Football Manager 2020 wonderkids: the best young players to sign

From ready-made forwards to commanding centre backs, and even a few U21 shot-stoppers to add to your wishlist, we’ve rounded them up dozens of the best. That even includes their transfer fees and a look at how they can improve your squad either now or in the future.

There are some Football Manager 2020 wonderkids you won’t find in this list, however. The essentially unobtainable, such as Joao Felix and Trent Alexander-Arnold, while immensely gifted both in real-life and in the game, aren’t worth mentioning. They will be out of reach of all but the most ridiculously overblown of transfer budgets and, even then, are unlikely to move for several seasons. We’ve dug deeper and unearthed some hidden gems from all corners of the globe and players in every position – to ensure there’s a wonderkid here for everyone and for teams of all budgets.

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Aimar Oroz (Central midfielder – Osasuna)

Available for: £9m

Need to know: Perhaps best loaned out to aid his early development, Aimar Oroz could prove to be a potent advanced playmaker for most Premier League-level sides thanks to his already high baseline for Passing, Dribbling, Technique, and Vision. If you want to be fully-versed in the ways of the transfer dark arts, try and unsettle him in the summer transfer window and then pick him up on a free in January.

Alessio Riccardi (Central midfielder – AS Roma)

Available for: £20m

Need to know: If you get creative with add-on fees, you can snap up the highly-rated Italian midfielder for just under £10m up-front. He’s well worth it too, and could probably slot into most major European leagues with very little fuss from the get-go. Riccardi is wanted by Manchester City at the start of the game, however, so you’ll have to be quick.

Alex Centelles (Left back – Valencia)

Available for: £5m

Need to know: While not as ready-made as some of the other wonderkids on this list, Alex Centelles has the benefit of already being out on loan during the first season. If he impresses enough (and gets game time) you’ll have a vastly improved talent by the time the second season rolls around – and a full back who thrives in any five-at-the-back formation.

Amine Gouiri (Striker – Lyon)

Available for: £30m

Need to know: His early valuation puts him out of reach of all but the most spend-heavy financial powerhouses. Smaller clubs can easily loan him in the first season, though. If you do sign the Frenchman permanently, be sure to teach him the ‘Places Shots’ preferred move, which will complement his high Finishing and Composure stats.

Andreas Skov Olsen (Winger – Bologna)

Available for: £13.5m

Need to know: Potentially one of the most overlooked wonderkids currently in the game, Skov Olsen would be a boon for most sides who play with wingers. He’s two-footed, can play on either flank, and possesses utterly fantastic Finishing (15), Long Shots (14), and Dribbling (14) ability. His wages may prove the only stumbling block, however, at around £40,000 a week.

Armel Bella-Kotchap (Centre back – VfL Bochum)

Available for: £4m

Need to know: The wonderfully-named Armel Bella-Kotchap is a steal in Football Manager 2020. He costs £4m, only wants £5,000 a week, and isn’t too proud to drop further down the table to get some game time. Rotate him in cup competitions and he could soon blossom into an outstanding ball-playing central defender, though he may be best suited to playing in a three due to his lack of pace.

Arne Maier (Central midfielder – Hertha Berlin)

Available for: £40m

Need to know: You won’t be able to pick up the German playmaker in the first transfer window – he’s out for several months with a knee injury. Be patient and you can sign him in January or, if you want to risk it, hope that Hertha Berlin struggle in the Bundesliga so he agitates for a cut-price move elsewhere.

Bongokuhle Hiongwane (Striker – Maritzburg United)

Available for: £250k

Need to know: Now, this is a deep cut. You’ll need South African leagues loaded to find Hiongwane – and he’s unlikely to get a work permit to play in England. Still, he’s a project well worth putting time and effort into. While he may not reach the upper echelons of the game, he can turn into a trusted forward at all but the most star-studded of clubs.


Declan Rice (Defensive midfielder – West Ham)

Available for: £50m

Need to know: One of the most highly-touted youngsters in the Premier League never was going to come cheap. For £50m, though, you’re getting a tough-tackling lynchpin who works just as well in a midfield three as he does protecting the back four. Not only can he make your team tick for years, his ‘Resolute’ personality makes him a perfect tutor years down the line. Well worth the considerable outlay.

