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In these dire times, football fans need something to keep them going. FIFA scratches an itch but it doesn’t fill the void. But you can always rely on Football Manager.

For the past week and a bit, the 2020 iteration of the game has been free to play. Many will have taken full advantage of this but, despite the global lockdown, not all people have the time to unearth the gems in the game. 

Fortunately, however, we do. And we’ve put together a list of wonderkids you’re going to want to look at. We’ve already covered goalkeepers, full-backs and centre-backs. Next up are midfielders.

Martin Ødegaard

Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Ødegaard on Football Manager 2020.

The Norweigan playmaker has been a Football Manager wonderkid for what feels like an eternity. When you start your game, he’s on loan with Real Sociedad but you can sign him during the summer of 2020.

Real Madrid are reasonable, too. He’s often available for around the £40million mark and it proves to be one of the best bargains on this year’s game. 

We simulated five years into the future to see how certain players develop. Ødegaard evolves into one of the best midfielders in the game. He’s the definition of a creator-in-chief and he’s able to pull the strings from a number of positions. It may sound extreme but he’s the sort of player you reshape your entire midfield around if you’re lucky enough to sign him. 

Eduardo Camavinga

Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga on Football Manager 2020.

At the start of the game, Camavinga is turning out for Rennes. However, he’s immediately linked with big-money moves and unless you’re prepared to break the bank to secure him you’ll likely miss out on him. 

Act quickly, though, and you have a midfielder who can be a key part of your team for the next 15 years. He’s not a creative force but he’s one of the best facilitators on the planet.

Positionally, he’s superb. He reads the game well and he’s composed when in possession. Pair him with an Odegaard and it'd be near impossible to find a better midfield duo in the game. 

Ryan Gravenberch

Ajax midfielder Ryan Gravenberch on Football Manager 2020.

The Dutchman is a special talent. He’s got the potential to play a number of different roles in one system. Gravenberch isn't versatile in the sense he can be deployed in a variety of positions but play him centrally and he can be a box-to-box midfielder, an advanced playmaker, a deep-lying playmaker and an attacking midfielder. 

In many ways, he’s the long-term heir to Gini Wijnaldum as arguably the most multi-functional midfielder in the world. You can usually sign him for around £20million with add-ons. In terms of value for money, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better transfer in Football Manager this year. 

Jude Bellingham

Sign him, whatever the cost. Birmingham City wonderkid Bellingham counts towards the homegrown number if you’re a Premier League club, something you need to be wary of when making signings.

Bellingham, who has been linked with Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, can play anywhere in midfield, including as a winger, and he’s young enough to be crafted into whatever sort of player you feel your squad needs.

Birmingham cash in early on so get him as soon as you start the game and then loan him out for a season or two. He’s a must-have player for any team in the 2020 edition of Football Manager.

Football Manager