Football Manager 2018: Best wonderkid strikers, midfielders, defenders and goalkeepers
Football Manager 2018 will be officially released on Friday November 10, meaning that lovers of the famous series will soon be delving into the newest football simulation game.
Sports Interactive has already revealed a spate of new features and some interesting ‘Easter eggs’ have been discovered by users playing the Beta version.
However, while the improvements to realism naturally titillate gamers, the simple aspects of the game remain enduringly alluring.
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One of those things is identifying and signing the best young players, building for the future and attempting to cultivate a team of stars.
With the game set to hit screens, Goal takes a look at some of the best young players – or wonderkids – in the latest edition.
FM 2018 BEST YOUNG GOALKEEPERS
Unsurprisingly, AC Milan’s teenage sensation Gianluigi Donnarumma is one of the best young goalkeepers in Football Manager 2018, but his recent successes mean that he will be a costly acquisition.
Depending on your transfer budget, some of Donnarumma’s compatriots may be a bit more affordable, with Alex Meret and Alessandro Plizzari both considerably cheaper.
Young Toulouse shotstopper Alban Lafont is also among the best rated in the position, while Bayern Munich’s Christian Fruchtl – identified by some to be the natural heir to Manuel Neuer – could prove to be the biggest bargain of all.
|Gianluigi Donnarumma||18||Italy||AC Milan||£13.75m|
|Alex Meret||20||Italy||Udinese (Spal)||£2.4m|
|Alessandro Plizzari||17||Italy||AC Milan (Ternana)||£350k|
|Will Mannion||19||England||Hull City||£195k|
|Christian Fruchtl||17||Germany||Bayern Munich||£190k|
|Arijanet Muric||19||Switzerland||Man City||£32.5k|
FM 2018 BEST YOUNG DEFENDERS
It can be difficult for a young player to break through as a defender, due to the importance of experience particularly at centre-back. However, there are plenty of prodigiously talented defenders aged 20 and under worth considering in Football Manager 2018.
Ajax centre-back Matthijs de Ligt is probably the most highly rated of all and the 17-year-old’s starting value in the game is £5m, which puts him ahead of players such as Real Madrid’s Theo Hernandez and Espanyol’s Aaron.
De Ligt is not the most expensive young defender in the game though, with Bayer Leverkusen’s Benjamin Henrichs and Celtic full-back Kieran Tierney both valued around £10m, while Leicester City’s Wilfred Ndidi, who can play in both defence and midfield, is deemed to be worth £24m.
|Wilfred Ndidi||20||Nigeria||Leicester City||£24m|
|Benjamin Henrichs||20||Germany||Bayer Leverkusen||£10m|
|Matthijs de Ligt||17||Netherlands||Ajax||£5m|
|Theo Hernandez||19||France||Real Madrid||£4.7m|
|Josh Tymon||18||England||Stoke City||£750k|
FM 2018 BEST YOUNG MIDFIELDERS
Some of the best young midfielders in Football Manager 2018 can be found in Italy and Spain, but some gems are hidden in places such as Brazil, Argentina and Portugal.
New Monaco signing Youri Tielemans is arguably the best central midfielder prospect and his value at the start of the game is just £9.5m. However, considering he has just been signed by the Ligue 1 champions, he could be difficult to lure.
Barcelona’s record signing Ousmane Dembele is the most expensive young midfielder in the game. Dembele is followed by Napoli’s Amadou Diawara and AC Milan’s Franck Kessie, who are both rated at £17.5m.
If you are looking for bargains, the likes of Barcelona’s Carles Alena (£1.4m), River’s Exequiel Palacios (£1.7m) or Cesena’s Nicolo Buso (£56k) may be more appealing.
|Franck Kessie||20||Ivory Coast||AC Milan||£17.5m|
|Dani Ceballos||20||Spain||Real Madrid||£9.5m|
|Kai Havertz||18||Germany||Bayer Leverkusen||£6.25m|
|Sergio Diaz||19||Paraguay||Real Madrid (Lugo)||£1.1m|
FM 2018 BEST YOUNG FORWARDS
He has been touted as a future Ballon d’Or winner, so it is no shock to see Kylian Mbappe at the top of the list when it comes to attacking talents in Football Manager 2018.
Flamengo youngter Vinicius Junior, who is set to join Real Madrid, is up there with Mbappe in terms of potential, but it will be a number of seasons before you can get your hands on him.
Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus is among the best – and most expensive – young strikers, while Ajax’s Danish forward Kasper Dolberg is valued at £10.25m.
Italy appears to be a hotbed for striking talent, with the likes of Patrick Cutrone (AC Milan), Pietro Pellegri (Genoa), Moise Kean (Juventus) and Andrea Pinamonti (Inter) among the best young forwards.
|Kylian Mbappe||18||France||Monaco (PSG)||£52m|
|Gabriel Jesus||20||Brazil||Man City||£46.5m|
|Patrick Cutrone||19||Italy||AC Milan||£3.7m|
|Alexander Isak||17||Sweden||Borussia Dortmund||£3.1m|
|Johannes Eggestein||19||Germany||Werder Bremen||£2.4m|
|Moise Kean||17||Italy||Juventus (Verona)||£1.8m|
Note: All players listed in this article are ranked in order of in-game value, which is not necessarily indicative of potential ability.