FM 2021 – Wonderkids to recruit
No word strikes more excitement into the hearts of Football Manager players than the word ‘wonderkid’. These players are basically diamonds in the rough that if you grab them early enough, they can evolve into a loyal superstar for your team. Every single year, Football Manager has these wonderkids listed somewhere in the game, and basically, it’s your job to try and find them to make the most of their abilities.
These wonderkids are typically very young with huge potential, and we’ve developed a list of some pretty exciting players for you to check out.
The Ones You'll Know
At just 18 years of age and playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world, Rodrygo is primed to be an absolute superstar. In fact, people are already tipping him to be the next big thing, but in the game, he is still relatively low down in the overall grades. He has a total score of 130, but of course, the estimates are that his overall could improve to be somewhere in the region of 160-190. Given the right environment, we have no doubt that Rodrygo could emerge to be one of the best players in the world.
This man needs no introduction these days – Kylian Mbappe is already an established star, both for PSG and France. His striking ability combined with his skill with the ball make him formidable for anyone he tussles with, so needless to say, he is one of the most exciting young players in the game. He has a much higher current ability than Rodrygo too, with a score of 181 right now, with the potential to grow to 196 (most recent estimate). As you can see, he is one of the most talented guys in the game, but just be prepared to pay a hefty price tag for him!
Here we have another teenager in the form of Vinicius Junior. This young 19 year old currently has a score of 144, and just like Rodrygo before him, he is playing for Real Madrid when you start the game. Unlike Rodrygo and Mbappe however, he doesn’t currently make the first team so you might have an easier job of snagging him for your squad. With a potential to grow to up to 190 overall too, Vinicius Junior could prove to be a real asset for your team.
You’ve probably come across Dembele if you follow football closely, so again, this man doesn’t really need much of an introduction. He’s a little older than the other boys on this list, but he’s still just 22 years of age. Dembele currently plays for Barcelona, although he is more of a squad rotation player, and at 189 overall, it’s definitely worth a shout. Dembele could be a perfect fit for a speedy player out on the wing too, but he can also play in a central midfield role if you need him to.
Matthijs de Ligt
Apart from Kylian Mbappe, this guy is the highest-ranked out of all the young wonderkids. He starts out at 154, but he plays for a club called Zebre. You might have never heard of this club, and since this is the case, De Ligt regularly makes the first team. So as you can imagine, it will be difficult to convince him to leave Zebre at the beginning. With a bit of negotiation and a decent wage, however, you could find him in your squad quite quickly.
This young 18 year old currently plays for Chelsea as an attacking midfielder. Now, here’s the good thing about Hudson-Odoi playing for a club like Chelsea – he doesn’t make many appearances in the first team, so it’s easy to sign up or at least get him on a loan. He starts out at 140 overall which isn’t fantastic, but with the right coaching team around him, he can grow to be up to 180.
Here we have another guy who is on the roster for Barcelona, but much like some of the other players in this list, he doesn’t make the first team all that often. Wague is a perfect fit for a position on the wing or a defensive role, as he is a strong and skilful player. He is just 20 years of age too when you start the game, which gives plenty of time for him to grow and develop. He has the potential to reach up to 180 overall too, so not a bad option!
Once again, we have a teenager who has made the list here. Haaland plays for Salzburg when you start the game, and since he is just 19 years old, he could be an absolute steal, to begin with. He can only play as a striker really given his attributes, but he plays this role incredibly well. Haaland can find the back of the net from all over the pitch, and he can also grow to be between 140-180 overall.
Palacios plays for a club called River Plate, which again, isn’t one of the biggest names in football. He starts out with an overall score of 132, but there is huge room for growth with this young man. He is just 20 years of age when your season begins, but with the right team around him, he can emerge to reach a score of 150-180. Needless to say, he would be a welcome addition to any club.
William Saliba currently plays in the Barclays Premier League, for Arsenal, but he doesn’t make the top squad. For that reason, Saliba is an easier target than some of the others on this list. His overall score starts out at 119, but the window of growth is between 150-180. He can only play in defence, which makes him less versatile, but truly he is a terrific player in the game.
This Burnley man has impressed despite his team struggling this season. McNeil can be deployed on either wing or up front and will certainly score a few goals for you. Based on the FM21 system, McNeil has the potential to become world-class under the right training facilities, coaching and playing time.
