FOOTBALL MANAGER 2022 WONDERKIDS

UNDER-THE-RADAR PROSPECTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD

We cover youth football and we love Football Manager. We’ve combined both to compile a long list of young players that you should start scouting on your FM22 saves. These aren’t necessarrily “wonderkids”, but they’re interesting prospects for clubs across the spectrum of football. They’re players that we like in real-life that look good in FM22.

If you’re looking to buy Football Manager 2022, use this link and the code ‘SCOUTEDFTBL’ for 10% off – and it gives us a little kickback too. You can find more in-depth player reports in the Scouted Football Handbook, our quarterly magazine.

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LAST UPDATED: JANUARY 12, 2022

CENTRE-BACKS

ILLYA ZABARNYI

ZABARNYI-FM22

DETAILS

POSITIONS

RCB

VALUE

€16 million – €48 million

PERFECT FOR

Clubs at a UEFA Europa League level, or higher – see Leicester City and West Ham, who could afford the big fees needed

Illya Zabarnyi does not look like the most technically gifted centre-back when the game starts, but if you are an upper mid-table first division team looking to bring in a young centre-back when your save starts, he should be right near the top of your shopping list.

Blessed with strong physical and mental stats, plus the key technical stats of tackling and marking, the Ukrainian looks primed to develop into a force after a season or two of being integrated into your starting eleven.

He won’t come cheap, but if you want to be the best, you’ve got to pay for the best. As a fully-capped international and star for one of Ukraine’s two giants, Zabarnyi looks set to develop into a very solid starter.

LEVI COLWILL

DETAILS

POSITIONS

LCB, LB

VALUE

€5.8 million – €17.5 million

PERFECT FOR

Clubs in the lower-half of the Premier League looking to add starting-quality youth to their team – clubs like Southampton

It’s rare that an 18-year-old centre-back takes to Championship football seamlessly, but that’s exactly what Levi Colwill has done at Huddersfield Town this season.

Colwill has the perfect athletic skillset for a centre-back – 6’2″ tall with a sturdy frame, he is mobile in smaller spaces and a strong runner over longer distances. His athleticism is very mature for his age, as it is in FM22. He’s good in the air and an adept defender on the move in real-life. He also excels on the ball, with driving dribbles and line-splitting passes off his left foot into midfield.

Given the circumstances, Colwill will likely be a longer-term target. Make sure to keep track of his situation at Chelsea, then strike. You may need to pick him up on loan first. Expect him to get a big bump in the winter upgrade.

NICO SCHLOTTERBECK

DETAILS

POSITIONS

LCB, LB

VALUE

€10 million – €30 million

PERFECT FOR

European-level clubs in Germany and England – Schlotterbeck has the style, skillset and potential to play in the Champions League

Nico Schlottereck is a Champions League defender playing in the Black Forest. A product of SC Freiburg’s modest but impressive academy system, Schlotterbeck has put together a breakout season in real life – and his Football Manager profile does a good job of reflecting his ability.

In game, Schlotterbeck has evereything you want from a centre-back at the highest level. He’s tall but mobile, with an athletic frame; he’s an intelligent and committed defender; he’s a very effective ball-player, equipped with the ‘brings ball out of defence’ trait which greatly enhances his ability to progress possession.

Despite his top value range coming in at a hefty €30 million, it shouldn’t cost that much to get him. Even if you have to stretch that far, Schlotterbeck is abolutely worth it. He’d be a great pick-up for European-level clubs in Germany and England. Get him before Bayern do.

FULL-BACKS

MATTEO RUGGERI

RUGGERI-FM22

DETAILS

POSITIONS

LB, LWB

VALUE

€1.3 million – €3.8 million

PERFECT FOR

Lower-half to mid-table in Serie A, who have ambitions to push toward the European places – think US Sassuolo

Matteo Ruggeri was a great pick-up in Football Manager 2021, and it’s no different here. The Italian starts the game on loan from Atalanta with Salernitana, but is well worth tapping up as the season progresses.

