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.
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.
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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.
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.
Born and raised in Vercelli, a small city between Torino and Milan, Ibrahima Bamba made the life-changing decision to move to Portuguese football a couple of years ago. It’s safe to say the move as paid off. He’s established himself as a starter for Vitória Guimarães in Portugal and even been involved with the senior Italy squad.
Ibrahima Bamba's FM23 profile
Bamba is one of the hidden gems in FM23. His profile is eye-catching for its athleticism. While he may lack some refinement as a ball-player, as well as some nous in the way he reads the game, his athletic capacity is already at an elite-level in the game. That means he could be impactful at pretty much every level straight away. You have the choice of developing him as a centre-back or defensive midfielder too, and that flexibility is another plus factor.
If you’re managing a smaller club in a top-five league, one seeking an edge on the pitch and an asset for future sale, then Bamba is as good as any in FM23. With a bit of nurturing, he can develop into a highly-effective spine player – or, at least, a valuable role player.
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.
Iván Fresneda has been one of the breakout players anywhere in Europe this season. The 2004-born right-back has burst onto the scene at Real Valladolid, playing plenty of minutes in La Liga and attracting interest from Champions League level clubs in the process.
Iván Fresneda's FM23 profile
Fresneda has been one of the big winners of the the winter update, owing to his really impressive season at Valladolid so far. He’s gone from promising prospect to must-buy in FM23.
As in real life, his in-game profile is already more than capable of holding down a starting role in a top-five league straight away. His well-rounded athleticism is a big plus, as are the solid defensive attributes. If you want a right-back for the future, Fresneda should be on your shortlist.
Porto, Benfica and Sporting – Portugal’s Os Três Grandes, the Big Three, are an absolute goldmine of talent in real life and Football Manager. You can pillage their youth teams and come away with an abundance of elite-level talent, like Martim Fernandes.
Martim Fernandes' FM23 profile
Fernandes has caught our eye playing for Porto in the UEFA Youth League, and his FM23 profile is a decent reflection of what he is in real life. The teenager is a skilled dribbler and crosser from deeper areas, showing the qualities needed of full-backs to play at the highest levels.
You can get him at the start of your save for roughly €2 million, which is an absolute steal. It should be stressed that he’s nowhere near ready to play regularly for a good team in a stronger league, but the small fee makes Fernandes one of the best-value project players in FM23. Get him, develop him carefully, and you should have a top-level right-back in 3-5 years.
If you’re managing a top-five league club and are looking for a long-term deep-lying playmaker, Ardon Jashari is an excellent option. He has burst onto the scene at FC Luzern, stepping up from regionalised fourth-tier football to become a starter for his Swiss Super League club.
Ardon Jashari's FM23 profile
Jashari is already really good in FM23. Every aspect of his game – technical, mental, physical – are already at a very solid level, making him that leading option for clubs looking for a number six. He’s an expansive passer with the ability to escape pressure, an intelligent operator in general, while his 15 and 16 ratings for balance and strength provide a very solid athletic base. There’s a bit of Granit Xhaka about him.
You can get Jashari at the start of your saves for about €7 million, which is really good value for what he is and what he can still be. He makes lots of sense for European-level clubs in Germany, Italy, even England. Jashari has the profile and potential to be a starter straight away and a leader in the long term.
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.
Note: Following the winter update, Andrey Santos is no longer a go-to option in the transfer market as he’s joined Chelsea. Keep an eye on his situation there; get him on loan for the time being.
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.
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.
Fabio Miretti's FM23 profile
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 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.
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.
First we had Pedri, now we have Alberto Moleiro. Las Palmas have developed another high-level talent from the second divison of Spanish football that should go on to have a good career at the highest levels.
Alberto Moleiro's FM23 profile
If you’re looking for an Andreas Schjelderup alternative in FM23, Alberto Moleiro is a really good option. There are clear differences between the two but they do have plenty of similarities, not least their profiles as inverted wingers off the left.
Moleiro has a skilfull skillset that incorporates dribbling and playmaking abilities. He rates highly as a ball-carrier and creative passer, making him a mulit-pronged threat off the left. He also prossesses some key player traits that really refine his style. He is perfect for those managing in La Liga.
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
Andreas Schjelderup's FM23 profile
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 with 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.
Note: Following the winter update, Andreas Schjelderup is a Benfica player. Keep tabs on him in case he falls through the cracks, but the move to Portugal makes him much more difficult to get.
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.
Note: Following the winter update, Julien Duranville has been gobbled up by Borussia Dortmund.
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.
Gianluca Prestianni's FM23 attributes
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!
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 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.
Note: Following the winter update, Endrick is scheduled to join Real Madrid as soon as he turns 18 years old. You’re best bet will be to get him on loan once he lands in Spain, and work toward a permanent move for him.
After Endrick, there’s Vitor Roque. Were it not for the prodigious prospect at Palmeiras, Roque would probably be the most sought-after youngster in FM23. He’s on a similar trajectory to his compatriot too, starring for Brazil at underage level in real-life ahead of a massive move to Europe.
Vitor Roque's FM23 attributes
Vitor Roque has the makings of something resembling a complete forward in FM23. A promising holy trinity – dribbling, shooting, first touch – is bolstered by powerful athleticism and rock-solid mental attributes across the board. Factor in his ability to use both feet and you’ve got a star.
It shouldn’t take too much to get him out of Brazil; a fee well within the capabilities of every Premier League club and most in the other top-five league would suffice. Roque represents tremendous value with a profile that can make an immediate impact and grow into a key player.
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.