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Football Manager 2021 wonderkids: 50 of the best young players to sign

Football Manager 2021 wonderkids, FM21
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A new Football Manager means one thing: new Football Manager 2021 wonderkids - and with even more realism in the game when it comes to COVID-19, Brexit and the economy, there's even more incentive to invest your money wisely.

Wonderkids aren't just satisfying to nurture, they often represent the best value in the game. Plonking your transfer budget on a player who'll stay at your club for 10 years is so much more sensible than signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic. As good as he (still) is. 

As we do each year, we've been trawling through the game to find the best players aged 20 and under on the FM database. Get your notebooks ready - you're gonna want to jot these names down for your next recruitment meeting...

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Goalkeepers

Maarten Vandevoordt

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 18
Position: Goalkeeper
Club: Genk
Value: £150k

Big Maarten was a standout name last time around on FM and he's back this year even better. The Belgian stopper is already tipped to become the new Courtois and has excellent potential on FM21.

At £150K, he's a big investment - though obviously, you'll have to bid a little more to tempt him from Genk. His wages sit at £4.1K-per-week too - so not too hard to give him a pay rise if you've got a Championship or above side. 

Manuel Gasperini

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 18
Position: Goalkeeper
Club: Udinese
Value: £64k

Gianluigi Donnarumma is now 21, meaning that he's no longer Italy's most exciting wonderkid keeper - the old man. Manuel Gasperini takes that title - an 18-year-old stopper, slightly taller than Vandevoordt with superb potential. He's valued at £64K. 

Mikki van Sas

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 16
Position: GK
Club: Manchester City
Value: £13.75k

Manchester City have a wealth of exciting gems in their academy, including a fair few keepers ready to take over the world one day. 16-year-old Dutch starlet Mikki van Sas is 16 - a long-long-term investment - but if you pluck him now, City probably won't be that bothered about letting him go. 

Alejandro Iturbe

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 16
Position: Goalkeeper
Club: Atletico Madrid
Value: £8k

An Atletico Madrid player valued at £8K? Sheesh! Sure, he's only 16, but Alejandro Iturbe is a star in the making. He has good potential and like van Sas, he's a project for 10 years in the future. Got to play the long game - similarly to how Diego Simeone would tell this lad to hit it 70 yards onto Suarez's head. 

Matheus Donelli

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 18
Position: Goalkeeper
Club: Corinthians
Value: £21k

Brazil keepers are en vogue, right? Matheus Donelli is 18 but could follow in Ederson and Alisson's footsteps. Of course, signing a Brazilian 18-year-old might prove tricky if you're starting with an English club but there are plenty of other sides it might be a little easier to buy him for. 

Ivan Martinez

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 18
Position: Goalkeeper
Club: Atletico Pamplona
Value: £27k

Spainish stopper Martinez is out of contract next summer - is now your time to pounce? He develops into a solid keeper in the next few years though might need a loan. With a wage of just £1K too, you should be able to tempt him. 

Right-backs

Max Aarons

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 20
Position: RB
Club: Norwich City
Value: £20m

A target for Barcelona and Bayern Munich in the summer, Max Aarons is one of the worst-kept secrets in the Championship. But that's no reason not to snap him up.

Capable of retraining into a CM on Football Manager 2021, he's versatile too. He won't come cheap though.

Tomas Esteves

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 18
Position: RB
Club: Reading (on loan from Porto)
Value: £350K

Another Championship player - what is this, Championship Manager? - Tomas Esteves is a Portuguese talent who can become quite the attacking right-back. He's only valued at £350K, meaning that he won't break the bank either. Give him a few years and he'll become a capable right-back in a top European side.

Malo Gusto

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 17
Position: RB
Club: Lyon
Value: £47.5K

Lyon's academy is one of the most prolific in the world, churning out top talent like nobody's business. Malo Gusto is the latest full-back to impress from France and at 17, he's got plenty of growth to come. 

Valued at under £50K, Gusto should be simpler to sign than more established Lyon stars like Aouar or Caqueret. Oh, and he's proficient in midfield too. Always useful. 

Filipe Cruz

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 18
Position: RB
Club: Benfica
Value: £9.5K

If you're going to sign a right-back, they should be either Portuguese or English. Just look at the examples - Cancelo, Pereira and Semedo from Portugual; Alexander-Arnold, Walker, Trippier, James and Wan-Bissaka from England. 