His skillset is very well-rounded, but he will be deadly when paired with a striker adept at scoring from headers. Most of all though, he is a workhorse that will get up and down the pitch and be accountable in a range of situations.

If you can get Ruggeri for a free at the end of your first season, you’ll have a set-and-forget left-back or left wing-back to propel you to the top of the league at a first division club.

GABRIELE ZAPPA

DETAILS

POSITIONS

RB

 
 

 

 

VALUE

€6.4 million – €19 million

PERFECT FOR

Mid-table to Europa League-level teams in the top-five leagues, particularly Serie A

If you’re after a versatile full-back that can play as a wide-centre back, or even do a job on the wing – enter Gabriele Zappa. You probably won’t be able to sign him in the first season after his arrival to Cagliari from Pescara, but after that he should be available for a sub-€10 million fee.

Zappa blends great physical attributes – he’s a well-rounded and naturally fit athlete – with solid technical attributes in the important areas. His mentals will continue to develop as he moves into his mid-to-late 20s.

If you pick Zappa up, you should consider developing him in an inverted wing-back role on the left. His good passing, dribbling, technique and first touch will help him be a capable attacking threat tucking inside from a traditional full-back position, and he’s comfortable using his weaker left side as well. Zappa has everything needed, not least physicality, to be a very solid full-back in a top-five league.

DEEP MIDFIELDERS

PATRICK BERG

BERG-FM22

DETAILS

POSITIONS

DM

VALUE

€2.2 million – €6.6 million

PERFECT FOR

A strong team in a mid-level league or a possession-based team in top-five leagues – if your a possession-based team, Berg will be a good fit

If you’re looking for a tempo-setting holding midfielder for your possession-oriented team, then Patrick Berg is as good an option as any.

The leader of an iconic title-winning FK Bodø/Glimt side, Berg is ready to take the next step in his career. He isn’t an expansive passer or dynamic space-covered, but he is a very dependable metronome that sits at the base of midfield and provides valuable structure to his teams. He’s a sharp passer, a capable ball-winner, and his mental attributes in-game reflect his intelligence in real-life.

He’d be a good fit for many Serie A and La Liga clubs; the fit in the Premier League, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 is more dependant on team style and dominance. It shouldn’t take much to get him out of Glimt – €6 million, roughly. That opens up plenty of possibilities for  lower level clubs too.

Note: Berg has since joined RC Lens in real-life, meaning this deal will be off the table after the winter update.

ANTONIO BLANCO

BLANCO-FM22

DETAILS

POSITIONS

DM

VALUE

€6.6 million – €20 million

PERFECT FOR

Lower-level teams in the top-five leagues, especially La Liga and Spain – or strong teams in Netherlands, Belgium, Portugal

Struggling at the end of your first season? Antonio Blanco should be available on a free and presents himself as a strong midfield rotation option on relatively affordable wages.

Blessed with a suite of high level mental attributes from the jump, with a bit of training, minutes and some tender loving care, development of the technical side of his game should be forthcoming. In a year or two, you should have a high-performing central midfielder or ball winning midfielder.

He is a bit of a no-brainer acquisition if you can get him, and as a 22-year-old by the time he can play minutes for your club, he is ready for the rigours of senior football in any major European league. And as a highly-rated Real Madrid product, he should go on to be a top performer as you move into the Champions League places.

BOUBACAR KAMARA

KAMARA-FM22

DETAILS

POSITIONS

DM, CB

VALUE

€27 million – €82 million

PERFECT FOR

Higher-tier clubs in every top-five league, those looking to establish themselves in Europe’s continental competitions

Boubacar Kamara has been around for quite a while now. He’s been a fixture of Olympique Marseille’s first-team since the 2018/19 season, gradually migrating from centre-back into a midfield role.

