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Football Manager 2024 Best Defensive Midfielders

Some of our favourite defensive midfielders to sign in Football Manager 2024

We cover youth football like nobody else and love a bit of Football Manager. We’ve combined both to compile a list of the young defensive midfielders that you should start scouting on your Football Manager 2024 saves.

These aren’t exclusively the “best” but they’re intriguing prospects for clubs across the spectrum of football, available at a range of prices. They’re players that we like in real-life that look really good in FM24 too.

For more, check out our talent lists and player profiles. Scroll down to see our lists.

Who are the best wonderkids in Football Manager 2024?

Here are the highest potential rated players in FC 24 Career Mode.

1. Erling Haaland – Manchester City – Age 22 – ST – 91 Overall/94 Potential

2. Vinicus Jr. – Real Madrid – Age 22 – LW – 89 Overall/94 Potential

3. Jamal Musiala – Bayern Munich – Age 20 – 86 Overall/93 Potential

4. Pedri – FC Barcelona – Age 20 – CM – 86 Overall/92 Potential

5. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia – SSC Napoli – Age 22 – LW/RW – 86 Overall/92 Potential

6. Florian Wirtz – Bayer Leverkusen – Age 20 – CAM/CM – 85 Overall/91 Potential

7. Jude Bellingham – Real Madrid – Age 20 – CAM/CM – 87 Overall/91 Potential

8. Rodrygo Goes – Real Madrid – Age 22 – RW/LW/ST – 85 Overall/91 Potential

9. Gavi – FC Barcelona – Age 18 – CM/LW – 83 Overall/90 Potential

10. Bukayo Saka – Arsenal – Age 21 – RW/RM – 86 Overall/90 Potential

11. Phil Foden – Manchester City – Age 23 – LW/RW – 85 Overall/90 Potential

12. Alex Balde – FC Barcelona – Age 19 – LB/RB – 81 Overall/89 Potential

13. Rasmus Hojlund – Manchester United – Age 20 – ST – 76 Overall/89 Potential

14. Gabri Veiga – Al-Ahli – Age 21 – CM/CAM – 78 Overall/89 Potential

15. Eduardo Camavinga – Real Madrid – Age 20 – CDM/CM/LB – 82 Overal 89 Potential

16. Enzo Fernandez – Chelsea FC- Age 22 – CM/CDM/CAM – 83 Overall/89 Potential

17. Xavi Simons – RB Leipzig – Age 20 – CAM/LW/RW – 80 Overall/89 Potential

18. William Saliba – Arsenal – Age 22 – CB – 83 Overall/89 Potential

19. Aurelien Tchouameni – Real Madrid – Age 23 – CDM/CM – 84 Overall/89 Potential

20. Sandro Tonali – Newcastle United – Age 23 – CDM/CM – 86 Overall/89 Potential

21. Matthijs de Ligt – Bayern Munich – Age 23 – CB – 86 Overall/89 Potential

22. Warren Zaire-Emery – Paris Saint-Germain – Age 17 – CM/CDM – 75 Overall/88 Potential

23. Antonio Silva – SL Benfica- Age 19 – CB – 78 Overall/88 Potential

24. Fabio Miretti – Juventus – Age 19 – CM/CAM – 75 Overall/88 Potential

25. Alejandro Garnacho – Manchester United – Age 19 – LW/LM – 75 Overall/88 Potential

26. Ansu Fati – Age 20 – Brighton – LW/ST – 78 Overall/88 Potential

Stefan Bajčetić

After breaking into the Liverpool first team last season, Stefan Bajčetić earned plenty of plaudits for his maturity and assurance in a midfield unit that was under significant pressure. FM24 has acknowledged that by rewarding him with a well-rounded profile.

Aside from some question marks about his physicality, the teenager looks more than capable of starting for a lower-half Premier League side straight away. His technical and mental foundations are excellent for his age, and he comes with the added bonus of being a natural in a number of positions through the spine – from centre-back to central midfield. 

Mario Dorgeles

Ghana’s Right to Dream continues to produce top-level talent, pushing a new batch through FC Nordsjælland – the top-flight Danish club that the academy own – season on season. The next one currently breaking through is Mario Dorgeles.

