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Football Manager 2023 Wonderkids

SOME OF OUR FAVOURITE WONDERKIDS IN FM23, FROM ENDRICK TO ZAïRE-EMERY

We cover youth football and we love Football Manager. We’ve combined both to compile a list of the young players that can be classed as wonderkids in Football Manager 2023. A few of them will be familiar faces but others will, hopefully, players you’ve never heard of.

Not necesarrily the best, they’re players that we like in real-life that look good in FM23. Scroll down to the players we’re recommending you to scout and sign on your saves this year.

For more insight into young players, check out our extensive talent lists and in-depth player profiles.

Jurriën Timber

AFC Ajax's Jurriën Timber, one of the best centre-backs in FM23

Jürrien Timber was a staple of the wonderkid scene in FM22, and he will be again in FM23. He was a high-level ball-playing centre-back with the potential to develop into one of the best defenders in the game, as well as the added bonus of being more than capable at right-back.

The fact that he hasn’t left Ajax this summer is a big bonus as well. He will be just as attainable as he was in FM22, if not moreso. Timber will, once again, be a standout option for big clubs looking for a rock solid centre-back.

You’ll have to pay a pretty big fee, though, as Ajax are unlikely to let him go for anything less than €70 million from the start. Timber may be one to park for a little bit while his situation in Amsterdam evolves.

António Silva

SL Benfica's António Silva, one of the best centre-backs in FM23

A product of SL Benfica’s exceptional youth academy, António Silva has burst onto the scene this season. He’s become an integral part of Roger Schmidt’s side, coming out of nowhere to cement himself as a starter and put in multiple impressive performances in the Primeira Liga and Champions League.

Silva just looks like a centre-back – tall and leggy – and he is very much a modern one, comfortable on the ball in particular. His skillset is reflected in FM23; he looks every bit the elegant and composed centre-back that he is.

There is a €100 million release clause written into Silva’s contract, but you can get him for about a third of that price at the start of your saves. Get him before he develops into one of the game’s premium defenders.

Castello Lukeba

Lyon's Castello Lukeba, one of the best wonderkids on Football Manager 2023

A relatively unheralded prospect from the Olympique Lyonnais academy, Castello Lukeba has seized his opportunity to become an undisputed starter for the club over the past couple of seasons.

He’s another promising centre-back in French football. Mobility is a key tenet of his game, making up for his smaller size, and he’s an intelligent defender in the way he anticipates danger, steps in to cut it out at source, and bodies up against attackers to regain the ball. In possession, composure is perhaps his biggest trait – Lukeba has the ability to curl away from pressure and pick a pass into midfield that sets attacks on their way.

Those qualities are reflected in his FM23 profile, making him a leading option if you’re looking to sign a left-footed centre-back. Somewhere around the €35 million mark should get him.

Milos Kerkez

AZ Alkmaar's Milos Kerkez, one of the best wonderkids in FM23

We love Milos Kerkez in real life. Having watched him at youth level for AC Milan and now senior level with AZ Alkmaar, we’re bullish about his potential to develop into a high-level left-back. We were lucky enough to interview him as well.

We’re similarly optimistic about his potential in FM23. Kerkez is a tenacious and aggressive left-back that is definitely already capable of playing in a top-five league at the start of the game. If he improves across the board, the Hungarian international can definitely be a regular starter for a European-level team.

Having only joined AZ in January 2022, it would be reasonable to expect that a big fee would be needed to sign him – but €12 million should do the trick. That gives you options: start him, use him as a squad option, or loan him out (perhaps to AZ) to develop him further. If you’re managing a top-five league club and are in need of a young left-back, Kerkez should be on your list.

Andrey Santos

Vasco da Gama's Andrey Santos, one of the best wonderkids in Football Manager 2023

Brazil have a number of exciting talents in FM23. Endrick will be on everyone’s lists, as should Vitor Roque and João Gomes, but don’t forget about Vasco da Gama’s Andrey Santos.

We really like him in real life. He profiles as a mobile, dynamic deep-lying midfielder that can progress play through lines and be a pest in terms of ball-winning as well. That’s reflected pretty well in his FM23 profile. He has a wide breadth of skills which will enable you to play him in a few different roles, from a box-to-box presence to a deep-lying playmaker. It will also allow you to specialise him in a certain role as well.