The Manchester City centre-back started his career at Barcelona but never played a first-team game for the Catalonians. In FM21 the young Spanish defender is a wonderkid in the mould of his fellow countryman Pique. Garcia would predominantly be deployed as a ballplaying defender and could even do a job in defensive midfield.
The Ones You Might Not Know About
This teenage striker is making a real name for himself at AZ Alkmaar in the Eredivisie. 19-year old Boadu can also play on either wing but you will get the best out of the young Dutchman through the middle. In the real world, the AZ man is already a full Netherlands international and scored on his debut.
21-year old Kamara can play either in defensive midfield or at centre back, but being 5'10” he might need a bigger and stronger partner alongside him in defence. Kamara came through the Marseille academy and in FM21 his probably ready to walk into the starting eleven at all of the top division clubs who aren't in European competition.
Antony Matheus dos Santos, to use his full name, joined Ajax this season and looks like a real gem. The 20-year old plays out wide and possesses plenty of pace and skill. Antony has shown an eye for goal in the real world and his stats on FM21 suggest that isn't a surprise. This kid is destined for big things, well at least on my laptop he is.
This Belgian shot-stopper has one of the highest potential ratings in FM21 for his position. Despite being aged just 18, Vandevoordt is already making a name for himself in the Genk first team and will surely go on to represent his country at the highest level. In FM21 he might not be ready for most big clubs, but he is certainly worth investing in and loaning out to gain vital first-team experience.
Hellas Verona have an excellent defender on their hands in the form of Marash Kumbulla. The Albanian in international is just 20-years old and is currently enjoying a loan spell at Roma. The Italian born centre-back is 6'3″ and if he is good enough for Roma then he is good enough for plenty of big teams across the top five European leagues.
We're staying in Italy for this next centre-back, Andrea Papetti. The teenager plies his trade in Serie B with Brescia who are well known for producing excellent young talents in Italy. Papetti is a regular in the Brescia first-team but you could get him for a decent price on FM21 and he would make a great addition to most Serie A clubs looking to freshen things up at the back.
This youngster has moved around a lot before showing his true potential at 2. Bundesliga side Bochum. Bella-Kotchap has played for six clubs during his youth, including Borussia Monchengladbach and Duisburg. Born in Paris but representing Germany, the 180year old is a tall, strong, and fast centre-back that surely won't be playing in the second tier of German football for very long.
Liverpool have shown an interest in this young Portuguese left-back. Mendes is impressing at Sporting Lisbon and has already played for the Portuguese national team at U16, U17, U18, U19 and U21 level. Mendes scored his first senior goal for Sporting this season and would make a great back-up left-back for most sides with the view of playing him in cup competitions to continue his development.
The Angers left-back on-loan at Premier League side Wolves is one to watch in FM21. The full-back is still only 18-years old and has impressed enough at Angers to earn a loan to Wolves this season and has already played for the French U21 side.
Now, this is a player not many FM21 fans will know about. The New Zealand left-back is already a full international who plays for Belgian side Sint-Truiden. Cacace certainly isn't far off regular first-team football and probably needs that to aid his development. Being 20-years old, you don't want to wait too long before signing this lad.
The teenage Porto right-back is currently on-loan at Reading and possesses the potential to be one of the best full-backs in Europe under the right components. Porto will be hoping he returns from his spell in England tougher and stronger, ready to claim a starting role next season.
One of my favourite wonderkids from the last FM is back. Marco Kana is only 18 and best played in DM role as a playmaker, but can also play in defence. The Anderlecht man won't arrive on the cheap but he has the ability to go straight into most first teams and will develop into a class midfielder.
Mexico so often produce wonderkids in FM, and FM21 is no different. Lainez is a winger that plays for Betis and is already an established international. The 20-year old made his name at Club America and would have to be described as a provider of goals, more than a scorer of them.
The Independiente teenager plays out wide and has bags of pace and ability. The 19-year old is rated highly in Argentina and while he wouldn't be expensive to buy normally, to get him the work permit he would need to play in Europe, you'd have to fork out over £20m.
Forget Davies and David, Marshall-Rutty is the new name on Canadian's lips. Despite being aged just 16, this young forward has already featured for Toronto's first team this season and big things are expected of him, no pressure Jahkeele.