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FM 22 Wonderkids: Where to find the best young players in Football Manager 2022

The future of Football Manager

Anyone can waltz into one of the world’s biggest football clubs and splash the cash, but the real test of your managerial credentials is building for the future. For that, you’ll need to sign some of the best Football Manager 2022 Wonderkids - superstars in waiting, ready to slot into your starting 11 and become new club legends.

Whatever your starting budget or financial clout, there are a few names you can add to your roster that grow into top-quality footballers - provided they’re given enough game-time, learn with decent coaches, and don’t drop a jar of mayonnaise on their foot and sever their tendons, of course.

One thing to consider when you’re getting really deep into Football Manager 2022 scouting like this is database size. At the start of your save, you will have chosen the depth of leagues to include in the game and how much data you want your computer to crunch week-to-week. If you can’t find any of the wonderkids we’ve listed below, it’s likely because your database doesn’t include the team, or even the league or country, they play in.

Following in the footsteps of FM legends Freddy Adu and Cherno Samba, the players we pick might not actually turn out to be the next big thing, so it’s up to you to decide how realistic each signing is for your personal save.

Plus, you’ve probably already heard of the likes of Gavi, Florian Wirtz, Ansu Fati, Jude Bellingham, Jamal Musiala, Eduardo Camavinga and Ryan Gravenberch, all of whom are threatening to become regulars for their country before turning 20. Not to mention you can also take it as given that those kids Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland are quite good too. We’ll try and dig out talents who fly a bit further under the radar.

However, the players below are just a taste of the future bargains you can sign in FM 22. As a general rule for picking up unheard of wonderkids, try scouting the Argentinian and other South American leagues, as well as the youth teams of super-clubs like Man City and Chelsea, plus the elite development clubs like Dortmund, Benfica and Sporting, who tend to hoover up the best talent early.

Potential ranges of Wonderkids in Football Manager 2022

Finally, before we get into the players themselves, there’s one more thing to note. To avoid the glut of high potential youngsters flooding the game like we see in other football sims, Football Manager randomises the potential ranges of some players whenever you make a new save.

This means that sometimes specific players can have better or worse potential ceilings based on nothing other than random chance. Some high-profile players have a fixed potential so they’ll always perform, but they’re in the minority.

We’ve picked out some fun players to test out wherever they fall in their range, but be aware, when you purchase the player, they may not be quite as good, or could be even better.

Football Manager 2022 Wonderkid Strikers

  • Youssoufa Moukoko - Dortmund - 16

A bit of an obvious pick, but sometimes it’s good to jog your memory after some initial hype has died down.

After scoring roughly 40 billion goals for Dortmund’s youth teams, Youssoufa Moukoko made his league debut for Dortmund literally 24 hours after he became eligible on his 16th birthday. An unrealistic signing, but an incredible talent who could be on top of the game for the next 15-20 years thanks to his otherworldly 200 potential range.

  • Kerim Adeyemi - RB Salzburg - 19

The next big thing out of the Red Bull conveyor belt of great footballers, Kerim Adeyemi has already impressed in this year’s Champions League - enough to court interest from a host of Europe’s elite clubs.

Fast and clinical, Adeyemi can grow into the athletic spear-head for almost any attack with a stratospheric potential range of 190.

  • Martin Satriano - Inter - 20

Inter’s big Uruguayan striker has a ton of potential, and finds himself behind rising stars Lautaro Martinez and Sebastiano Esposito, as well as experienced heads like Edin Dzeko at the Nerazzurri.

Where a lot of young forwards tend to be slight and nippy, at 6ft 2”, Satriano can become a decent focal point for your attack rather than just applying the finishing touch.

  • Matias Arezo - River Plate Monteviedo - 18

Sticking in Uruguay, Matias Arezo has been tearing it up in the domestic league and at youth international level since he was 16.

13 goals in 21 games in a professional men’s league for an 18 year old is worth a look whatever the level, and his short contract could make negotiations easier than you’d expect.

  • Lorenzo Lucca - Pisa - 21

Standing at more than 2m (that’s 6ft 7” in old money), towering forward Lorenzo Lucca is making his way up through the Italian leagues, currently impressing in Serie B after a solid return for Palermo in Serie C.

This man-mountain has sky-high potential, and could be a unique signing for any team.

  • Dane Scarlett - Spurs - 17

Like Mason Greenwood a few years ago, Dane Scarlett is this year’s overpowered English striker that will grow to dominate the Premier League despite not scoring a senior goal so far.

These sort of signings can carry a big premium considering the current ability of the player, but now you know at least.

  • Adam Hlozek - Sparta Prague - 18

You might have heard Czech prospect Adam Hlozek being linked to a plethora of teams at the top end of the Premier League, and with good reason. The versatile forward already has a usable current ability despite being just 18, and can be deployed either up front or out wide.

