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The 100 best Football Manager 2019 wonderkids – for every budget

Football Manager 2019 wonderkids

In the market to add a few of the most exciting FM wonderkids to your shopping list? Then look no further with our expert buyers’ guide...

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Every year... every incarnation of football’s greatest management sim – no matter which edition, wonderkids are among the most exciting elements of any Football Manager save. We all remember our first, right?

FM has made heroes of stars who didn’t quite live up to their promise in real life, and unforgettable virtual folklore in bedrooms around the globe.

For Football Manager 2019’s wonderkids, we’ve collected the cream of the crop from SI’s selection of the best U21 players in the game. No matter your budget, there’s a talented youngster waiting for you to take their career – and maybe even yours – to the next level...

SEE ALSO 11 brilliant Football Manager 2019 bargains for under £1 million

Unlimited • Under £35mUnder £20mUnder £7mUnder £3.5m 

Please note: Prices are very much a guideline and can differ depending on club status, add-ons and more.

Unlimited budget

Rodrygo

Available for: £35m (second season)

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Need to know: Another gem Real Madrid have plucked from South America, Rodrygo is very much in the traditional Santos mould: a magician on the ball, and one blessed with enough natural talent that he can turn a game on his head in an instant. Remember the name.

Ryan Sessegnon

Available for: £38m

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Need to know: It’s become almost a running joke that Sessegnon is still a teenager, thanks to commentators in Championship games last season bringing it up every 4.5 seconds on average. He’s adjusting to Premier League life, and netted his first top-flight goal against Cardiff in October.

Amine Gouiri

Available for: £40m

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Need to know: The Frenchman saw what was considered his breakout season cut cruelly short thanks to an ACL injury in August, but there’s plenty for Lyon fans to get excited about when he returns. A striker who can befuddle full-backs by cutting onto his right after drifting in from the left channel, Gouiri should still be on course to lead the line for Lyon in the years to come. Providing you don’t snap him up first, that is.

Justin Kluivert

Available for: £40m

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Need to know: A 10-goal season while playing as a winger at Ajax inevitably caught the attentions of Roma, who coughed up £15m for the Dutchman. While he hasn’t hit the heights of that heady season, he’s done more than enough to shake off the tag of merely being Patrick Kluivert’s son.

Manuel Locatelli

Available for: £40m (second season)

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Need to know: Scoring with your first two shots in senior club football (one against Gigi Buffon, no less) means things are always going to take a bit of a dip after that. Locatelli, a ruthless operator in the centre of the pitch, has now been shipped off to Sassuolo, where he’ll hope to prove ex-coach Gennaro Gattuso wrong for letting him go.

Achraf Hakimi

Available for: £40.5m (release clause)

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Need to know: Don’t baulk at that release clause: Achraf is a marauding right-back in the mould of a Dani Alves. For a real life example, watch his performance against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, where he picked up not one, not two, but three assists in the 4-0 mauling. Los Blancos must have been pleased.

Dennis Geiger

Available for: £43m

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Need to know: If helping Hoffenheim to a third-placed finish in the Bundesliga in his debut season didn’t alert football’s elite, Geiger’s supreme confidence on the ball will have done it. Might he follow manager and mentor Julian Nagelsmann to RB Leipzig come the end of the season?

Eder Militao

Available for: £45m (release clause)

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Need to know: Equally confident at either right-back or centre-back, Militao has suitably impressed Brazil coach Tite enough to earn his first international cap – just months after signing on the dotted line with Porto.

Lucas Paqueta

Available for: £45m (second season)

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Need to know: Sorry, everyone. If you’ve started a game after the Football Manager 2019 beta, you’ll be met by the crushing news that Milan have snapped up this precocious talent. You’ll have to wait a while to lay your hands on the exciting attacking midfielder.

Sergio Gomez

Available for: £46.5m

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Need to know: Forget about his real-life prowess (he joined Borussia Dortmund from Barcelona): Gomez looks like the real deal from the start in Football Manager 2019. His big-game moxie has already been shown – he scored twice for Spain in a ultimately-lost battle against England in the 2017 U17 World Cup Final – but this won’t be the last you’ve heard of him.

Ben Wilmot

Available for: £47m

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Need to know: You wouldn’t think that someone who has made only 20 or so senior appearances, and only been playing his current position (centre-back) for around 18 months, would have any chance of making this list. But it speaks volumes about Wilmot’s potential that he’s here and has been part of Watford’s Premier League squad on a handful of occasions this term. More to come.