Diego Lainez (Winger – Real Hispalis)

Available for: £12m

Need to know: Ignore the Mexican’s £20m release clause – you can get him for less than that. While he may be listed as a natural left winger, his trait ‘Cuts Inside From Both Wings’ actually makes him better suited to an Inside Forward role on the right wing. Take advantage of his great Acceleration and Dribbling by also setting his player instructions to Dribble More and Shoot Less Often. After all, there’s nothing a Football Manager winger likes more than shooting from impossible angles.

Dominik Szoboszlai (Central midfielder – Red Bull Salzburg)

Available for: £9m

Need to know: If you hold your nerve, you can snatch up one of the best Football Manager 2020 wonderkids for under £10m – but you’ll likely have to be in a European competition to tempt him away. Most scouts have him around five stars for potential ability, though his mental stats aren’t as high as you’d might hope for someone of his talents, so let your coaching staff help him progress in the first few seasons.

Dwight McNeil (Winger – Burnley)

Available for: £52m

Need to know: If we’re being honest, McNeil isn’t worth the asking price Burnley hold out for in the opening season. Despite that, if you manage to haggle further down the line, you’re getting a winger who can terrorise full backs for seasons to come. Try retraining him to a left midfielder if you don’t use wingers and you should see similar results.

Eduardo Camavinga (Central midfielder – Stade Rennais)

Available for: £22m

Need to know: Got enough spare change to drop £20m on a 16-year-old? You might wince at the early asking price, but the midfielder becomes undroppable in a deep-lying playmaker role not long after he turns 18 in-game.

Emanuel Vignato (Winger – Chievo)

Available for: £12m

Need to know: If you’re not part of the footballing elite, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to purchase Emanuel Vignato, at least in the first transfer window. Manchester City, Liverpool, and Chelsea all want him at the start of the game. If he struggles for game time there, you can get him at a discounted fee at the beginning of the third season.

Erling Haaland (Striker – Red Bull Salzburg)

Available for: £16m

Need to know: Haaland’s real-life goalscoring exploits already hint at the fact he’s not going to come cheap. In-game, however, he’s actually pound-for-pound one of the best wonderkids you can acquire. He can easily start for most sides and is exceptional in a Complete Forward lone striker role thanks to Pace, Strength, Bravery, and Finishing (all 16). His Off The Ball (18) attribute means he can also get an extra yard on unsuspecting defenders.

Ewan Henderson (Central midfielder – Celtic)

Available for: £6m

Need to know: Unlike some of the other wonderkids on this list, Henderson will need to be a long-term project as he’s not as immediately blessed with as many outstanding technical attributes as his peers. It does mean, though, that smaller clubs – including potentially some in the Championship – could prise him away from Celtic Park.

Exequiel Palacios (Central midfielder – River Plate)

Available for: £4.5m

Need to know: While listed as a central midfielder, a good long-term move for the Argentinian would be re-training him as an attacking midfielder. His 5’9” frame could count against him at more physically-imposing levels, especially if he’s only part of a two-man midfield.

Fabio Silva (Striker – Porto)

Available for: £35m

Need to know: Fabio Silva is tricky to recommend. He’s £35m and, even then, Porto are reluctant to sell. But his attributes should make it oh-so-tempting: 13 Finishing, 14 Dribbling, 14 Composure. All at 16. If he was a regen, you wouldn’t think twice about putting that sort of money down. He grows into one of the best strikers in world football. Guaranteed.

Federico Ravaglia (Goalkeeper – Bolgona)

Available for: £2m

Need to know: Not every youngster has the potential to be a superstar. That’s okay. If you’re a less prolific club on the hunt for a backup goalkeeper, you should look Federico Ravaglia’s way. Remember, goalkeepers in Football Manager don’t tend to peak until their late twenties, making this a wise long-term investment.

Florentino Luis (Defensive midfielder – Benfica)

Available for: £45m

Need to know: Don’t let the eye-watering price tag put you off. Florentino Luis is already one of the best defensive midfielders in the game and comes with the incredibly rare Model Citizen personality – though you may need to focus on upping his Strength on the training ground.

Fran Beltran (Central midfielder – Celta Vigo)

Available for: £10m

Need to know: What he lacks in speed and strength, Beltran makes up for in his reading of the game. Play the Spaniard alongside at least one tough-tackling midfielder to get the most out of him.