The 2004-born midfielder has been a sneaky talent for the past couple of years in FM. He comes equipped with a base set of skills that are ripe for developing a couple of different ways; either as a ball-winning holder or a box-to-box runner. You should be able to sign him for a good chunk under €10 million.

Gabriel Moscardo

Gabriel Moscardo has become somewhat of a hipster’s darling in 2023. Stepping into a senior role at Corinthians, the teenager has caught the eye for his mature athleticism and accomplished skillset at the base of midfield. He’s even been compared to Declan Rice.

You could say the same of his FM24 profile, too. He’s a really solid athlete for his age with the shrewd understanding of the game and functional ability to impact games on both sides of the ball, as a passer and defender. Get him on your shortlists straight away.

Federico Redondo

Another number six to hit new heights in terms of popularity this year is Federico Redondo. The son of the iconic Fernando, a Real Madrid legend, the Argentina youth international is a lighthouse of a midfielder, the type that guides his teams through games.

His lanky frame stands head and shoulders above most others, as does his composed, clever reading of the game to anchor midfield and connect play. His standout attribute in FM24 is his range of passing, making him a good option for sides that dominate possession. You can get him for about €8 million at the start of your saves.

What roles can defensive midfielders play in Football Manager 2024?

Defensive midfield is one of the more flexible positions in the game, with a total of eight different roles to pick from, as follows:

  • Defensive Midfielder
  • Ball-Winning Midfielder
  • Anchor
  • Halfback
  • Deep-Lying Playmaker
  • Regista
  • Segundo Volante

The role you choose should be dependent on the quality of players at your disposal. Poorer teams are more likely to run a Defensive Midfielder, Anchor or Ball Winning Midfielder. These roles require varying levels of technical ability, but physical and mental attributes are the most important for fulfilling their duty.

Defensive Midfielders are great for marking opposition attacking midfielders or central midfielders on attack role that look to break lines and attack the box; Anchors will sit deep and shield the defence while recycling possession with very simple passes; the Ball Winning Midfielder is more tenacious, seeking opportunities win the ball back in higher areas.

The Half Back is the ‘in-between’ role between the defensive and creative roles you can select. It will sit almost as a third centre-back in certain situations, reminiscent of the way Pep-era Sergio Busquets operated. The role generally suits possession-based systems.

The remaining four roles are more creative: Regista, Deep Lying Playmaker, Roaming Playmaker, and the mysterious Segundo Volante. The Deep Lying Playmaker is a popular pick for many coaches, with the role combining defensive solidity with playmaking from deep. You can toggle how aggressive they are on both sides of the ball by toggling the Defend and Support duty.

The Regista role is a more aggressive version of the Deep Lying Playmaker that will look to spray the ball about, while the Segundo Volante is basically a box-to-box midfielder but from deeper areas.

What attributes are important for defensive midfielders in Football Manager 2024?

Unlike other positions, such as centre-back, there isn’t really a set of core attributes that every defensive midfield role requires. That said, if your player has a strong foundation of passing, tackling, work rate, stamina, positioning and decision-making, then they should suit most roles.

It varies. Ball Winning Midfielders require marking, strength, and pace. Anchors need marking and strength as well, but also composure and decision-making. Defensive Midfielders will also need marking and strength, as well as passing and first touch as they try to work the ball forward. The Half Back will need all that, plus the positioning and jumping reach you’d commonly associate with a centre-back.

For the more creative roles, good passing, vision, technique and off the ball movement are crucial. The Regista role will also require good dribbling, long shots and flair – think prime Andrea Pirlo. The Roaming Playmaker will also need dribbling, but will also be aided by pace and acceleration. The Deep Lying Playmaker is probably the most simple: give them the ball and make sure they can control it with a good first touch and adept decision-making.

The Segundo Volante needs attributes similar to the Roaming Playmaker, but subtract dribbling, technique and agility, and add finishing, strength and tackling.

Manchester City’s Rodri is the best defensive midfielder in Football Manager 2024, closely followed by Arsenal’s Declan Rice.

Gabriel Moscardo and Federico Redonod are two of the best up-and-coming defensive midfielders in Football Manager 2024.

We recommend signing Mario Dorgeles to play as a defensive midfielder in Football Manager 2024.

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