Filipe Cruz is a top Benfica talent - or SLB, as they're known on FM. He's valued at £9.5k and could yet become a top winger, too. 

Joseda

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 18
Position: RB
Club: Valencia
Value: £110K

Valencia's academy is top-class - with so many stars leaving the east coast outfit in the summer, it has to be. Joseda is a highly-thought of right-back with good tackling ability and height. He's valued at £110K - he should be yours for under £8m.

Centre-backs

Josko Gvardiol

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 18
Position: CB
Club: Dinamo Zagreb (on loan from RB Leipzig)
Value: £900K

RB Leipzig players are typically difficult to convince to sign. Still, Josko Gvardiol is a future star, so he's worth paying the £10m or so now. He's currently on loan at Dinamo Zagreb and should get good experience there. 

Marash Kumbulla

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 20
Position: CB
Club: Hellas Verona (on loan from Roma)
Value: £5m

20-year-old Marash Kumbulla is the heir to Chris Smalling - if there is such a thing. Beware though, he's £5m - so you may have to offer £12-20m, depending on how generous the Romans are feeling. The Albanian defender is a star in the making, with excellent positioning, physicality and good tackling. 

Nehuen Perez

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 20
Position: CB
Club: Granada (on loan from Atletico Madrid)
Value: £4.1m

Well, who wouldn't want an Atletico Madrid defender in their backline? Argentinian centre-back Nehuen Perez is the next star in Simeone's mean, lean, red and white machine. Currently plying his trade at Granada, it could take £20m plus to snare him. 

Matteo Lovato

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 20
Position: CB
Club: Hellas Verona
Value: £675K

Matteo Lovato - no relation of Demi - is 20 years old, on a relatively low wage and show be simple to sign for less than £5m. He develops into a strong centre-back capable of filling an ambitious side. It's in Italian DNA, after all. 

Tanguy Nianzou

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 18
Position: CB
Club: Bayern Munich
Value: £115K

Another Paris Saint-Germain academy graduate who's ended up in Bavaria, teen defender Tanguy Nianzou is already on upwards of £30,000 a week. He can become a great defender or defensive midfielder - be prepared to cough up to get him, though. 

Bosko Sutalo

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 20
Position: CB
Club: Atalanta
Value: £2.4m

Croatian youngster Bosko Sutalo can play centrally or on the right of defence - and he plays for Atalanta, who play three at the back. Yes, you're right - he'll develop into a great right-sided centre-back in a back three. Valued at £1.5m, he's not too pricey either

Kaiky

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 16
Position: CB
Club: Santos
Value: £400 - yes, four hundred pounds

Kaiky is the new Lucio. Well, at least he might be. The Brazilian isn't old enough to drive but can play centrally and on the left in defence. Work permits may be an issue but wages and transfer fee most certainly won't be. 

Left-backs

Nuno Mendes

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 18
Position: LB
Club: Sporting
Value: £4.5m

With the most Portuguese name possible, you'd be forgiven for thinking Nuno Mendes is a regen. But no - he's 18, capable at full-back and wing-back and able to sign for £20m.

Noah Katterbach

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 19
Position: LB
Club: Koln
Value: £1m

Noah Katterbach is so highly-rated in Germany. He starts this campaign injured but has some comfort in every outfield position on the pitch. He's kind of like playdough to mould into the player you want - though he's best at left-back.

David De La Vibora

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 17
Position: LB
Club: Real Madrid
Value: £6.5K

David De La Vibora is a top attacking talent and learning at Real Madrid under the likes of Ferland Mendy and Marcelo. He develops into quite the force on the left - assuming you can tempt him from the Bernabeu. 

Riccardo Calafiori

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 18
Position: LB
Club: Roma
Value: £150K

A capable left-back, left-wing-back and left-midfielder, Riccardo Calafiori is an adept defender and only worth £100k on FM21. With some fantastic young players coming through in Italy, Calafiori can become world-class in the next few years. 

Liberato Cacace

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 19
Position: LB
Club: Sint-Truiden
Value: £550K

The exquisitely-named Liberato Cacace, a New Zealander playing in Belgium, is valued at half a mil and gets around £6.1K a week. He becomes a decent attacking full-back, should you wish to bring him in. 

