19 of the best wonderkids on Football Manager 2019: De Ligt, Foden, Havertz…

Quick Reads

Football Manager 2019 is here – and we’ve rounded up some of the best wonderkids you should be looking to buy on the latest edition of the game.

We have excluded any names that have already developed into superstars – it goes without saying you should buy Kylian Mbappe and Gianluigi Donnarumma if you have the chance – but here are 19 others you will want to keep an eye on.

All screengrabs have been taken from the summer of 2020, two years into a campaign.

Alban Lafont

An outstanding goalkeeper but with such a decent reputation it might take a hefty fee to prise him away from Fiorentina.

Lafont really doesn’t have any flaws, although his communication (13) and handling (14) aren’t exactly world-class, attributes that reflect his tender age for a goalkeeper.

Dayot Upamecano

A natural ball-playing centre-back, Upamecano is a consistently outstanding defender blessed with pace (18), technical quality (14), and natural fitness (16).

Available for around £20million when the game begins, the Frenchman develops into a world beater within 12 months.

Matthijs De Ligt

A Football Manager favourite, De Ligt is better than ever this year and will invariably transfer to one of Europe’s biggest clubs within a year of gameplay.

Just look at those stats: you won’t find a better centre-back in FM19.

Kristoffer Ajer

Available for less than £20million from Celtic, Ajer is an excellent alternative to De Ligt for a developing Premier League side.

He lacks pace (11), but superb technical quality – first touch (15) and passing (15) – means Ajer can lead the back line expertly, as well as drop into defensive midfield if required.

Theo Hernandez

Hernandez is a classic example of a Football Manager player who performs better than his attributes would indicate, primarily because the game expects all-rounders at full-back.

The Real Madrid left-back is made available for loan for several years on FM19, making him a very cheap option for Premier League teams.

Trent Alexander-Arnold

Liverpool’s prodigal right-back is outrageously good on FM19, although it will be almost impossible to get him to leave his hometown club.

Alexander-Arnold is the complete player – and presumably could be retrained in any position on the pitch.

Arne Maier

There are plenty of defensive midfield wonderkids on FM19, but one of the most readily available is Hertha BSC’s Arne Maier.

The 19-year-old doesn’t have the best defensive stats – tackling (11) and heading (8) – but as a deep-lying playmaker he will run the game.

Sandro Tonali

Tonali is similar but even better, the Leon Goretzka of FM19. The Italian is the complete midfield player and has a release clause of £23.5million, meaning even newly promoted Premier League clubs can take him from Brescia.

Lucas Paqueta

Flamengo’s Brazilian playmaker is stupidly good, but you’ll need to act fast. He gets snapped up in the first summer for about £10million, quickly developing into arguably the game’s most impressive advanced playmaker.

Long throws (5) and jumping reach (11) are his only attributes lower than 12, and Paqueta has 17 stats that are 15 or higher.

Houssem Aouar

Lyon’s highly rated attacking midfielder is very much a flair player and cannot be trusted to track back, but build a team around Aouar and the sky’s the limit.

He is extremely difficult to buy from reluctant Lyon, however.


Having already agreed to join Real Madrid for £40.5million, Rodrygo can only be admired from afar, and along with Vinicus Junior he gives Real a new lease of life.

Not great for anyone who wants hard-working wingers, Rodrygo is a brilliant flair player that will need to be carried somewhat by his team-mates.

Antonio Marin

It is always hard, and expensive, trying to sign wingers that have excellent scores for dribbling (18), technique (16), and pace (15), which is why Marin is such a special player.

Available for around £25million from Dinamo, the Croatian winger is ideal for tactics that instruct wide men to sprint to the byline.

Exequiel Palacios

Another excellent deep-lying playmaker on this list, Palacios has the added bonus of costing just £6.25million from River Plate.

All of Europe’s top clubs are after him by the end of year one, so it’s best to gamble early on a player that won’t develop fully for a few seasons.

Federico Chiesa

Fiorentina’s young winger, who is adept on both flanks, has a rare combination of crossing (13), dribbling (16), and work rate (14), which is why he is such a consistent performer on FM19 – yet another instalment of the franchise in which pacey wingers are the best route to goal.

Valued highly in Serie A and Europe, Chiesa won’t come cheap.

Kai Havertz

Havertz is becoming a bit of a Football Manager legend after featuring on wonderkid lists for several years running, and after a dip in FM18 he is right at the top of the game again.

Bayer Leverkusen have absolutely no interest in selling, mind, although Havertz’s presence alone is enough reason to start a campaign with the Bundesliga side.

Phil Foden

Manchester City’s prized asset is often loaned out in the first season of the game, although it is only in year three that Foden begins to fulfil his potential.

A lopsided attacker who lacks strength (10), positioning (9), and leadership (6), Foden is best used as a “luxury” player in a big team like Man City.

Lautaro Martinez

Undoubtedly the best young striker on FM19 is Inter Milan’s Martinez, who has the two attributes hardest to find in centre-forwards: technique (17) and determination (20).

These two stats are the key to why Martinez will score dozens of goals – if you can afford the £54million price tag.


A much cheaper option, available for a £10million buyout clause, is Brazilian striker Brenner.

He isn’t quite as gifted as Martinez but is a very similar style of player, boasting pace (15), first touch (16), and off the ball (16) attributes that make him an ideal advanced forward.

Fabio Silva

The youngest player on this list is FC Porto striker Silva, who is far from ready to play first-team football when FM19 begins.

However, the 16-year-old is guaranteed to develop into one of the world’s best players by the age of 21, so it is best to get in early and snap up the Portuguese when his value is under £250k.

By Alex Keble

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