Looking for the best FM22 wonderkids? If Football Manager is your thing, you dream of a team of wonderkids who will bloom as your club rises through the game to glory. In technical terms, it’s all about potential ability (PA). If they’re 20 or under before 5th July 2021 and have a PA of 150 or more when saves start on July 5, 2021, they’re classed as a wonderkid.
Often these gems are not well-hidden. It doesn’t take a scouting savant to spot that Haaland at Dortmund is a wonderkid. Some are already big stars and household names, with price tags to match. A little more under the radar is someone like Bayern’s Jamal Musiala. However, he’s also a starter in the Bundesliga, Champions League, and the German national side, locked into an über-deal and probably beyond your chosen club’s budget.
Who the best Football Manager 2022 wonderkids are is for you to decide, depending on your team and their prospects. My Liverpool side see some as a waste of time, whereas, my Championship teams would be grateful for a sniff at the kind of potential on offer. So below, and with one exception, I’m including only those who represent something of a steal.
The best FM22 wonderkids by position
Maarten Vandevoordt, 19
Genk’s shot-stopper tops everyone’s wonderkids list, but he’s still a bargain. 19 is very young for a keeper, as they tend to hit true maturity in their early 30s. That's why he’s still at Genk in the real world, but his potential in FM22 is locked in, and his future failure can only be your fault.
Luca Podlech, 16
Unlike fellow new entry, Mathias Landro, at Sao Paulo, we only have to peruse the junior levels of the Bundesliga for Schalke’s hot prospect. At 16 he’s a child, of course, but at time of writing he’s four games unbeaten, with an U16 cap for Germany, and, well, never write of the Germans and all that.
Benoît Badiashile, 20
Last call on Monaco’s up-and-coming defender who has doubled his wages in the last 12 months. He has 77 first team games under his belt, he’s a Champions League regular this season, and he’s been a fixture for France at junior level.
Wisdom Amey, 15
Bologna’s right-footed centre-back is Serie A’s youngest-ever player. He’s getting games, but got heavily beaten by Inter recently and has had a spell in the U19s, perhaps to get his confidence back. If you’re patient, then he’s ideal.
Joško Gvardiol, 19
RB Leipzig aren’t popular in the Bundesliga, so make a simulated German fan happy by stealing away Red Bull’s top-rated Croatian wonderkid. He was sold by Zagreb for €16million and he’s on 20k a week, so this isn't a cheap option.
Rainey Breinberg, 15
He’s on Feyenoord's books and his PA is 130-160, or at least that’s what FM22 tells us. It wouldn’t be the first time a wonderkid didn’t really exist, but he hasn’t played much for his new club if he does. But he doesn't have any red or yellow cards logged with the U18 Divisie 1...
Tino Livramento, 18
Tino didn’t "cross the road" as they say at Chelsea. That is to say, move from the youth team facilities to the senior squad pitches at Cobham, but they were of a mind to slap a £25million buy-back clause on his deal with Southampton. The Saints know a thing or two about youth development though and have placed him straight into the first team, boosting that all-important PA. Premier League wages are high, but despite a 25-times increase on last year, they aren’t ridiculous. Yet.
Gonçalo Esteves, 17
Gonçalo and his brother Tomás are both classed as wonderkids at Sporting Lisbon and Porto respectively. The younger brother is now eclipsing his older sibling in terms of potential, though, with a PA of 150-159.
Not the Athletico captain, but Jorge Iglesias González—aka Koke. He has played precisely zero times for his mother club, Real Valladolid. He has played once, this year, for the Spanish U17s. Someone, somewhere has seen him play, though, and thinks he could be something special. But have you crafted the youth setup to get the best out of him?
Dário Essugo, 16
Unlike Koke, Sporting Lisbon’s Essugo has the potential to go all the way to the very top. He went from the Portuguese U15s to the U19s in two years. He signed his first professional contract in March and became Sporting’s youngest ever first team debutante just four days later. His contract is terrible though—it looks like he’s on minimum wage.
Gabriël Misehouy, 15
Three words. Ajax Youth Academy.
Ilaix Moriba, 18
Moriba Kourouma Kourouma, aka Ilaix Moriba, aka the Guinean Pogba, arrived at Barca from Espanyol aged seven, and rose through the junior levels to play 14 times for the senior side after taking the step up in 2021. He's the 5th youngest ever goalscorer and seemed to be the perfect replacement for Busquets. Then he was suddenly offloaded to Leipzig at a discount €16million… I’m betting that given Barca’s financial travails, this wasn’t entirely voluntary. I’d bet the farm on him fulfilling that 170-179 PA, and that 20k a week wage will look like a bargain.
Chaka Traoré, 16
The inclusion of Vinícus Júnior and Hudson-Odoi on most wonderkids list is a bit laughable. If you can afford 120k or 184k a week wages, you don’t need to go through the potential bin to find finished articles. Especially while there’s a new 16-year-old at AC Milan with a 150-159 PA who's earning €200 a week. He’s only made three Serie A appearances, but never mind the quality, feel the width.
Bukayo Saka, 19
If you have to spend money, here’s a proven Arsenal and England regular who’s only going to get better. The summer’s trauma hasn’t ruined him, and his next deal will be worth a lot more than his current 30k a week, so this is probably the last time that you can, realistically, call him a bargain.
Harvey Elliott, 18
Liverpool’s, Elliott, who exploded onto our screens at the start of the season before succumbing to the Liverpool injury curse, had survived and thrived in the Championship, chipping in with seven goals from the wing while on loan at Blackburn. He has plenty of time to recover and fulfil his huge potential. Make that your problem, not Klopp’s.
Jayden Addai, 15
At the cheaper, doesn’t-even-have-a-Wikipedia-page-yet, but-has-suspiciously-staged-YouTube-clips end is AZ Alkmaar’s, Addai. His U17 credentials—eight goals in seven appearances, with two assists, all in just 94 minutes of playtime—speaks for itself. They pay him just €100 a week by the looks of it. Give the man a raise.
Yusuf Demir, 18
Barcelona is a fun house right now. They’re getting in 18-year-old loanees from Rapid Vienna and handing them the number 11 jersey, as worn by the likes of Rivaldo, Neymar Júnior, and Overmars. They’re promising to cough up €10million in the summer for Yusuf Demir, and that’s a bargain for a player with his potential. They’re also very conveniently paying the two-footed midfielder peanuts right now, so he’ll be open to offers.
Luka Romero, 16
Spanish-Mexican-Argentine, Romero, scored 230 goals in 108 matches at junior level for Mallorca. He became the youngest player ever to play in La Liga, and was then transferred to Lazio, where he inexplicably earns a pittance to warm the bench at the Stadio Olympico. His potential is beyond doubt and whether he makes it in the real world or not, I think he’s worth the in-game gamble.
Youssoufa Moukoko, 16
Haaland’s teammate at Dortmund, by way of leftfield pranksters St Pauli, is the archetypal wonderkid. The Champions League's youngest player and youngest goalscorer in Bundesliga history, his ascension to first-choice starter and inevitable godhood is just a matter of time. Critically, his deal is still that of a child. The wages are so small it can only be a typo. He should be your first purchase.
Hollman McCormick, 15
Roll the dice on this new entry. Bogotá-born-and-bred, McCormick, has been playing for the senior side at top-flight Independiente Santa Fe since he was 14. This year he’s been playing in the Copa Libertadores, aged just 15. I want to see him play, don’t you?