Foreign clubs can get Santos for €40 million owing to a release clause in his contract but, if you negotiate, you should be able to get him for something that falls beneath the €10 million mark.

Warren Zaïre-Emery

PSG's Warren Zaïre-Emery, one of the best wonderkids in Football Manager 2023

Along with Endrick, Warren Zaïre-Emery is one of the most exciting additions to FM23. Born in 2006, the youngest-ever senior debutant in Paris Saint-Germain’s history is an elite-level talent coming out of their exceptional academy.

Zaïre-Emery has no flaw to his game. He’s extremely mature for his age, equipped with a skillset that can fit into any role, shape and system. He can run, pass, escape pressure, break up play, arrive in the box, and more. That is reflected in his FM23 profile – for a 16-year-old, Zaïre-Emery is remarkably advanced for his age. He has a strong platform to develop into an elite-level midfielder capable of fulfilling multiple different roles.

It will take at least €25 million to sign him from PSG at the start of the save, but the smart play would be to track how his development in Paris progresses before offering him first-team minutes at a crucial period.

Fabio Miretti

Juventus' Fabio Miretti, one of the best wonderkids in Football Manager 2023

We’ve been Fabio Miretti fans for a good while now. The best talent Juventus’ academy has ever produced has a big future in the game for club and country. Similar to Zaïre-Emery, he’s a midfielder that can pretty much do it all.

Miretti ended last season strongly, breaking into Juve’s first-team and impressing with every performance. That combined with his talismanic influence on Italy’s U-19 team has meant he has received a desevedly significant bump up in FM23.

He has quality as a passer and dribbler, but his mental attributes are outstanding. Strong in every department, he also has a 16-rating for Determination and a rare Perfectionist personality. Both mean that Miretti will fulfill his potential in almost every save.

Adam Wharton

Blackburn Rovers' Adam Wharton, one of the best wonderkids in FM23

Adam Wharton is just breaking into the Blakburn Rovers first team in real life. Having come through their academy system, he’s part of the rotation under charismatic coach Jon Dahl Tomasson. The England youth international looks very good on FM23 too.

A central midfielder capable of playing as an 8 or a 6, Wharton has a well-balanced skillset that will afford his manager plenty of scope in terms of development. While he needs to grow a bit and add a bit of defensive nous, he has a strong technical base that would make him a talented ball-player in midfield with abilities to pass the ball and escape pressure. He’s also quite a nippy, aggressive athlete.

If you move early, you can get Wharton for an €8 million fee – that’s a bargain for clubs in the Premier League, or elsewhere. Another talent to scout at Blackburn is their big, home-grown centre-back, Ashley Phillips.

Paul Wanner

Bayern München's Paul Wanner, one of the best wonderkids in Football Manager 2023

Another new talent to keep track of in FM23 is Paul Wanner. Bayern München’s youngest-ever debutant has been a regular feature on the senior scene for a little while now, but FM23 is the first Football Manager game that he features in.

Wanner is a very languid attacking midfielder that can play anywhere across the attacking line. His strength is the way he combines his high-level technical ability with innate awareness to find weaknesses in defences, picking them apart with killer passing and combinations.

His FM23 profile is similar; he has plenty of technical and creative qualities, as well as some impressive raw physical attributes. He isn’t far off being able to play at a high level, and Bayern probably won’t be able to offer him enough first-team minutes. That’s when you should pounce.

Andreas Schjelderup

FC Nordsjælland's Andreas Schjelderup, one of the best wonderkids in Football Manager 2023

Andreas Schjelderup is a name that will be familiar to plenty reading, we’re sure. He’s been a highly-rated talent at FC Nordsjælland for a couple of seasons now, establishing himself as a regular starter in Europe’s youngest top-flight team

His exciting potential is more than matched in FM23 – the Norwegian looks like a proper ‘wonderkid’ in this year’s game. One glimpse hooks you in with some eye-catching 16-ratings for Dribbling, First Touch, Passing, Technique and Vision. Those alone make him a very capable creative attacker from the start. He’s agile and quick too, and a hard-working team player as well. He lacks a bit of physicality, but that is an aspect of his game that can be improved with some targeted development.

