
So does he manage it 10 years on? Crucially, in this sim Kane stayed at Tottenham for 10 more years, but scored 20 or more league goals in just three seasons.
As of June 26 2027, Kane was four goals short of Shearer’s record with 256 Premier League goals, having added a further five golden boots to his tally.
With his contract set to run out in the summer of 2028 in the game, you’d expect him to surpass Shearer’s total, were the 33-year-old to remain at the club.
As for Wayne Rooney’s 53-goal England record? Kane obliterated it with 92 goals in 135 games – that’s an additional 80 goals for the forward.
What happens to Arsene Wenger?
You might think that in 10 years’ time Arsenal will be dancing the same dance they always do, finishing in the top six in the Premier League with Arsene Wenger in charge.
But in our FM18 sim, Arsenal’s long-serving Frenchman went upstairs to take a director of football role at the end of the current season. That’s not to say the Gunners boss didn’t keep his managerial eye in, though.
In this hypothetical reality, Wenger was succeeded by Luis Enrique, who was sacked after a year and a half, at which point Wenger became caretaker manager for a couple of weeks
Jorge Jesus then took the job, and was sacked just shy of a year in charge, then replaced for 14 days by caretaker Wenger again, before Tony Mowbray (!) was given the job.
Mowbray lasted almost two years before being sacked, with Wenger taking caretaker charge again for 15 days, before Heiko Herrlich (currently Bayer Leverkusen manager in the real world) came in. By 2027, Herrlich had been in the job over four and a half years.
Wenger in, Wenger out, shake it all about, eh?
Do Premier League clubs conquer the Champions League again?
English football is hoping for a renaissance in the world of European football. Having had teams in seven out of eight Champions League finals between 2005 and 2012, they haven’t had one in a final since.
Perhaps an up-and-coming Tottenham side will emerge, or maybe Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City will bring their stylish game to the European stage?
Not according to this FM sim.
Manchester United, still under Jose Mourinho’s guidance 10 years on, won three Champions League titles, while Chelsea added two, giving English clubs five trophies to Spain’s three and Bayern’s two.
What about the Premier League?
Domestically, the decade produced another period of dominance for Mourinho’s United, with the Red Devils claiming seven Premier League titles out of 10.
Elsewhere, things remained remarkably static with United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham continuing to dominate the top six throughout the decade.
Watford could be considered to have made a breakthrough with three top-six finishes in the five years leading up to 2027, while Brentford, Derby and Leeds all had brief spells in the top flight.
There were no dramatic falls from grace though, and no Leicester-like miracles – with the Foxes perhaps being the most high-profile team to get relegated in the decade, finally dropping to the Championship in 2027.
Does Neymar ever win the Ballon d’Or?
In 10 years’ time you might expect Kylian Mbappe to be walking away with the Ballon d’Or award, but what’s this?
Winning FM18’s World Golden Ball award a decade into the future is Goncalo Guedes, pipping Mbappe and Paulo Dybala to the post.
Back in 2017, the faceless winger is a 20-year-old Portugal international with three caps, currently on loan at Valencia from Paris St Germain. In the game he went on to play 97 times for his country, scoring 146 Ligue 1 goals by the age of 30.
Meanwhile Neymar never managed to win the award, finishing second four times, and third three times. Lionel Messi would not be dethroned by the Brazilian, winning six more, while Cristiano Ronaldo won none.
Do England’s youth convert their success to the senior stage?
England currently hold World Cups in two age groups, leading many to question whether or not the Three Lions are about to move into golden generation part two, this time with added trophies.
Three World Cups and two European Championships take place in the next decade, but, according to this FM18 save, England won’t even reach a final.
Instead, the results looked like this:
World Cup 2018: Won by Spain (England lose 2-1 to France in the second round)
Euro 2020: Won by Spain (England are knocked out at the Group Stage)
World Cup 2022: Won by France (England lose 3-0 to Mexico in the quarter-final)
Euro 2024: Won by Portugal (England lose 1-0 to Portugal in the semi-final)
World Cup 2026: Won by France (England lose 1-0 to the Netherlands in the second round)
Manager Gareth Southgate left his England role in July 2020 after England failed to qualify from their group at the 2020 Euros, before Sean Dyche was appointed manager, a role he still held in 2027.
With that in mind, how did British managers fare?
How do local managers fare?
Perhaps the best metric by which to measure this is to see how many British or Irish managers there are currently at Premier League clubs, and compare that with 2027.
Well, currently there are nine managers from Britain and Ireland in England’s top division, while 2027 shows eight – not as big a decline as some might have feared.
They are: Darren Bent (Bournemouth), Scott Parker (Crystal Palace), Joleon Lescott (Fulham), Liam Rosenior (Huddersfield), Danny Cowley (Preston), Tony Mowbray (Stoke), Nigel Adkins (Watford) and David Moyes (West Ham). That doesn’t mean a glorious 10-year stint with the Hammers for Moyes – in this reality he only arrived there in 2026 having had another five-year spell with Everton in the interim.
Something of interest is that there are no managers from the British Isles at any top six club, although Mowbray, you’ll remember, did enjoy time at Arsenal, while Eddie Howe managed 216 days at Tottenham before being sacked.