Willem Geubbels

Available for: £49m

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Need to know: Kylian Mbappe comparisons are already coming thick and fast for the Frenchman, who joined Monaco for around £17.5m at just 16. They’re not far wrong. The youngest player in Europa League history has it all: pace, power, height, speed, and the unteachable quality of knowing exactly where to be at the right moment. One of the most exciting wonderkids in world football right now.

Angel Gomes

Available for: £49m

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Need to know: The youngest player to play for Manchester United since Duncan Edwards – and the Premier League’s first Year 2000-born star – might have his work cut out in turning Jose Mourinho’s head, but Gomes has all the tools needed to make an impact at Old Trafford. One day.

Joao Felix

Available for: £49.5m

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Need to know: Few take to the field with the joie de vivre that Felix shows on a weekly basis. Offering up a slate of skills that would scare any full-back, Benfica’s Portuguese attacking midfielder has recently signed a new contract to help ward off the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal.

Federico Chiesa

Available for: £50m

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Need to know: Chiesa is already excellent and performing at a high level. Blessed with an effortless ability to maintain the ball under pressure, he can also deliver a mean cross and what is now becoming a trademark curling shot into the far corner. We might not have to wait long to see him strut his stuff in the Premier League if certain reports are to be believed.

Wendel

Available for: £54m (release clause)

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Need to know: Few at Sporting would have been happy to see a large chunk of expensive talent depart over the summer in controversial circumstances, but midfielder Wendel is one of them. Now, the prodigiously talented Brazilian has the chance to add to his meagre two appearances with the beleaguered Portuguese club.

Nordi Mukiele

Available for: £55m

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Need to know: Most teams would kill for one wonderkid; RB Leipzig have two. Joining compatriot Dayot Upamecano at the heart of the Bundesliga club’s defence is Frenchman Mukielem, who is also proficient at right-back, where he’s spent much of the season.

Felix Passlack

Available for: £55m

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Need to know: As long as nominative determinism doesn’t catch up with the current Norwich loanee, Passlack could have a stellar career ahead of him. Upon leaving Borussia Dortmund, Jurgen Klopp reportedly remarked: “I could start crying knowing that I won't be coaching this guy.”

Dayot Upamecano

Available for: £56m

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Need to know: One of only 10 defenders shortlisted for the 2018 Golden Boy award, Upamecano has already shown he has what it takes to rise above his peers. On the pitch he’s a commanding presence and has even popped up with a goal from time to time, having netted three times during the 2017/18 Bundesliga season.

Abel Ruiz

Available for: £58m (release clause)

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Need to know: Ruiz has scored 32 times in 50 appearances for the various Spanish youth teams he’s played a part in, demonstrating his deadly eye for goal. Can he step up and make a mark at senior level for club and country? That might be up to you.

Matteo Guendouzi

Available for: £61m

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Need to know: The news of Guendouzi’s signing may have had Gunners scrambling for search engines and YouTube compilations, but they needn’t have worried: the Frenchman managed an Arsenal player-of-the-month award and a Europa League goal in his first handful of games.

Lautaro Martinez

Available for: £62m

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Need to know: Following in the footsteps of Mauro Icardi and Diego Milito, the Argentine attacker has donned the black and blue of Inter Milan for what promises to be a breakout 2018/19 season. He’s already bagged a debut goal for his country, too:  a picture-perfect near-post header against Saudi Arabia in October.

Pietro Pellegri

Available for: £62m

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Need to know: Monaco have splashed out over £20m on Pellegri, who only turned 17 in March. All told, it could prove to be a bargain down the line, such is his terrific hold-up ability already. 

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Available for: £63m

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Need to know: It’s no surprise that Chelsea fans are clamouring for Callum Hudson-Odoi to start the odd match. Even at 18, he’s turning heads on the training pitch, and has impressed his manager enough to forgo the traditional loan route – a path well and truly travelled by youngsters at Stamford Bridge.

Ademola Lookman

Available for: £63m

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Need to know: Lookman has every right to be disappointed with being sat on the bench at Goodison Park. His promise was on full display as he impressed in the Bundesliga on loan at RB Leipzig last season, but the 21-year-old has seen his progress curtailed by the signing of Richarlison this season.

Juan Hernandez

Available for: £65m

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Need to know: Thanks to the Pozzos, Watford now have their hands on one of the best emerging starlets in South American. He’s already impressed at senior level, having helped firing Huesca to La Liga during a loan spell in Spain last season. A second season with the minnows awaits, but he won’t stick around there (or at Watford) for long if his international record is any indication: he bagged two goals on his Colombia debut and can apparently now count Barcelona among his many suitors.

Carles Alena

Available for: £67m (release clause)

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Need to know: It’s not easy being a young Spanish starlet making your way through La Masia, where the Xavi and Iniesta comparisons follow central midfielders around like a shadow. Still, Alena shouldn’t be too fazed by the expectations if his pre-injury performances for Barcelona B are anything to go by.