What makes Schjelderup in FM23 even more exciting? Well, it’s the price. Valued at €7.2 million to €8.8 million at the start of the game, he’s an attainable prospect for clubs across a wide spectrum. He won’t break the bank, so you should get him straight away.

If you want to learn more about Schjelderup in real life, read our detailed profile of him.

Julien Duranville

A product of the famous RSC Anderlecht academy, Julien Duranville is perhaps the club’s most exciting graduate of their youth system since Youri Tielemans. The diminutive winger is already trusted to play a role in the first-team squad at 16 years old.

He’s an out-and-out winger, one that’s capable of playing on either flank. His FM23 profile is very much an out-and-out winger as well – acceleration, speed, dribbling and flair are the outstanding skills. He also has a rarely-seen Tries to Beat Opponents Repeatedly which should make him fun, if a little bit frustrating, to watch on the pitch. He has the potential to develop quickly into an impactful wide dribbler at the highest levels.

Duranville will come at a cost. It will take about €12 million, all in all, to sign him in the first summer of your save. That’s a big fee for a 16-year-old, but your buying potential – and the Belgian winger has plenty of it. 

Gianluca Prestianni

Vélez's Gianluca Prestianni, one of the best wonderkids in FM23

Argentina have a wealth of wonderkids on Football Manager 2023. You’re probably already familiar with them from various other lists across the internet, but the one that is possibly most exciting is Vélez’s Gianluca Prestianni.

Capable of playing across the attacking midfield line – down both wings and through the middle – he’s remarkably advanced for a 2006-born talent. His FM23 profile has a lot of high ratings relative to his age. He has a solid base of technical, mental and physical attributes which will enable you to shape him into whatever you want him to be. He’s well-suited to being developed as a creative winger, we think.

The best bit about Prestianni in FM23 is his price. All you need is a flat €4 million fee to have a big accepted; if you structure the deal cleverly, you could probably get him for a million or so cheaper. The young Argentine attacker is a bonafide wonderkid – and a bargain!

Isaac Babadi

PSV's Isaac Babadi, one of the best wonderkids on Football Manager 2023

The PSV Eindhoven talent is one of the most natural players you’ll watch. Like the aforementioned Kumbedi and Zaïre-Emery, Isaac Babadi was a standout at this year’s UEFA U-17 European Championship.

A left-sided attacker, he likes to angle inside and impact games with his playmaking abilities of dribbling and killer passing. He combines strong technical control and touch with an explosive first step and excellent body control. He comes with the added bonus of being able to play anywhere in midfield, affording you some flexibility in integratingn him into your team.

If you get in early on Babadi, it shouldn’t take too much to sign him from PSV. Make your move before he becomes a regular starter there and you’ll save a good chunk of money.

Endrick

Palmeiras' Endrick, one of the best wonderkids on Football Manager 2023

Endrick is probably the headline addition to FM23. A little like Youssoufa Moukoko’s introduction to the game a couple of years ago, his profile will generate a lot of hype and deservedly so.

Produced by the Palmeiras academy, Endrick has exploded in 2022, excelling in the Copinha (a São Paulo-based U-20 tournament) and prestigious Montaigu tournament, and shooting the top of elite clubs’ shortlists.

His FM23 profile is a very exciting one. A little like Zaïre-Emery, Endrick is remarkably advanced for his age. He has a base profile which gives him a massive head start on his peers and it should ensure that he develops into one of the best striker’s on the game.

You won’t be able to sign him from Palmeiras until he turn 18 years old in a couple of years, but you can organise a deal straight away. And you should because all the elite clubs will be chasing his signature.

Brian Brobbey

Ajax's Brian Brobbey, one of the best wonderkids in FM23

Brian Brobbey has been a big name on the youth football scene for some time now. He’s captured attention with high-scoring records for club and country, Ajax and the Netherlands. He made an ill-advised move to RB Leipzig but has since returned to his boyhood club.

Brobbey looks very good in FM23 from the start. He has a profile that can be impactful at a Champions League level from the start. He’s extremely strong and remarkably quick, a potent combination. He also has good finishing skills (which aren’t necessarily reflective of real life, we think) and has the basic ability to bring others into play as a focal point centre-forward.

