SQUAD GOALS: WONDERKIDS

Everyone loves a wonderkid; the youngsters you can pull from almost any corner of the globe, and turn into a superstar with the right coaching and gametime. For me personally, they’re almost always the focus of any save, as I try to build a club around some of the best young talent in the world.

In this article, I’ve picked out a 4-2-3-1 + subs of players that I believe have the potential to go on and become some of the best in the world – there are some names here you’ll recognise, and probably not many that you won’t. All screenshots and information are from my FM20 BETA save so after full release the players may look slightly different.

I should tell you now – this isn’t a “these are the 40 players with -10 PA” or etc, its just a squad list (and downloadable shortlist) of 18 players who I think have potential in this years game. There are no guarantees that a player will develop the way I think they do, its largely speculation.

If you do want to track these players for yourselves, the shortlist will be available on the Steam Workshop after full launch.


Goalkeeper: Andriy Lunin (Valladoid)

On loan at Valladoid from Real Madrid, Lunin started his career in Ukraine in 2013/14 with Metalist, but took until the 2016/17 season to make his first senior appearance, making 22 appearances for Dnipro before a free transfer to Zorya. He spent 2018/19 on loan in Leganes, and Real Madrid obviously liked enough of what they saw to spend £7.5m on him before loaning him to Valladoid for the season. Lunin already has a strong spread of attributes, particularly standing out with his one-on-one ability and reflexes. Where Lunin stands out for me is his relatively high determination and 55 first-team appearances across multiple clubs at just 20 years of age. His loan at Valladoid will be crucial in his development if he is to push on at Madrid.

Right Back: Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

No surprises here – Trent is arguably one of the top 5 youngsters in the world at this current moment, and it’s difficult to see past him for the right-back position. He’s been at Liverpool his entire career, has appeared in 2 Champions League finals and lifted Ol’ Big Ears once already. Much like real-life, Trent’s passing and delivery is what sets him apart, and he could really become a superstar in either defence or midfield, depending on the club. Prising him away from Liverpool won’t be cheap, but he is well on the way to being a superstar.

Centre Back – Dayot Upamecano (Red Bull Leipzig)

Physically outstanding, Upamecano made an £8.75m move from RB Salzburg in 2016 and has been in and around the first-team ever since. There’s still a bit of growth to do technically, however his physical ability is absolutely unreal. Fast and strong, Dayot also has the composure and confidence to bring the ball out of defence and kick start a counter attack. Another player who wont be cheap, but Dayot’s massive upside could well be worth it for the right club.

Centre Back – Gabriele Corbo (Bologna)

Very much a rough diamond, Corbo is a player with masses of potential, if you can develop him. A solid base of defensive attributes, coupled with balanced physicals indicates Corbo’s potential to be a real workhorse defender. He’ll need patience and guidance, but with Bologna willing to talk at around £13.5m (potentially less), he’s worth a punt at many clubs.

Left Back – Luca Pellegrini (Cagliari)

On loan from Juventus, Pellegrini made a £19.5m move from Rome to Turin in summer, and by rights should be a cornerstone of the Juve defence for years to come. His determination immediately jumps out as a positive, and while i’m not overly keen on him diving into tackles, he’s got a great set of traits for an attacking fullback: Runs with Ball down left, plays one-twos and knocks ball past opponent. There’s a lot of upside here, and if you can prise him away from Juventus he’s worth investing in.

Central Midfielder – Declan Rice (West Ham United)

You’ll pay a bit over the odds for Rice, given the impending Brexit and resultant focus on home-grown British talent, but at just 20, he has the ability to be a cornerstone of midfields for years to come. A completely blank slate in terms of traits, and already proficient in a number of Midfield roles, you can almost mold Rice into anything you need him to be long-term.

Central Midfielder – Ryan Gravenberch (Ajax)

My favourite wonderkid last year, Gravenberch makes it into the Wonderkid squad this year purely on the basis of how damn well he developed last year! Capable all through the midfield, tricky, technically gifted and composed, Gravenberch’s only downside is his 6 for determination: he’ll need a good tutor but he absolutely has the potential to be one of the best in the game.