Football Manager 2022 Wonderkid Midfielders

  • Ilaix Moriba - RB Leipzig - 18

In a summer of high-profile departures at Barcelona, could Ilaix Moriba’s look like the worst business in a few years?

Despite not being as well known as some other wonderkids, Moriba is technically the 2nd best in the entire game behind Eduardo Camavinga thanks to his 200 potential range.

Capable of playing in pretty much any central midfield position, he’ll be pulling the strings for a decade or more, if you can prise him away from Germany, that is.

  • Thiago Almada - Velez Sarsfield - 20

A big name on Football Manager for a few years now, Thiago Almada has been linked with everyone from Liverpool to Leeds United and is an important player for Velez Sarsfield on top of being picked for the Argentine Olympic squad.

Almada is a quick, tricky, agile and creative number 10 who’s an exciting player across the forward line.

He might not be as freely available in the first season for long, with paper talk suggesting moves to either MLS or Marseille could be imminent. Let’s hope he doesn’t go the way of Ezequiel Barco.

  • Willott Swedberg - Hammarby - 17

The Nordic leagues have quite a lot of decent wonderkids to uncover, but a cheaper one to consider is Willott Swedberg, who has already played a decent number of games for the Hammarby first team, who despite their relative lack of success are the most popular club in Sweden and part-owned by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

  • Khephren Thuram-Ulien - Nice - 20

The younger son of France legend Lillian Thuram, Khephren looks set to follow his older brother Marcus Thuram as a highly sought after prospect.

A tough, ball-winning midfielder, he’s already staking a place in a strong Nice team under Christophe Gaultier - the coach who won Ligue 1 with Lille last season.

  • Marco Kana & Pierre Dwomoh - Anderlecht & Antwerp - 19 & 17

Everyone loves a highly-rated Belgian midfielder, and with Aster Vranckx moving clubs to Wolfsburg in the summer, a couple of cheaper options you can check out are Marco Kana and Pierre Dwomoh at title rivals Anderlecht and Antwerp.

Expect to pay a relatively big fee in comparison to their current ability, but would you want to miss out on the next Youri Tielemans?

  • Oliver Skipp & Alfie Devine - Spurs - 20 & 16

The Spurs academy has been pumping out premium players consistently for a fair few years now, and two to consider skimming off the top are Alfie Devine and the more well-known Oliver Skipp, who spent last season on loan at Norwich City.

More in the deep-lying playmaker mould than destructive defensive mid or flighty number 10, either can make solid pickups depending on your budget.

Football Manager 2022 Wonderkid Wingers

  • Khvicha Kvaratskhelia - Rubin Kazan - 20

Taking up the mantle of “Winger with the hardest name to spell” from Kuba Blaszczykowski, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia is a Georgian wideman with two full seasons under his belt in the Russian League and 5 goals for his country at just 20.

Linked with Spurs and Leeds United in real life before they went for Bryan Gil and Dan James respectively, this guy looks to be taking a step up soon.

  • Alan Velasco - Independiente - 18

Another name that’s been around on FM since last season at least, Alan Velasco is yet another awesome Argentine talent with tons of room to grow.

While he excels out wing, he can also be deployed through the middle, even as a central striker if necessary.

  • Nico Serrano - Bilbao - 18

Basque country produces so many incredible wingers. And while Oyarzabal and Barrenetxea at Real Sociedad are getting the hype during their awesome run at the top of La Liga, Nico Serrano has as much potential as any of them.

He’s likely to cost a lot, but genuinely has really high potential.

  • Kayky - Man City - 18

An eyebrow raiser across multiple football sims for being a hugely rated talent while still being relatively unheard of in the mainstream, Kayky is an interesting option for a team with a big budget to try and repeat Dortmund’s success with Jadon Sancho.

It will take a lot to lure the Brazilian away from Man City, but it’s up to you to make it worth it.

  • Karamoko Dembele - Celtic - 18

On the cheaper end of things, check out Celtic’s quick English winger Karamoko Dembele.

He scored his first senior goal for the green-and-white hoops at the tail-end of last season, and while there’s an almighty scrap ongoing for his international allegiance - he’s torn it up for both England and Scotland at youth level - you can add him to your roster relatively easily.

Football Manager 2022 Wonderkid Defenders - Centre backs, Left Backs and Right Backs

  • Goncalo Inacio - Sporting - 20

A quality left-footed centre back is vital to building up attacks on that side. When so many of the world’s top coaches extol the importance of a natural left-footer in that position, you might want to take notice.

Portuguese defenders are having a bit of a moment, and Goncalo Inacio is yet another hot prospect coming out of the amazing Sporting academy.

While he’s on the pricier side, his current ability is pretty decent so you shouldn’t have too many issues bedding him into any kind of team.

