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The best players in Football Manager 2021

best fm21 players
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Looking for the best FM21 players? There are plenty of stars to potentially sign for your club. You’ll need a billionaire owner if you want to acquire them, but they can be the difference between lurking near the top of the table and winning trophies.

It’s difficult to cover every world-class star in our FM 21 best players guide, so don’t feel aggrieved if your favourite hasn’t made the cut. Hopefully my selection has enough variety to appeal to everyone, so load up your signings shortlist and let’s take a look.

The best FM21 players you should sign

Goalkeepers

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Alisson
The first of many Liverpool inclusions. Alisson oozes class and doesn’t have any notable weaknesses in his game. His eccentricity stat might be off-putting to some, but everything else makes him a worthwhile investment if you can prise him away from Anfield.

Jan Oblak
Alisson aside, few goalkeepers are as adept as Atletico Madrid’s number one. What sets Oblak apart from his peers is his low eccentricity stat, meaning he’s unlikely to make mistakes. He isn’t as technically strong as other keepers, but if you want a goalie who will keep clean sheets, Oblak is your go-to.

Defenders

David Alaba
The world’s best left-back. A versatile player with superb physical and mental attributes, Alaba’s contract only has 12 months to run at the start of new saves. You can try to sign him on the cheap or wait six months to land him for free, but beware of other canny managers trying to pinch this class defender.

Andy Robertson
If Alaba is unavailable, Liverpool’s left-back makes an ideal second choice. Another talented crosser of the ball, Robertson will run up and down the flank all day, and his perfectionist personality will ensure he fulfils his potential more often than not. He’s also a cheaper wage option, very attainable with the right transfer offer.

Trent Alexander-Arnold
You’ll be lucky to find a defender with better crossing, passing, and vision than the Liverpool starlet. At 21-years-old, Alexander-Arnold will only improve over time. He’s also a versatile player who could possibly be re-trained as a world-class playmaker.

Aymeric Laporte
Manchester City’s centre-back has never been capped by France. Looking at his stats, it’s curious as to why. Technically gifted, mentally strong, and physically robust, not many strikers will get the best of him. City are notorious for letting him go in-game too, so snatch him up if you can.

Virgil van Dijk
Another Liverpool superstar. Van Dijk might not be as technically gifted as other centre-backs in-game, but he’s a huge physical presence who dominates his position. A towering leader with a driven personality, he’d make a brilliant mentor for your starlets, if you can wrestle him away.

Raphael Varane
Although, Varane pales in comparison to the might of van Dijk, he’s still a quality defender who has all the attributes you need to marshal your backline. He can also play right-back and, at a push, defensive midfield, so he’s versatile enough to cover for others in an injury crisis.

Midfielders

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N’Golo Kante
Nobody is better at snuffing out opposition attacks than Chelsea’s dynamic Frenchman. Spending big money on a 29-year-old is risky, but you’ll still get a few years out of Kante with his terrific natural fitness and stamina stats. You’ll do well to find another player with higher ratings in teamwork and work rate, too.

Paul Pogba
The playmaker has been in and out of Manchester United’s team recently, but Pogba is a player you’ll nonetheless want to sign. While not as mentally solid as others in his position, his physical and technical attributes make up for that. Stick him in a three-man midfield, focus your attacking moves through him, and you’ll reap the rewards.

Kevin de Bruyne
There isn’t a better all-round centre midfielder in FM21 than Manchester City’s maestro. A set-piece expert, a creator, a goalscorer, de Bruyne is terrific in the number eight and ten roles and a vastly experienced winner. What more do you want?

Casemiro
A Kante-esque player with more technical ability, Casemiro has everything you’d want in a deep lying playmaker. His mental attributes are some of the most well-rounded of any player, and his technical and physical stats mean he’ll bring silk and steel to any midfield.

Raheem Sterling
If pace and off-the-ball movement are more your thing, sign Manchester City’s flying winger. Procuring Sterling’s talents will ensure your wings are well-stocked for ten years, while his brilliant physical stats and dribbling ability make him dangerous on the counter attack.

Strikers

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Sadio Mane
The Senegalese forward is part of Liverpool’s devastating attacking trio, and his stats prove it. Rapid and agile, a quality finisher and a hard worker, Mane is someone you’ll want to acquire if other targets prove elusive.

Mohamed Salah
Salah is a physically gifted dribbler with superb vision and a goal-scoring record few can match. He’ll run rings around opposition defences with his stellar physical stats, world-class anticipation and off-the-ball movement. He has surprisingly good strength stats, too, making him able to stand up to defenders more than you’d expect.

Kylian Mbappe
I’m only going to say this once: Sign Kylian Mbappe. Your starting striker berth will be sorted for 10 to 15 years if you do. There’s nobody quicker in-game and, at 21-years-old, he’s got time to improve. His wage packet is ridiculous, but after a few years at Paris Saint-Germain, he’ll start to get bored. Ensure you’re at the front of the queue when his eyes turn elsewhere.

Lionel Messi
I had to include the legendary attacker. Yes, he’s 33 now, but Messi wants out of Barcelona, so you’d be mad not to try and sign him. His astronomical wages will price him out of many clubs, but he’s a shoo-in for any side that can match his demands. Entice Barcelona with a tidy transfer offer or wait six months to get him for free.

Bruno Fernandes
Want a younger number 10 than Messi? Shoot for Manchester United’s Portuguese playmaker. Superb technical and mental attributes make up for some of his weaker physicals, and his wages make him an affordable option if you can meet Manchester United’s asking price.

Neymar
The Brazilian forward is a must-sign if you’re flash with cash. His extortionate wages and transfer tag mean only the richest clubs can afford him, but his quality speaks for itself. There isn’t a better dribbler or technician in FM21, and he’ll score and assist plenty cutting inside from the left flank.

Harry Kane
Tottenham’s main man is FM21’s most well-rounded striker. He lacks the yard of pace most goalscorers have, but Kane’s other stats make up for it. He’s capable of playing any role in the striker’s position, so scoop him up if you have tactics that utilise different striker roles.

Erling Haaland
Last year's wonderkid is back and better in FM21. At just 19, Haaland will grow into one of the game’s best goalscorers. He has the right attributes to lead the line for any side, but you might have a job convincing Borussia Dortmund to let him go. If you do, your striker position will be secured for years to come.