Gustavo Assuncao (Defensive midfielder – FC Famalicao)

Available for: £9m

Need to know: Not as preternaturally gifted as some of the talents on this list, Assuncao can still prove to be a worthwhile addition to teams looking to push for a European berth. His high Decisions, Technique, Vision, and Passing attributes make him a model fit for those looking to control possession at all costs.

Hamed Junior Traore (Central midfielder – Sassuolo)

Available for: £20m (third season)

Need to know: You won’t be able to sign Hamed Junior Traore until the third season thanks to a loan-to-buy clause. Ignore the Ivorian at your peril, however. He has all the tools to grow into the best box-to-box midfielder in the entire game, regens notwithstanding.

Hannibal Mejbri (Attacking midfielder – Manchester United)

Available for: £60m

Need to know: It’s clear that those at Manchester United’s Carrington training ground rate Hannibal Mejbri highly – this is one Frenchman they won’t let go of easily. If you’re lucky enough to poach him, Mejbri turns into a world-class player. Be sure to train his traits early: Tries Killer Balls Often and Dictates Tempo are both hugely beneficial. 

Ilaix Moriba (Attacking midfielder – Barcelona)

Available for: £22.5m

Need to know: You’ll have to activate the release clause to sign La Masia’s newest gem off the production line. Moriba is listed as more of a central midfielder but thrives in the final field; try playing him as an attacking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 formation to make the most out of his high Flair stat.

Jonathan David (Winger – Gent)

Available for: £15m

Need to know: Best suited to counter-attacking sides thanks to his explosive pace, Jonathan David tends to go for a move elsewhere not long after the January transfer window. While he can play anywhere across the front line, he works supremely well as an Inside Forward on the left flank.

Josha Vagnoman (Full-back - Hamburger)

Available for: £13m

Need to know: Equally as comfortable on either side of defence, Vagnoman is the quintessential modern full-back: 17 Natural Fitness, 16 Pace, 13 Dribbling, and 12 Crossing are fantastic starting points to mould him into someone who can add another dimension to your attacking play.

Jude Bellingham (Attacking midfielder - Birmingham)

Available for: £3m

Need to know: You only have to pay £3m in compensation to sign Jude Bellingham if you’re managing in England. It’d be rude not to. One of the youngest wonderkids in Football Manager 2020, the 15-year-old has decent starting stats, though you’ll have to experiment with loans and cup rotation to help him grow during his teenage years.

Kaka (Winger – Fluminense)

Available for: £4m

Need to know: Like the other Brazilian named Kaka, the Fluminense prodigy can turn a game on a dime thanks to his already-great Dribbling (13), Passing (14) and Decisions (14) attributes. Make sure you’ve got the Brazilian league loaded as he’s tucked away in Fluminense’s U20 side at the start of the game.

Karamoko Dembele (Winger – Celtic)

Available for: £6m

Need to know: Dembele has already made headlines for featuring in Celtic’s academy team at just 13. He’s not quite ready to move up to a higher level in Football Manager, but use him sparingly and he’ll become a quality squad player for most Premier League sides – and a fairly cheap one at that. 

Luka Ivanusec (Attacking midfielder – Dinamo Zagreb)

Available for: £9m

Need to know: An inexpensive attacking midfield option, Ivanusec performs well in the Shadow Striker role thanks to his Arrives Late in Opponents’ Area trait. Try utilising the Team Instruction ‘Work Ball Into Box’ late in games against tiring opponents to maximise his goalscoring opportunities at the edge of the area.

Marcus Dewhurst (Goalkeeper – Sheffield United)

Available for: £25m

Need to know: It’s easy to recommend most wonderkids on this list, but Dewhurst won’t reach his potential for at least five or six seasons. Keep him on your radar and personally attend some of his matches to make him more unsettled and the Blades might end up knocking a zero off his asking price.

Max Aarons (Full back – Norwich)

Available for: £45m

Need to know: One of only a handful of full-back wonderkids in Football Manager 2020, Max Aarons doesn’t come cheap – and will only move to those playing in a European competition. Make sure you get the most out of him by having his position set to ‘Wing Back – Attack’

Mohamed Ihattaren (Attacking midfielder - PSV)

Available for: £22m

Need to know: Several Dutch wonderkids populate the Eredivisie this year, but Ihattaren sets himself apart, at least in Football Manager terms, with his unparalleled ability at his age to carry the ball. 16 First Touch, 14 Passing, 15 Technique and Vision makes him the ideal playmaker in the final third, even at 17 years of age.