Ajax brought him back from Germany for €16 million, and you’ll only need €2 million more to sign him at the start of your save. He’d be a gear option if you’re looking for a long-term striker; Brobbey has the ability to be an impact player for a year or two before developing into a regular starting goalscorer thereafter.

What are Football Manager wonderkids?

Wonderkid is a cliché term that’s synonymous with Football Manager. They’re young prospects – usually aged 16 to 18 – that have elite-level potential in the game. Freddy Adu is a prominent example for older managers, while Youssoufa Moukoko is a current case. They’re the superstar youngsters that are must-buys on every save.

But it’s also subjective. A wonderkid at Accrington Stanley is completely different to a wonderkid at Manchester City. Essentially, the surroundings dictate the status.

Endrick (Palmeiras) and Warren Zaïre-Emery (Paris Saint-Germain) should be the best newcomers in FM23. Youssoufa Moukoko (Borussia Dortmund) will be one of the best teenage talents once again as well.

Youssoufa Moukoko might be one of the best value signings in FM23, depending on his contract situation at Borussia Dortmund. He could be really easy to get (relative to his potential) if he only has one year left on his deal.

The best way is by building a strong scouting team, then assigning them to search for players under the age of 21 with at least four star potential. Other top tips are to scout youth international tournaments (like the U-20 Wolrd Cup) and scour youth international teams.

WHAT ARE FOOTBALL MANAGER WONDERKIDS?

Wonderkid is a cliché term that’s synonymous with Football Manager. They’re young prospects – usually aged 16 to 18 – that have elite-level potential in the game. Freddy Adu is a prominent example for older managers, while Youssoufa Moukoko is a current case. They’re the superstar youngsters that are must-buys on every save.

But it’s also subjective. A wonderkid at Accrington Stanley is completely different to a wonderkid at Manchester City. Essentially, the surroundings dictate the status.

HOW TO SEARCH FOR WONDERKIDS IN FOOTBALL MANAGER 2023?

You should start by getting your hands on a Scouted Football Handbook. We’ve profiled over 300 young players over the last three years, ranging from the lower level, like Harry Pickering, to the absolute elite like Erling Braut Haaland.

We will be your external scout, and scouts are equally important in the game. Building up a good core of talent-spotters and recruitment analysts should be a priority when building your club. No scouts on the search, no wonderkids.

HOW TO DEVELOP YOUNG PLAYERS IN FOOTBALL MANAGER 2023?

As always, pathways are paramount. You have to make sure that your youngsters have access to meaningful minutes at the appropriate levels. If you have a first-team ready talent, phase him into the team gradually, during pre-season ideally.

If your prospect needs a bit more polishing, the loan system is a valuable tool. But pathways to senior level minutes are key. Assess your youngsters on a case-by-case basis, decide what they need, and enact your decision.

HOW TO LOAN OUT YOUNG PLAYERS IN FOOTBALL MANAGER 2023?

Loans are an important tool in youth development, and they can be difficult to get right. It’s all about accurately assessing the levels your prospects can play at, then finding suitable environment for them to develop in. It’s especially important you consider the styles and shapes teams play, and league style is a factor too.

One way to ensure greater success is by building a network of clubs, like Red Bull and Manchester City have. Get your board to find affiliate clubs.

HOW TO SIGN YOUNG PLAYERS ON FOOTBALL MANAGER 2023?

Squad planning is crucial. Check your depth charts, keep your shortlits updated, sort them by position even, and assess which areas you need to strengthen. Once you’ve done that, you can start signing young players that fit your demands.

Work to your budgets as well – don’t overstretch your club’s financial capabilities. If you’re a smaller club, future incentives and clauses (like fees after milestons, sell-on percentages, and even buy-backs) are a great tools to utilise.

HOW TO SELL YOUNG PLAYERS ON FOOTBALL MANAGER 2023?

Again, squad planning is key. Making sure your young players are playing, whether at your club or elsewhere, is important; more minutes increases their value. Sell at the right time too, set a defined policy and stick to it.

Don’t be afraid to sell young players too. If you haven’t got the right pathway for them, move them on (with a chunky sell-on percentage or accessible buy-back clause) to generate even more profits.

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