Defensive midfielders

Florentino Luis

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 20
Position: DM
Club: Monaco (on loan from Benfica)
Value: £6.75m

Florentino Luis is already a veteran of the wonderkid pile at the age of 20. He's on loan in Europe's top five leagues this season - we'll see the making of him - but his physicality, passing and defending are all useful components in any midfield. 

Gustavo Assuncao

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 20
Position: DM
Club: Famalicao
Value: £3.7m

Let's face it, European audiences will get to know him as Gustavo. At £3.7m, Gustavo will probably be purchasable for a maximum of £15m - and he looks all set to become the next Casemiro for it. 

Samson Tijani

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 18
Position: CB
Club: RB Salzburg
Value: £135K

Another starlet, another Red Bull team. Samson Tijani may yet turn out to be a DM but for now, he's a central defender who can be brought in for around a million. He has a steep learning curve but is capable in the upper reaches of the Premier League. 

Centre-midfielders

Eduardo Camavinga

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 17
Position: CM
Club: Rennes
Value: £6.5m

If you don't know this guy, fire up YouTube and watch him now. He's not one for the future, he'll improve your team now - he'll be the best midfielder in the world in five years time. In Football Manager, at least. 

Ilaix Moriba

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 17
Position: CM
Club: Barcelona
Value: £190K

The next generation of La Masia graduates are here and Ilaix Moriba is one of the most exciting ones. In previous seasons he was retrainable as a defensive midfielder and striker alike - he's since specialised as a midfielder and he can become world-class in just a few seasons. 

Vitinha

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 20
Position: CM
Club: Wolverhampton Wanderers (on loan from Porto)
Value: £1m

He's currently on loan at Wolves and looking like a player older than his years, yet Vitor Ferreira - or Vitinha to his friends - is capable of growing into a top Premier League midfielder like Ruben Neves or Joao Moutinho. Sign him before Nuno does. 

Ryan Gravenberch

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 18
Position: CM
Club: Ajax
Value: £1.6m

The Ajax wheel never stops and Ryan Gravenbach is the latest top playmaker to come through the famed academy. He's valued at £1.6m but you might have to pay £20-30m for his services - he's worth it though, and can become a generational talent. 

Charles De Ketelaere

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 19
Position: CM
Club: Club Brugge
Value: £875K

Looking for a new De Bruyne? Charles De Ketelaere is Belgian, blonde and with a deft right boot. The central midfielder may be between £10m and £20m but he could rapidly rise through the game. 

Yunus Musah

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 17
Position: CM
Club: Valencia
Value: £1.2m

Midfield talent Yunus Musah might be the next big thing to come out of the United States. He's valued around £1.2m and able to play on the right-hand side, too. 

Attacking midfielders

Curtis Jones

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 19
Position: AM
Club: Liverpool
Value: £7.5m

Well, you've got to pretty good to play for the Champions. Curtis Jones is growing in stature by the week, so it's good to tempt him with first-team football before he ends up taking someone's spot in the Liverpool side for good. 

Jones might be expensive but he's going to become world-class - that's not in doubt. Plus, he's England and capable of playing as a central midfielder or anywhere behind the striker. 

Left-wingers

Shola Shoretire

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 16
Position: LW
Club: Manchester United
Value: £61K

Last year it was all about Mason Greenwood on Football Manager. His limitless potential made him a no-brainer to sign - and it still is, if you can afford him. 

This season, Shola Shoretire is the starboy. He can play in any position behind the striker but favours the left. He might take a little longer to catch fire than Greenwood, mind - he's just 16.  

United will start by telling you to pay around £60m for him. Yes, that's laughable - you can talk them down though, surely.

Ansu Fati

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 17
Position: LW
Club: Barcelona
Value: £21.5m

Ansu Fati is already an integral part of Barcelona. He's only going to improve, too. Fati doesn't take long to become one of the elite forwards of Europe - in any position in the frontline. One issue is the money though - he's valued at £21m and he's not leaving for less than double that.  

Nico Serrano

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 17
Position: LW
Club: Athletic Bilbao
Value: £60K

Nico Serrano is only 17 but tipped for big things in the future. Able to operate on the left or up front, the Athletic youngster comes from a prestigious academy and ends up as a world star in FM this time around. 