That’s where his future should lie, both in game and in real life. He lacks the size (height, mainly) to be a top-level centre-back but his on-ball and defensive skillsets fit a defensive midfield role really well. He’s a strong ball-winner that can cover a lot of space, both defensively and in possession. His right-side bias may be a bit problematic but he has the range of passing to make up for it, as well as the intelligence.

Don’t be scared off by the price range, too. Kamara will ‘explore his options’ at the end of his OM contract, meaning he can be picked up on a pre-contract as soon as January. He represents great value for European-level clubs in every top-five league.

 
 

 

 

ATTACKING MIDFIELDERS

ARSEN ZAKHARYAN

zakharyan-fm22

DETAILS

POSITIONS

AM, CM, RW

VALUE

€5.6 million – €16.5 million

PERFECT FOR

Clubs on the fringes of the Champions League in Germany, France, or even England – think Bayer Leverkusen, Olympique Lyonnais and Leicester City

Arsen Zakharyan is one of the best attacking midfielders of his generation in real-life, and that has been reflected in Football Manager 2022.

He’s a well-rounded attacker. Strong mental attributes underpin Zakharyan’s skillset. He is especially adept at arriving into spaces with a good sense of timing, creating problems for defences with intelligent runs and clever movements. He also has the technical quality to hurt teams with his passing and finish. His versatility is a great asset too; you can mould him into whatever you need.

He is a “budget” Florian Wirtz. In fact, he would be a good option to replace Wirtz if you’re managing Bayer 04 Leverkusen. That’s the sort of level Zakharyan would fit in at early in the game.

FÁBIO CARVALHO

DETAILS

POSITIONS

AM

VALUE

€11 million – €33 million

PERFECT FOR

Premier League clubs looking to get ahead of the curve on the next big Championship export, like Eze and Olise – he’d be a great option for all at that level

With just one year left on his contract, one of the first things you should do when loading up a new save is checking out Fábio Carvalho. If you’re a top-tier club, the attacker is a fantastic opportunity to grab a good deal.

He can be difficult to sign at the start: Fulham don’t want to let him go for anything less than around €20 million. However, you should try to unsettle him then land his signature as soon as you can in January. If you can get him on a free, you will have a set-and-forget AM that can fill in across the front four as required.

Most importantly, he has a rounded skillset that should grow hugely as he gets more game time. 16 vision, 14 dribbling, 13 technique, and 13 passing are some of the headline stats, while 15 acceleration and 14 pace should help him lead your transition attacks.

WINGERS

YUSUF DEMIR

DETAILS

POSITIONS

RW, AM

VALUE

€7.8 million – €24 million

PERFECT FOR

Strong teams in mid-level leagues or solid team in high-level leagues – Demir is an excellent option for a buy-and-loan deal for the elite clubs too

You will have to wait and hope a little on Yusuf Demir. If Barcelona don’t take up their €10 million option to buy at the end of the first season, that’s your time to swoop in.

Your patience will be well worth it. In Demir, you’ll get a player that can play anywhere across the front four, although he will be best utilised as an AM (C). If you are a strong top division team, sign him and send him on loan. If you can get him to any other type of club, he should be ready to go straight away as a good rotation option – his technical attributes are already very strong.

With enough minutes and the right development, and if FM22 is anything like FM21, then Demir should develop into one of the game’s premier attacking midfielders, capable of propelling you to not just domestic, but European glory.

OSAME SAHRAOUI

sahraoui-fm22

DETAILS

POSITIONS

CM, AM, LW

VALUE

€1 million – 2.9 million

PERFECT FOR

Clubs in the Eredivisie or Pro League, like AZ Alkmaar and RSC Anderlecht – he needs a stepping stone move before a crack at an elite-level league

Vålerenga IF have a lot of good young players. Christin Borchgrevink is one, Odin Thiago Holm is another, both are worth a look – but Osame Sahraoui is the crown jewel.

