We all know CM is a mess.
But there are a few changes I've made to make the gameplay and game mode a bit more challenging and realistic.
Firstly gameplay - full manual, legendary difficulty (because they ruined ultimate), community sliders (, slow game speed and then I play 4 min halves but I recommend 6, 8 or 10 if you have more time to play.
Now on the game mode - it is too easy to build mega squads and make it boring. So no budget boosts, no first transfer window, no loans, no free agents, no pre contract free transfers, no swapping transfers and no transfer listed. You have to rely on straight up player purchases, youth academy and hoping the AI tries to buy some of your players (and it tends to be the better players so it's a tough choice if you want to sell). With out the budget boosts and not being able to sell everyone or trade funds are much tighter so you have to use your existing squad more and be more strategic about what you send your money on.
So over all CM is still awful but these changes have given me a save that I'm more engaged with then any save in the last 2 years.