Rhian Brewster

Available for: £68m

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Need to know: Back-to-back U17 World Cup hat-tricks (one against Brazil, no less) must have had Liverpool fans dreaming of another prodigious talent performing in front of the Kop. A serious ankle injury has kept him out for most of 2018, so here’s hoping 2019 will be a little kinder to the fiery frontman.

Gianluigi Donnarumma

Available for: £68m

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Need to know: What is it with Italian keepers named Gianluigi? While Donnarumma has enjoyed a less-than-friendly relationship with Milan fans over the past 18 months, he’s shown all the promise that suggests a continued bright future between the Azzurri sticks after Buffon’s retirement.

Ben Woodburn

Available for: £70m

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Need to know: Despite struggling to make an impression during his current loan spell at Sheffield United, Woodburn is still highly rated by the likes of Jurgen Klopp as he looks to regain the form that saw him become Wales’ second youngest scorer.

Mason Greenwood

Available for: £71m

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Need to know: Unless you’ve got a subscription to MUTV, there’s little chance you’ve seen Greenwood in action. You’re missing out: aged only 16, the Reds striker is exciting scouts and pundits alike with his sublime fleet-footed play and knack for finding the net from all sorts of angles.

Paulinho

Available for: £72m (release clause)

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Need to know: Bayer Leverkusen shelling out north of £15m for a 17-year-old Brazilian raised eyebrows last summer, but those who’ve followed Vasco da Gama will know that the German side may very well have picked up one of the world’s best U18 talents. His wing wizardry and confidence on the ball bely his tender years.

Douglas Luiz

Available for: £75m

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Need to know: While parent club Manchester City try to sort out work permit issues, Douglas is currently plying his trade at Girona but has found chances hard to come by. Perhaps a season under Pep would do him good.

Christian Pulisic

Available for: £75m

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Need to know: It’s not easy carrying the hopes of a nation on your shoulders at the age of just 19, but if anyone can, it’s Pulisic. Having barely missed a beat in his career so far at Borussia Dortmund, the teenager has also managed to excel at international level thanks to his keen eye for goal and composure in the final third.

Renato Sanches

Available for: £75m

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Need to know: Euro 2016 winner at 18; relegated with Swansea at 19 after a lacklustre season. It’s less a case of ‘where did it all go wrong for Renato Sanches?’ and more about what he can do to bounce back from such disappointment. His second full season with Bayern Munich has shown signs of improvement thanks to a series of solid, effective performances.

Tahith Chong

Available for: £80m

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Need to know: There’s a reason why you’ll need to cough up a Cristiano-sized fee to prise this talented Dutchman away from the clutches of Jose Mourinho and Old Trafford. The big-haired baller may have had his early United career curtailed by injury, but the early signs are promising, judging by Mourinho’s decision to include him on the bench for a Champions League clash against Juventus.

Mickael Cuisance

Available for: £85m

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Need to know: Cuisance hasn’t played as much as he’d have liked in 2018/19 after a breakout season for Borussia Monchengladbach last time out which included nine starts and 24 appearances overall. Still, the talent is there: his passing range and silky skills make him a danger anywhere on the pitch.

Theo Hernandez

Available for: £88m

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Need to know: Fresh from scoring in the Copa del Rey final against Barcelona, Hernandez was shipped out on loan to Real Sociedad for the 2018/19 season. Far from it being surplus to requirements, parent club Real Madrid expect him to return stronger and try to make the left-back berth his own come 2019.

Vinicius Junior

Available for: £90m

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Need to know: £40m for a 16-year-old. A big gamble, and one that sacked Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui apparently didn’t want to make, gifting the now-18-year-old a measly 12 minutes during his ill-fated reign. Things are much better under Santiago Solari, who has played the thrilling Brazilian far more regularly.

Ethan Ampadu

Available for: £92m

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Need to know: Chelsea have recently seen many a talented player fly the coop and find that the grass is greener away from Stamford Bridge. Ampadu, though, remains steadfast in his desire to play for the club. A January loan move is on the cards for the talented Wales international.

Claudio Gomes

Available for: £92m

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Need to know: A near-impossibility to sign in your first FM season, Gomes is the latest in a line of Manchester City youth talent hovering around the first team. Dubbed ‘N’Golo Kante’ during his time at PSG, this tough-tackling midfielder may need some time to grow into himself, but when he does, he’ll add some much-needed steel to City’s (and perhaps your) midfield.

