There are few video game series that are as addictive as Football Manager, with millions of players each year getting lost in the tales that they spin. Whether it’s a quest for glory or just to make Everton not terrible, players cultivate their own pieces of interactive history all year around while playing the long game. Finding the next Haaland or Mbappe and then molding them into world beaters is another major allure for some, and Football Manager 2024‘s wonderkids offer a good look at the class of tomorrow.
While not an exact science, Sports Interactive is better than a lot of scouting teams in the world when it comes to finding the next big wonderkids. You name an up and comer under the age of 23, and there’s a good chance Football Manager’s fanbase knew about it first. Sports Interactive don’t always get it right, but they tend to always be way ahead of the curve. So why not find the next big star in Football Manager 2024 and make a start on your next dynasty while you’re at it?
We’ve scoured the FM 24 database to try and find the best wonderkids in the game that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. They won’t all be world beaters (at least not from day one), but they could all have a part to play in the story of your save in one way or another, whether that’s propping up the squad as cheap depth or even just providing a quick bit of financial gain.
Bear in mind that due to dynamic potential, your wonderkid may or may not become the next big thing — a lot of their success is down to how you shape them. Also, you will need to have pretty much all of the leagues loaded to be able to see all of these wonderkids in your database. And lastly, some of them may have only just signed contracts or have gone out on loan, so they may not be eligible to snap up right at the start of your save.
Another Football Manager, another reminder to stop sniggering at the back. The unfortunately named German may not be the cheapest FM GK wonderkid this year, but he does have one of the highest skill ceiling. His sharp reflexes and tall stature make him a solid backup for most clubs at just 17, and you just know he will get a lot better over time too. But seriously, stop sniggering.
The Polish Bartosz Żelazowski may not go on to become one of the world’s very best, but it’s hard to find a goalkeeper at 18 with these kinds of attributes. Available for around half a million, Żelazowski has solid handling and kicking, but absolutely does need to work on his mentals, which will come over time. There’s plenty to work on here, and with his contract expiring at the start of a save, you may even manage to do it for free.
FM 24 Wonderkid Defenders
Position(s): DC (DM/DL) Age: 15 Club: OGC Nice Value: £200k
Sadly on a youth contract and a tad too young at the start of a save, meaning that you will have to wait until he signs a professional contract, the French Doumbouya looks like he may grow into quite the rock at the back. Just look at the mental attributes at just 15 years old. Chuck in some very solid passing, technique, and tackling attributes, and you may have yourself the bargain of the century.
Position(s): DC (DM/DR) Age: 20 Club: Zaragoza Value: £7m
Defenders who are under 6 foot tall may be slightly in vogue these days, but it’s understandable if some people aren’t as sold, especially with how strong setpieces are in the game this year. The Spanish Alejandro Francés may only be 5″9, but his marking, tackling, pace, and strength attributes make up for that a little, and he’s only going to get better. He is also an option at RB, if you need the cover.
Position(s): DC Age: 17 Club: Oviedo Value: £350k
Nothing about Oviedo’s Jaime Vázquez will probably leap at you to begin with. He isn’t the strongest, tallest, or smartest defender in the game, but what you do have is someone who’s pretty determined to win the ball back. At worst, he will be good backup for most top sides. Best of all, his contract is expiring, so you can get him for less than a million — if you’re fast.
Basically every football club with some money is after Dorgu at the start of your save in FM 24 — those wonderkid wing-backs really just do not seem to grow on trees. A Danish full-back with strong numbers across the board, Dorgu’s tackling is really his only major downside, but the teamwork, work rate, and off the ball nous make up for those shortcomings.
One of the most popular wonderkids in FM 24 regardless of being a bargain or not, Boca’s Valentín Barco is a young Argentinian with all the attributes to be a world class left-back and one of the very best in the game. Just look at the vision, fitness, dribbling, flair, and technique attributes on him at just 18. Even better, he can be deployed as a winger if you looking for some utility, and he even has the crossing and dribbling to back that up. Maybe the only downside? He’s completely left-footed.
Sidney Raebiger won’t ever be the next Kevin de Bruyne, but there’s something to be said for wonderkid midfielder who just seems to be decent at everything. Though unlikely to be able to drag you to league titles, his attributes and growth potential (as well as relative bargain status) means that he could become a cult hero for a team outside of the elite. He’s even listed for loan right away if you don’t want to gamble as much.
Position(s): DM/MC Age: 19 Club: SK Rapid Value: £5m
The Austrian Sattlberger already has a lot of the tools that you will be looking for from a DM in Football Manager — except for maybe the tackling. There’s plenty of time to cultivate that side of his game, but what you have from day one is a pretty fast, mentally strong midfielder who might be best served with a playmaker right next to him.
The major football games really have a lot of faith in Lennon Miller this year, as these are some fearsome attributes for a 16 year old without many senior appearances to his name. His mental attributes are phenomenal, and his passing and dribbling is also fairly solid. The only major downside are his physicals, which may require a loan or two before he turns out in the big leagues.
Position(s): MC/DM Age: 18 Club: Estorial Praia (on loan from Sporting) Value: £9.2m
Slightly on the pricier side when it comes to wonderkids and also already out on loan at the start of a save, meaning you may have to wait to sign him, Mateus Fernandes is still more than worthwhile scooping up when you can. An all-round solid player who can tackle, distribute, and just keep on going, Fernandes may not be as skillful as Bruno, but he can certainly still become some player given time.