Sahraoui is a proper street-style footballer, possessing exceptional technical quality particularly as a dribbler. He manipulates the ball really well with every part of his feet, and he has the burst and agility to twist and turn through tight spaces. He may be the most gifted player in Norway.

He usually plays on the left-side of a 4-3-3, playing between the lines in the half-space – that’s where he comes alive as a dribbler and creative passer. He needs to add goals to his game, but he’s a great option for good clubs in mid-level leagues – especially with his expiring contract in-game. There’s a bargain to be had.

ANTONIO ZARZANA

ZARZANA-FM22

DETAILS

POSITIONS

AM, RW

VALUE

€375,000 – €1.1 million

PERFECT FOR

Clubs in Spain, Portugal or the Benelux nations seeking a relatively afforable deal to pick up a promising attacking profile

Antonio Zarzana has been one of Sevilla’s standouts in the UEFA Youth League, and his attributes in Football Manager 2022 seem to reflect that.

In real life, the Spanish attacker is an aggressive and skilful player that cannonballs forward, although can at times struggles to raise his eyes to find team-mates. And in the game this is reflected, with pretty strong pace, aggression, flair, dribbling and first touch. On top of that, his versatility is a major asset for providing depth in multiple positions as you integrate him into your team.

He would be great for a strong second division team, or a lower mid-table team in Belgium, Netherlands or Portugal, and he is available for his €500,000 release clause at the start of the game. He then has the potential to develop into a good first division starter.

DETAILS

POSITIONS

LW, SS

VALUE

€350,000 – €1.1 million

PERFECT FOR

Lower-level clubs in Spain, Portugal, or stronger sides in the Americas – Enciso is a prospect to buy early and nurture patiently

Julio Enciso is a solid player to target as a lower-level club if you have a little bit of cash to spare. Sign him using instalments to maximise the amount you can spend elsewhere; €150,000-€200,000 up front should be enough, with instalments taking the deal to around €700,000-€750,000.

As a winger or inverted winger on either side, Enciso profiles as a high-level dribbler that’s quick off the mark. He’s built perfectly for a counter-attacking system, and has the potential to grow with your team as you secure promotion and embark on a push up into the mid-table and beyond.

His potential probably isn’t quite Champions League level, but he will develop strongly and will be a great saleable asset down the line.

STRIKERS

KARIM ADEYEMI

DETAILS

POSITIONS

ST, RW

VALUE

€9.2 million – €28 million

PERFECT FOR

Upper mid-table clubs in the Premier League and Bundesliga, if you can get him – even clubs at Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund’s level makes sense for all

Karim Adeyemi is incredibly fun. 17 acceleration and 16 pace are the headline attributes of what is a strong advanced forward skillset, with 15 off ball and 14 dribbling useful for one-man counter-attacks.

But you can also utilise the German as a inside forward coming in from the right onto his left foot, although you will really want to get him attacking the box – he is more of a finisher than a creator.

Adeyemi is one to monitor for an upper mid-table team. If you can get him, he’s a player that can come into your team straight away and be effective. In your first season or two, he should be available for around €20 million. But if you’re willing to risk him going elsewhere, continue to monitor his contract situation and try to snag a bargain before his deal expires in 2024.

JULIÁN ÁLVAREZ

DETAILS

POSITIONS

ST, RW, LW

VALUE

€2.8 million – 8.4 million

PERFECT FOR

Good mid-table clubs in Spain and Italy would be a strong launch pad for him – think Valencia and Fiorentina

If you load Argentina into your save and are looking for a cheap, versatile attacking player that can come into a mid-table first division squad and contribute immediately, Julián Álvarez is a great option.

He is a natural striker in-game but can play across the front four, and he excels as an inside forward coming in from the left. He is a very technical player, with 17 flair to boot, but he works best naturally as an advanced forward with 15 off the ball and 14 finishing being key strengths. He’s quite small though, so no long balls.

Available for an extremely affordable €6 million at the start of the game, be prepared to battle with a few other mid-table top division clubs for him. He will be a great option though and will grow with your club as you move up the standings.