Right Winger – Karamoko Dembele (Celtic)

It feels like people have been talking about Karamoko for years, but this year he is finally old enough to feature in the vanilla database, having turned 16 in February. From initial scouting he is the least ‘sure thing’ on this list, but I do believe that with game time and a focus on his physicality, Dembele could flourish. His left-footedness on the right flank is something I personally like, and hes got plenty of determination, combined with good flair and technique. He’s a project player, but i believe he would pay off with the right coaching.

Central Attacking Midfielder – Renier (Flamengo)

What’s a wonderkid list without at least one Brazillian? Flamengo will ask for around £20m for Renier, and he is worth it. Technically gifted, strong, and willing to take a shot from long-range, Renier should have some top clubs chasing him relatively early in your save. If you’ve got the money to shell out, he’s worth a shot, especially if you grab him early and mentor him to bring up that determination and work on his natural fitness.

Left Winger – Ansu Fati (Barcelona)

A player on the verge of a breakthrough season in the real world, Fati won’t come cheap (he has a £31m release clause) but he has huge upside. Still only 16, his physical attributes are impressive, and are backed up by his technicallity – his mentality does need work in some aspects, particularly his concentration and positioning. If you can pair him in a strong mentoring group then he has a long time to develop and grow, and I can see him becoming one of the best players on this year’s game.

Striker – Victor Osimhen (Lille)

Osimhen is a player who hasn’t had an easy route to the stars – Malaria threatened to shatter his dreams in 2018, but he was handed a 1 year loan contract by Charleroi, and he took that opportunity with both hands, netting 20 times and securing his move to Lille this summer. A physical monster, fast and clinical, Osimhen is a huge talent that in my opinion almost everyone should have an eye on this year. Still only 20, Osimhen has plenty of development time, and is talented enough to lead the line almost anywhere in the world for the next decade.


On The Bench

Goalkeeper – Diogo Costa (Porto)

I always find it hard to gauge the potential on young goalkeepers, as they can develop so much later than outfield players. Costa already has a number of key attributes at a good level; especially if you’re looking for a sweeper keeper. There’s a lot of room for improvement, however he would be a good option as your backup ‘keeper for a few seasons while he develops into a star. For me it is more his mental attributes that need work, particularly positioning and vision, but they will grow with time.

Centre Back – Lisandro Martinez (Ajax)

A new arrival at Ajax this season, Martinez is a calm, composed head at the back who isnt scared to spread the ball around the pitch with his traits of trying long-range passes and bringing the ball out of defence. He has the technical ability to back that up as well, and while you’d have to wait a season to get your hands on him, Ajax’s £30m price tag could end up looking like a bargain for the Argentine.

Full Back – Moussa Wague (Barcelona)

Capable of playing on either side of the defence, Wague is a talented, versatile full back. Quick and a hard worker, Wague’s tendency to attack and drive forward is backed by solid crossing ability and his immense technicallity and flair. If you can harness that aspect of his game and develop his defensive attributes you could end up with one of the greatest fullbacks on the game, but Barca will make you pay massive amounts for him if you’re buying.

Central Midfielder – Florentino Luis (Benfica)

Another wonderkid that it feels like we’ve been talking about for years, Florentino made his Benfica debut last year, and is well on his way to growing into a top-tier Defensive Midfielder. His mental attributes reflect an ability to read the game like a book, and he has the ability to win and recycle the ball quickly and efficiently, kick starting the attacking play and shielding the defence.

Central Midfielder – Yari Verschaeren (Anderlecht)

With 2 goals in 21 appearances last season for Anderlecht, Yari for me is a bit of an under-the-radar player; his mental attributes are absolutely out of this world, and he has the stamina and natural fitness to run all day long. Very solid defensively, Yari does need a bit of polishing technically, but he absolutely has the potential to become a star in the midfield.

Winger – Naci Ünüvar (Ajax)

A bit of a wildcard, Naci is very much a rough diamond for me; his dribbling and finishing are sublime for a player of his age, and while his physical and mentals do need work, I believe that comes with age and a good training setup. It’ll cost a bit to prise him away from Ajax but if you’ve got the budget and can get a deal out of them, he’s worth a punt.

Striker – Myron Boadu (AZ Alkmaar)

A bit of a livewire up front, 18-year old Boadu is already a capable finisher and his trait set is indicative of a player who isn’t scared to take his man on, even if that man is the goalkeeper! Like Naci above, Myron does need a lot of work to mould him into a top striker, but the potential is absolutely there.

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