Right-wingers

Antony

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 20
Position: RW
Club: Ajax
Value: £7.25m

Ajax smashed their transfer record for Brazilian star Antony, spending around £20m on his services. So while he's a Brazilian you'll be able to sort a work permit for, you may have to pay premium.

His class isn't in question though - Antony is a top talent and can improve a midtable Premier League side already. 

Savio

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 16
Position: RW
Club: Atletico Mineiro
Value: £65K

Savio is 16 but he develops into an elite talent at the level of Ferran Torres, Antony and Harvey Elliott. That's if you can sort the work permit - he's extremely cheap if you can, though. 

Yeremi Pino

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 17
Position: RW
Club: Villarreal
Value: £130K

Spanish gem Yeremi Pino is capable on both wing, at No.10 and as a striker. He's fairly cheap to sign too and shouldn't cost more than £8m. 

Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 16
Position: RW
Club: Toronto
Value: £92K

Fancy conquering North America? Course you do. If Alphonso Davies has prompted you to ask which other talents Canada is hiding up its metaphorical sleeve, Jahkeele Marshall-Rutty is arguably the most exciting teen yet to break through. 

He has a good ceiling and turns into a good Premier League player, if not a world beater. 

Pedri

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 17
Position: LW
Club: Barcelona
Value: £8m

Capable on the right, left, at No.10 and in central midfield, Pedri is incredibly exciting. He's up with Joao Felix and Phil Foden as a future star - there will be no stopping him in three years' time - let alone five or ten. 

Signing him now is a tall ask but it's worth it if you're ambitious. 

Naci Unuvar

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 17
Position: LW
Club: Ajax
Value: £100K

Naci Unuvar has lots to learn at 17 but comes from that famed Ajax talent line. He's valued at £100K - definitely worth trying to tempt over, given his versatility and incredibly high potential. 

Strikers

Sebastiano Esposito

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 18
Position: ST
Club: SPAL (on loan from Inter Milan)
Value: £600K

Sebastiano Esposito is just 18 years old and already causing a stir. He looks like a top target-man already and could develop into a striker who could challenge Erling Haaland and Mason Greenwood for golden boots. 

It's been a while since Italy produced an iconic forward of Totti, Del Piero or Vieri's class but this lad may just be of that ilk. 

Alexander Isak

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 20
Position: ST
Club: Real Sociedad
Value: £5.5m

He's already had a spell at Borussia Dortmund and been hailed as the new Zlatan Ibrahimovic but Alexander Isak is his own man and balling in San Sebastien. Isak is a future world-class talent on Football Manager 2021 and offers any top club great depth now. 

Evanilson

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 20
Position: ST
Club: Porto
Value: £6m

Able to operate up front or out on the left, Evanilson is treading a familiar path of moving from Brazil to Porto before his big move to one of Europe's top five leagues. Will he sign for you? 

Evanilson's ceiling is very high. He can cut it as the focal point for a big side in Europe in two or three years' time. 

Luis Carbonell

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 17
Position: ST
Club: Real Zaragoza
Value: £16.25K

A second-tier striker in Spain, Luis Carbonell is not only easy to convince to leave, he has excellent potential. He isn't a nailed on star but give him the time and space to develop and watch him thrive. 

Lazaro

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 17
Position: LW
Club: Flamengo
Value: £32.5K

Lazaro is 18, cheap as chips and super exciting. Another top Brazilian star, he's worth bringing in before work permits complicate things. 

Liam Delap

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 17
Position: ST
Club: Manchester City
Value: £375K

Rory Delap's son and back-up to Sergio Aguero - well, and a few others - 17-year-old Liam Delap has a bright future ahead of him at Manchester City. He's going to be a top, top talent - he might be a little expensive but if you want an Englishmen to lead your attack in the long-term, he's your best shot. 

Note, by the way, that City might not let him leave on loan. Yes, that's very silly of them, but what can you do?

Joao Resende

Football Manager 2021

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Age: 17
Position: ST
Club: Benfica
Value: £7.5K

Wolves will probably have snapped this Portugeezer up before he can legally down a pint in the Midlands but Joao Resende is another of the country's burgeoning young talents. Another player you can sign for under £5m.

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