  • Morato - Benfica - 20

Elsewhere in Portugal, Brazilian defender Morato is a similar talent who fits into the right-sided centre back role.

The same age as Inacio, and with a Champions League goal to his name already, Morato is a great option for a top team or ambitious project.

  • Ruben Pulido - CF Fuenlabrada - 20

For a bit of a less expensive option, head over to the Segunda Division and take a look at Ruben Pulido, who moved to Fuenlabrada after his contract ran down at Real Madrid.

He’s not having the best time in real life, with Fuenlabrada - whose stadium is named after Fernando Torres - languishing towards the bottom of the league and Pudilo picking up a red card in a 3-0 loss to Valladolid.

But in FM, he’s still a great investment for the future and a strong pickup for a variety of teams.

  • Ronnie Edwards - Peterborough -18

After making ten times their money on Ivan Toney, another interesting talent from Peterborough United is English centre half Ronnie Edwards.

Technical enough to play further up in midfield, his versatility could help him get vital minutes early in his career.

  • Noah Katterbach - FC Koln - 20

Having represented Germany internationally at every youth level, where he won the prestigious Fritz Walter medal also awarded to the likes of Leon Goretzka, Timo Werner and Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Noah Katterbach boasts a strong pedigree.

With an already usable current ability and cheap wages, he looks like a good bargain buy - especially compared to the massively expensive Bundesliga options Luca Netz and Josko Gvardiol, who you’d only plump for if you’re rolling in cash.

  • David De la Vibora - Real Madrid - 18

For another cheaper left back option, consider David Luiz doppelganger David De la Vibora, who’s currently operating in Real Madrid’s Castilla B team. Quick and technically gifted, focus on training De la Vibora defensively to round out his skill set.

  • Jayden Bogle - Sheffield United - 21

When you can’t afford Tariq Lamptey, Tino Livramento, or Jurrien Timber, there’s always Jayden Bogle, who at just 21 already has already played around 100 senior games in a key position.

A solid pick-up for Premier League teams, he’s already a reliable performer and should stay that way for many seasons to come.

  • Tomas Esteves & Goncalo Esteves - Porto & Sporting - 19 & 17

When it comes to full back brothers, there’s been Gary and Phil Neville and Fabio and Rafael da Silva to name just two, but they were on opposite sides in the same team. Not only do Tomas and Goncalo Esteves both play at right back, but they also play for bitter Portuguese title rivals Porto and Sporting.

Both are decent prospects to consider, and you could even reunite them and try and train one to play left back!

Football Manager 2022 Wonderkid Goalkeepers

  • Illian Meslier - Leeds United - 21

All the hype in West Yorkshire is around Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips, but when the time comes to sell off the crown jewels, Illian Meslier will go for as much as any of them.

The French Under-21 international has established himself as a first-choice Premier League goalkeeper of some quality, and if you’re playing with one of Europe’s elite budgets you can add him to your lineup for years to come.

  • Maarten Vandevoordt - Genk - 19

One of the relatively rare times where a player is an easy to recommend pickup across all football sims, the young Belgian stopper Maarten Vandevoordt is available for a cheap fee with low wages but bags of potential.

  • Joe Bursik & Charlie Setford - Stoke City & Ajax - 21 & 17

Again, for a young, English option, check out Joe Bursik, who has stepped up between the sticks during Stoke City’s strong start to the Championship season, or Charlie Setford, who’s currently plying his trade in the Netherlands for Ajax.

As ever, picking up trained in the nation/club players is important for registration rules, which puts a premium on domestic signings while you’re playing in the British football pyramid.

  • Lucas Canizares - Real Madrid Castilla - 19

Real Madrid have a habit of producing great goalkeepers and Lucas Canizares looks to be next on that list.

Tall enough unlike some young keepers, but with a relatively short contract to run down, Canizares is a fun option with strong pedigree.

  • Luca Unbehaun - Dortmund - 20

Tipped for great things but behind new man Gregor Kobel and veterans Roman Burki and Marvin Hitz at the Westfalenstadion, Luca Unbehaun is a regular in Borussia Dortmund’s well-regarded second team.

  • Muhammet Taha Tepe & Arda Akbulut - Trabzonspor - 20

Trabzonspor are running away with the Super Lig this year, but they have a couple of interesting Goalkeepers in reserve. Muhammet Tepe was highly rated as part of The Guardian’s annual Next Generation study, while Arda Akbulut has made his first-team debut and is taller at 6ft 4”.

As well as the traditional PC-based experience, this year's FM is now available on Xbox Game Pass, alongside a whole host of other games.

About the Author

James Billcliffe avatar

James Billcliffe

Guides Editor

James suffers so you don't have to. Whether it's raging so hard at Sekiro that he bit his own hand, or confronting a 20-year fear of zombies to complete Resident Evil 2 eight times, he creates guides and reviews for the biggest blockbuster games.

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