FOOTBALL MANAGER 2022 WONDERKIDS

UNDER-THE-RADAR PROSPECTS & GOOD VALUE DEALS

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 that represent cheap, bargain deals 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.

LAST UPDATED: NOVEMBER 29, 2021

ANEL AHMEDHODZIC

DETAILS

POSITIONS

RCB

VALUE

€1 million – €3 million

PERFECT FOR

Anyone that can get him – he has Champions League potential, but don’t wait around to get him

Unsurprisingly, Anel Ahmedhodžić is, once again, one of the best affordable defensive talents on FM22. A quintessential FM ball-playing centre-back, he starts with 14 passing and 12 technique. Combine those with 13 marking, 14 tackling, 13 positioning, 14 decisions, 13 concentration and a well-rounded physical skillset, and you have a great first-team-ready first division defender.

You can even use him as a rotation option for a leading club as he develops into a CL-level defender. However, if you get lucky, you can sign him as a leading second division team too – an unrealistic glitch to exploit!

In terms of cost, Ahmedhodžić will set you back somewhere between €6-8 million, and that can be structured quite favourably. You will have a lot of competition for his signature, so get in quickly once your save commences.

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.

ANDREA PAPETTI

PAPETTI-FM22

DETAILS

POSITIONS

CB

VALUE

€1.4 million – €4.1 million

PERFECT FOR

Lower-half clubs in top division, in particular Serie A – if you don’t have space for him, loan him back to Brescia for a season then reassess

An FM21 icon returns. Andrea Papetti starts your save at Brescia in Serie B with two years left on his current deal. If you’re a lower-to-middle table top division team, he should be a high-priority target.

However, if you’re well-stocked at centre-back, don’t be afraid to send him back to Brescia, who will likely ask for him to be loaned back anyway. He will likely set you back somewhere in the vicinity of €3-5 million – a lot of money in the short term, yes, but also a player that will lock down a place in your defence long term.

Papetti begins the game with top-level mental attributes for a young defender, and he is a really well-rounded athlete too, with 14 pace, acceleration and jumping reach, plus 13 strength. S0lid marking and passing attributes make him a good ball-playing defender for the future.

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.

FREDRIK BJØRKAN

DETAILS

POSITIONS

LB, LWB

VALUE

€1.5 million – €4.6 million

PERFECT FOR

Mid-table first division clubs, or strong first division clubs outside the top five league (Eredivisie, Pro League)

You’ll have to wait six months to get Fredrik Bjørkan. And there is a reason you will be competing with top Premier League teams to sign him: he is a top attacking wing-back that is eligible for a work permit due to his participation in the UEFA Conference League.

Premier League clubs will likely park him on loan, but if you’re a mid-table team, he will be ready to start for you straight away. He has great physical and mental attributes. Hard-working and aggressive, Bjørkan is also attack-minded. He has the ‘gets forward whenever possible’ trait – so you will probably want to balance his presence out with a more defensive right-side.

If you can get him on a free and you can afford to wait six months for him to arrive, Bjørkan should be high on your list of left-backs as a mid-table first division club.

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.

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.

XAVI SIMONS

SIMONS-FM22

DETAILS

POSITIONS

DM, CM, AM

VALUE

€325,000 – €1 million

PERFECT FOR

Bigger clubs (in top-five leagues) looking for a development deal, or smaller clubs (in Belgium or Netherlands) looking for a promising starter

We’ve been hearing about Xavi Simons for years, but is he actually good? The answer is yes, probably.

Although now starring as a fluid striker in the UEFA Youth League for Paris Saint-Germain, in FM22 Simons is limited to playing in deeper centreal areas – but he is a cheap buy with the potential to develop into a good option for a top division club.

At the base of midfield, he looks best as a deep-lying playmaker with good technique and passing range, as well as strong mentals that should allow him to command the midfield well. Equally, his technical quality could see him used in a more attacking role as a mezzala or advanced playmaker to good effect; all for less than a €1 million as his contract enters its final year at the start of your save. Get him in, send him on loan, and he will be ready to go.

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.

YERSON CHACÓN

DETAILS

POSITIONS

RW, LW

VALUE

€170,000 – €500,000

PERFECT FOR

Lower-level clubs in leagues with favourable non-EU regulations – Germany, Austria, Portugal

You’ll face competition to sign Yerson Chacón, but, at €300,000, he’s an exciting talent to supplement a lower-level side. But with Arsenal one of the teams interested in signing him, it won’t be an easy deal to pull off.

Chacón will be effective either as a winger on the right or as an inside forward off the left: 14 dribbling, 13 technique and 12 first touch are good for a tricky wide player, while he has some reasonable physical attributes too. Get senior minutes into him and he should develop quite rapidly. Crucially, his mental attributes are already quite strong for an 18-year-old, while his technicals should improve quickly.

The key issue is his nationality; the fact that he is from Venezuela will mean we will take up a non-EU position for a lot of teams, so he would be a good option for teams in Germany who don’t have those restrictions.

AKINKUNMI AMOO

DETAILS

POSITIONS

RW

VALUE

€750,000 – €2.3 million

PERFECT FOR

Clubs in Belgium (Anderlecht, Genk) or the Netherlands (AZ Alkmaar, Feyenoord) make the most sense – he’d fit France too

Akinkunmi Amoo has put together a breakout season in Sweden. After breaking into the Hammarby team, he’s shown his exciting style and higher-level potential.

He’s a small, chunky, left-footed right winger that has an explosive change of tempo and loves to dribble with the ball. He plays with a lot of personality, almost toying with defenders in the way he beats them. In real-life, he’s made impressive developments to his general play that aren’t quite reflected in his FM22 profile yet. But he’s still an exciting prospect in-game, one that would suit the inverted winger role to a tee.

It won’t take much to take him from the Allsvenskan, and you should do so quickly if you’re managing in Belgium or the Netherlands. Williot Swedberg is another Hammarby talent to keep a very close eye on too.

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.

JULIO ENCISO

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.

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.

RANSFORD KÖNIGSDÖRFFER

DETAILS

POSITIONS

ST

VALUE

€1.8 million – €5.2 million

PERFECT FOR

Any team, if you can afford him – loan him if you’re a European-level first division team but use him if not

Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer is going to be a Football Manager 22 icon – and he’s perfect for a lot of lower-to-mid-level clubs across Europe. Useful wide on the right or in his more natural position as a striker, he is a pacey player and his striking instincts are underpinned by 15 finishing, 15 technique, and 15 off the ball. He can easily be a 20 goal striker if you make him the focal point of your second division team as an advanced forward.

The 19-year-old can be prised from Dynamo Dresden for an affordable fee. Around €3 million euros should be enough to secure his signature, and that deal can be constructed in instalments, allowing you to bring him to your club even if you have a limited transfer budget to dedicate up front. Because of his skillset, potential and affordability, Ransford-Yeboah Königsdörffer will be one of the most popular players in FM22.

LORENZO LUCCA

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.