Myron Boadu (Striker – AZ Alkmaar)

Available for: £60m

Need to know: Unlike previous years, most clubs are willing to play ball when negotiating fees for their wonderkids. This is not the case with AZ Alkmaar, though. You’ll need to cough up north of £50m for his services, but you’ll be getting an agile, confident finisher with bags of potential. Try him in a front two alongside a Deep Lying Forward or False Nine to give him the space he craves. 

Naci Unuvar (Winger – Ajax)

Available for: £13.5m

Need to know: Naci Unuvar is listed as being able to play both a central attacking midfielder and a left winger, but it’s on the left where he most feels at home. Couple Unuvar with a marauding wing back on the overlap and set him as an Inverted Winger to overload the left flank.

Nicolo Armini (Centre back – Lazio)

Available for: £800k

Need to know: If you can only sign one wonderkid in the opening transfer window, make it Nicolo Armini. His £800,000 compensation fee makes it a no-brainer. Even if you don’t use him (and he can turn into a proven Premier League centre back anyway), you can sell the Italian on for a handsome profit down the line.

Rayan Cherki (Winger – Lyon)

Available for: £14m

Need to know: If you’re eager to dive into a long-term save, Rayan Cherki could be the perfect pet project to have along for the ride. At only 15, he already comes bundled with obscenely good Dribbling, Flair, and Technique stats. Kudos to the FM real-life scouting team for spotting him.

Reinier (Attacking midfielder – Flamengo)

Available for: £17.5m

Need to know: Reinier is one of the trickiest players to get a hold of in the opening summer transfer window. Persist with work permit issues and the long wait until January for him to arrive at your club and you’ll find yourself having control over one of the most mercurial talents in the game. Slide him into a strong mentoring group and he’ll soon become the first name on the team sheet.

Roberto Alvarado (Winger – Cruz Azul)

Available for: £3m

Need to know: If old-fashioned wing-play is more your thing, Roberto Alvarado should be added to your shortlist. The fee is certainly manageable and his decent starting stats make this a low-risk, high-reward type of deal.

Ryan Gravenberch (Central midfielder – Ajax)

Available for: £18m

Need to know: Gravenberch works best in a three-man midfield in either the Advanced Playmaker or Mezzala role. But he’s not the finished article. Focus on his Vision attribute in the training menus to unlock his true potential – otherwise he won’t always have the ability to impact games.

Sandro Tonali (Central midfielder – Brescia)

Available for: £30m

Need to know: Brescia’s return to Serie A means Sandro Tonali isn’t as easy to buy as in recent years. £30m still gets you a ready-made Deep Lying Playmaker, one who comes equipped with the incredible useful Dictates Tempo trait. If you’re feeling particularly crafty, you can take advantage of Brescia’s possible relegation after the first season to cut that fee in half.

Sebastiano Esposito (Striker – Inter Milan)

Available for: £2m (compensation)

Need to know: Another to steal away without much fuss, Esposito could become a formidable Pressing Forward in a front two thanks to his boundless Natural Fitness (16), plus seriously impressive Mental stats for a 16-year-old. They’ll only improve with age and, crucially, with the right tutor

Sergio Gomez (Central midfielder – Borussia Dortmund)

Available for: £60m

Need to know: 2020’s class of wonderkids is filled with central midfielders, yet none are better than Sergio Gomez – and the asking price reflects that. The Spaniard is on loan for the first season, so you’ll have to bide your time and hope he finds himself out of the team at Dortmund upon his return before swooping for a less budget-sapping fee.

Silas Wamangituka (Striker – Stuttgart)

Available for: £11m

Need to know: Stuttgart typically asks for a loan back clause in any deal you strike for Silas Wamangituka – which is useful. He’ll get ample game time in Germany’s second tier and should return as an exceptional Advanced Forward.

Stefan Bajic (Goalkeeper – AS Saint-Etienne)

Available for: £7m

Need to know: Another ‘keeper who will come good with the right blend of mentoring, careful training and constant game time, Bajic can develop into a competent shot-stopper whose biggest strength will be claiming the ball from crosses and corners.

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