Position(s): MC/AMC Age: 20 Club: FC RB Salzburg Value: £15m
Luka Sučić is a very promising young Croatian who flourishes while playing as a Mezzala in the middle. Good at basically everything except tackling and marking, meaning he will definitely need a ball-winner alongside him, Luka Sučić’s contract status means that he will be available for pretty cheap in the middle of January; expect to pay less than his value if you can be patient. If you’re searching for a technically gifted left footer who can spray the ball across the pitch, Luka Sučić is a real baller.
Position(s): MC/AMC Age: 20 Club: GNK Dinamo Zagreb Value: £8m
Croatia’s propensity for churning out stars despite being such a small nation is nothing short of incredible, and the same could be said of Martin Baturina’s attributes from day one. The passing, technique, first touch, dribbling, flair, determination, and anticipation numbers will all make this midfielder one of the best in a top European league, though do expect to pay a little over the odds for the future of Croatian football. No pressure.
A utility player from England who doesn’t cost the Earth? It’s almost a miracle. Harrison Burrows may not grow into one of the game’s very best players, but he can be a star midfielder for a club just below the upper tier who are looking to invest in the future. His expiring contract and versatility make him one of the easiest wonderkids to recommend across the whole of Football Manager 24.
FM 24 Wonderkid Wingers
Position(s): STC/AML Age: 18 Club: FC Köln II Value: £3.6m
While the German Diehl fancies himself as a striker, we actually think his traits of beating people and running with the ball, coupled with his flair and dribbling, means he will turn out to be a much better winger. There’s plenty to work on here, but you won’t have to work too hard on getting him for the cheap as his contract is quickly expiring. We managed to snag him for £1mill with installments.
Not that Rooney, obviously, but he does have a lot of that unpredictable dynamism that made Wayne such a star. You’ve probably already seen Bardghji in your Twitter feed, the kid just screams mid-January move to a Champions League team. Let’s see what the future holds for him, but we already know for certain that he’s one of the most bought wonderkids in FM 24.
Position(s): AMR/AML Age: 19 Club: Lyon (on loan from RWD Molenbeek) Value: £15m
Perhaps stretching the “cheap” qualifier of the headline a little bit, one look at Nuamah’s attributes will tell you why he still makes the cut here. One of the faster wingers in the game, Nuamah also has the technical ability to match at just 19. The Ghanaian is on loan at the start of a save so his value may inflate even more by the second season, but he’s looking like a player who will be worth a whole lot in the future.
Everyone loves a mercurial Brazilian wonderkid in Football Manager, Estêvão being one of the most fascinating ones to come around this year. At just 16, this young attacking midfielder has solid technical across the board, with the typical you might expect from a Brazilian. He won’t be able to join you in the first season, but that just gives him more of a chance to work on the basics, like having any kind of stamina.
Position(s): AML/STC Age: 20 Club: Tudelano (on loan from Zaragoza) Value: £950k
Luis Carbonell is in the James Rodriguez mold of winger, in the sense that he’s actually a playmaker who happens to be played on the left or right. What that means is that Carbonell isn’t all that fast, probably not fast enough for a traditional wing system, but the guy’s flair and technique at just 20 is pretty impressive. With his contract expiring, you’re going to want to wait for his loan to expire and then maybe snap him up for nothing in the next summer window.
Signing João Rêgo is an absolute no brainer in FM 24. Not only do his flair and determination combined make him a very exciting player, but Benfica are also willing to loan him out with an optional future fee attached so you can “try before you buy”. Rêgo may lack the pace to be an explosive winger, but his versatility means that he’s can cover basically everywhere in the final third, and he’s also the perfect candidate for you teach him a variety of traits as pretty much a blank slate.
While he may not be keen on the move in the first window of your save, Fillipi is a wonderkid worth building a project around. Though kind of slow for a winger (12 pace, eesh), it’s hard to look past things like natural fitness, flair, and dribbling at just 16 years of age. Maybe mold him into an attacking midfielder if you’re worried about him on the wing.
Position(s): STC Age: 20 Club: Penarol (on loan from Granada) Value: £6.2m
Cheap young strikers are very much at a premium in Football Manager this year, but here’s one for those who don’t mind waiting a season. The Uruguayan Arezo is an absolute workhouse who can also find the back of the net, with his only major downfall being a lack of pace. Still, if you’re playing a high backline, you won’t need a speedster to break through the enemy defence.
Position(s): STC Age: 19 Club: BOT Value: £5.2m
Who doesn’t love a young Brazilian striker who has the world at his feet? Sports Interactive definitely do. While his real life career has yet to blossom at all from a goal perspective, Football Manager 24 reckons Nascimento has all the tools to be one of the better players in Europe. Just try to ignore that finishing: it’s the work rate, technique, and pace that should catch your eye here.
Position(s): STC Age: 19 Club: Alaves (on loan from Athletico Madrid) Value: £15m
Samu Omorodion is an absolute killer in Football Manager 2024, and a quick glance at his physicals will tell you why. Basically the Spanish Calvert-Lewin if he was younger and less injury prone, Omorodion’s 6 foot 4 stature makes him super potent on set pieces, but there’s really no weaknesses in his game at just 19. We were able to sign him for only £11.25m for the season after his loan ended and he’s already bagged ten goals before November as a rotation option. Seriously, get him in.
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