ADAM HLOZEK

DETAILS

POSITIONS

ST, RW, LW

VALUE

€4.4 million – €13.5 million

PERFECT FOR

Good mid-table clubs looking to make the next step in their developments

Adam Hložek is a Scouted Football favourite – and he is, or should be, a favourite of many Football Managers as well. Hložek is a great talent at an affordable price, one that will typically set your club back somewhere around the €6-7 million mark, if not a little more, in the first or second season.

He’s a versatile forward that can be used as a winger on the right, an inside forward on the left, an advanced forward up front, or even a supporting striker through the middle. Hložek is particularly effective as an advanced forward, with great physical attributes making him a real threat in behind – especially if you can train him to beat the offside trap.

For teams in or around the Europa League, Hložek will start as a reliable contributor for you but has the potential to develop into a strong starter and regular goalscorer as you move into seasons two, three and beyond.

DETAILS

POSITIONS

ST

VALUE

€3.5 million – €10.5 million

PERFECT FOR

Mid-to-lower table teams in Europe’s top divisions, especially Serie A – he’s an excellent asset to pick up as soon as possible

Lorenzo Lucca is one of the best young strikers available in FM22. You won’t be able to sign him in the first season, as he just arrived at AC Pisa this season, but keep an eye on him as you enter your second season.

In the latest game, Lucca is ready made to brutalise defences at a Champions League level. He makes perfect sense as a target forward, given his 2.01m frame, paired with elite-level heading and jumping reach stats. But you could definitely get away with using him as an advanced forward (or complete forward) if you can train him up as a link/creative passer.

Available for somewhere around the €8-10 million mark after the first window, he will join you as long as you are in a top division. So, if you’re looking for a player that guarantees goals, Lorenzo Lucca is your guy.

YOUSSOUFA MOUKOKO

DETAILS

POSITIONS

ST

VALUE

€33 million – €99 million

PERFECT FOR

The establshed big clubs looking to get ahead of the curve – buy him before he breaks the bank

Do anything you can to sign Youssoufa Moukoko. If you’re lucky, you could even get him on a free transfer at the end of his modest BVB contract in 2023.

He’ll likely be selective in which club he chooses, so you’ll need to establish yourself as at least a Europa League club in your first season before pushing on in your second season as you try to build your reputation. If you’re a bigger club, you can buy him earlier for somewhere around €40 million mark. From there, he can develop into one of the leading strikers in FM22.

His stats as a 16-year-old are incredible, physically, mentally and technically. All told, he’s a more than decent first division level striker from moment the game starts. Moukoko is the personification of the much-fabled “wonderkid”.

BENJAMIN SESKO

DETAILS

POSITIONS

ST, LW

VALUE

€6.8 million – €21 million

PERFECT FOR

Bundesliga clubs like Bayer Leverkusen; Serie A clubs like AC Milan; Premier League clubs like West Ham

Many have heard of Karim Adeyemi, but few will know Benjamin Šeško. He is a typical Red Bull striker – tall, quick, athletic. It’s no surprise that he’s been compared to Erling Braut Haaland, but they’re different players.

The latter is more explosive and clinical, the former is more rounded. He has good speed across big spaces and can run off the shoulder well though. Moreover, he’s a strong snap-shooter and improvises well in the air. Those qualities are reflected well in his FM22 profile. Šeško has an excellent platform to develop off.

You’d do well to get in early on Šeško, pre-empting the big breakout that sees his value double in a short space of time. He has all the potential to develop into an outstanding striker in your save.

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 2022

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 2022?

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 2022?

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 2022?

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 2022?

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.

Youssoufa Moukoko is one of them, the teenage Borussia Dortmund striker. Lorenzo Lucca, a striker at  AC Pisa, is one of the best value.

It depends on your demands, and make sure that whoever you buy has a pathway to first-team football. That is crucial to youth recruitment and development.