Diogo Dalot

Available for: £95m

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Need to know: Jose Mourinho may have splashed £20m on a full-back he doesn’t yet trust to start (m)any Premier League games, but the Portuguese was bought for his potential. Next season looks like his most likely chance at staking a real claim in the first team.

Kai Havertz

Available for: £96m

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Need to know: Widely regarded as Germany’s next great wonderkid, Havertz has stamped his authority on the Bundesliga this season. Three goals and two assists don’t tell the whole story; he’s an influential player who provides plenty in the build-up, without necessarily getting the final credit.

Marcus Rashford

Available for: £96m

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Need to know: Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’re probably fairly familiar with Rashford. He first lit up several competitions under the tutelage of Louis van Gaal in his debut season, and is now kicking on this season at international level having scored in England’s famous 3-2 win against Spain.

Phil Foden

Available for: £98m

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Need to know: It’s hard to displace the likes of David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne in Manchester City’s first XI, but Foden looks best placed to do it. Endlessly praised by Pep Guardiola – and the youngest Premier League winner in history – Foden’s ability on the ball belies his 18 years. Now he’s got to push on from League Cup cameos and stake a claim for a starting spot.

Javairo Dilrosun

Available for: £101m

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Need to know: Spending many of his formative years at Ajax and, latterly, the mammoth complex that is the Manchester City academy, Dilrosun has a football education like few others. He’s capitalised on it, too, with an impressive start to his Bundesliga career at Hertha Berlin.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Available for: £106m

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Need to know: U20 World Cup winner Maitland-Niles was looking to kick on under new Arsenal coach Unai Emery, but unfortunately suffered a broken leg in the opening-day defeat against Manchester City. Before that he was looking like a bright prospect indeed.

Arne Maier

Available for: £106m

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Need to know: Already hailed as the next Toni Kroos, Maier has been linked with Manchester United and Arsenal but appears to have his feet firmly on the ground with hometown club Hertha Berlin.

Jadon Sancho

Available for: £107m

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Need to know: Pep Guardiola probably doesn’t regret much in his career, but he might just rue letting the electric Sancho go for (relative) peanuts. He’s dazzled in the Bundesliga and Champions League so far, and can now count himself as a full England international.

Gedson Fernandes

Available for: £108m (release clause)

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Need to know: Strong, quick, agile and elusive, Fernandes may be able to succeed where Renato Sanches – another member of this list – has stumbled in recent years. He’s kicked on this season as well, earning a young-player-of-the-month award in Portugal’s top tier, a handful of Champions League appearances and senior caps for Portugal.

Josip Brekalo

Available for: £111m

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Need to know: Former Bundesliga champions Wolfsburg could easily be plying their trade in the second tier of German football if it wasn’t for a series of outstanding performances from Brekalo, including a goal and assist on the final day of the season. The Croatian winger will be hoping he can now break into the senior national side after proving himself at every youth level, right down to the Croatian U14 side.

Houssem Aouar

Available for: £120m

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Need to know: Aouar’s style, swagger and underrated strength on the ball make him one of the deadliest midfielders in the game today. His one-in-five record for Lyon aged 20 is proof enough that he’s worth shelling out on.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Available for: £150m

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Need to know: Alexander-Arnold could easily be Liverpool’s first-choice right-back for the next 15 years. The youngster has developed brilliantly in the past year, to the point where it was obvious that he’d be starting a Champions League final when the time came. The first of many?

Leon Bailey

Available for: £150m

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Need to know: Rumours of an England call-up for the 2018 World Cup ultimately came to nothing, but it speaks volumes of Bailey’s talent that he’s still on the radars of almost every European club worth their salt – having turned many of them down already. He’s also mates with Usain Bolt, which can’t hurt.

Reiss Nelson

Available for: £160m

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Need to know: No, that’s not a typo. £160m! While the eye-watering fee is steep, Nelson has enjoyed one of the finest impacts of a foreign teenager in Bundesliga history, during his real-life breakout season on loan at Hoffenheim. Arsenal will welcome him back with open arms next season.

Emile Smith-Rowe

Available for: £177m

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Need to know: The Croydon-born attacker has already repaid the trust shown in him by Unai Emery with a Europa League goal at Qarabag. He’s now firmly part of the Arsenal set-up and could add an extra dimension to the team’s attacking play as Emery looks to put his own stamp on the Gunners.

Kylian Mbappe

Available for: £232m

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Need to know: Yes, he’s still technically a wonderkid. Then again, an argument has been made that he’s already fulfilled his potential, having won Ligue 1 and the World Cup in the same year. Mbappe could go on to be one of the best players of his generation – and then some.

Unlimited • Under £35m • Under £20m • Under £7m • Under £3.5m 

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