With so many major competitions and events postponed, the video game Football Manager 2020 will quench the sporting thirst of many. Whether you’re tackling one of the toughest FM 2020 challenges or simply taking the reins of your favourite club, you’ll undoubtedly be on the hunt for some young talent to accompany you on the road to success.
While trophies and tactical masterstrokes are the lifeblood of the game for aspiring digital coaches, little beats the feeling of snapping up a starlet and turning them into a top-level player. Watching that raw wonderkid turn into a world beater because of your tutelage is a feeling to be savoured. With that in mind, here is a look at some of the best Football Manager 2020 wonderkids, starting with goalkeepers.
You can find the next instalment of this series here, covering the best defensive wonderkids on Football Manager 2020.
When sniffing out a reliable shot-stopper, gamers should look for those scoring well in the handling, reflexes and communication categories. Compared to outfield players, goalkeepers typically hit their peak later in their career so those up to the age of 23 should be considered decent future prospects.
Andriy Lunin – Real Oviedo (on loan from Real Madrid)
Asking Price: £12m
At first glance youngster Andriy Lunin’s asking price looks steep compared to his valuation in the game but even at £12m he could be a steal.
On loan at Real Oviedo from Real Madrid in the latest update, he already looks a solid option between the sticks with handling, positioning and decision stats of 14 and reflexes of 16.
Lunin can reach a potential rating of 170 out of 200 and, given that he is clearly not first choice for Los Blancos, he should be relatively easy to lure to most top-flight outfits and wealthy second-tier outfits.
At the age of 21, players should expect to get a minimum of 12 great years out of the Ukrainian, who also has five international caps to his name, having started his club career in his homeland with Dnipro.
He is still regarded as a hot prospect and should not eat into the wage bill too much given he is currently on £6k per week in the game.
Bartlomiej Dragowski – Fiorentina
Asking Price: £24m
Bartlomiej Dragowski was a Football Manager favourite during his days at Polish club Jagiellonia Bialystok between 2014 and 2016 and he should still be considered a valuable scalp in the 2020 game.
After a season on loan at Empoli in 2018/19, he has worked his way into the Fiorentina first team and players should expect to pay at least £20m to convince the Serie A side to part ways with their young shot-stopper.
At 6′ 3″, the Pole combines great physical attributes with a reflexes score of 16. However, he may not be the best choice for managers looking to play out from the back and encourage possession football given that he scores a mediocre nine in the passing department.
Dragowski would be a good purchase for clubs lingering in mid-table obscurity in any of Europe’s big five leagues and the player himself would likely view a move to the Premier League as an upgrade from life in Florence. His wages of £23k per week are reasonable.
Altay Bayindir – Fenerbahce
Asking Price: £10m
For a well-rounded goalkeeping starlet, 21-year-old Turkish player Altay Bayindir is one of the best-value options.
He scores well when it comes to his first touch, passing, one-on-one ability and reflexes and the only area he is perhaps a touch weaker in is his communication which is rated 10 out of 20. However, that is sure to improve significantly with age.
Bayindir is a great choice for any budding manager looking to build a young squad that likes to play attacking, positive football.
He is fairly cheap when it comes to his wages – currently on an estimated £9.5k in the Super Lig – but he is considered a first-choice player and signed a new deal in 2019 on the game which may suggest why the club typically demand at least £10m.
But aside from that slight obstacle, he is a relatively experienced figure for his age and towers above his team-mates at 6′ 6″.
Aaron Ramsdale – Bournemouth
Asking Price: £20m (approximately)
The most recognisable face on this list, Aaron Ramsdale has become a Premier League regular, making 27 appearances for Bournemouth this season, but the Englishman is not too difficult to land in Football Manager.
He has been loaned out to Chesterfield and AFC Wimbledon in recent seasons but it would likely take a top-flight team to secure his services in the latest instalment of the game.
Ramsdale’s psychological strength is particularly impressive – he scores 18 out of 20 in determination – while he can also boast a decent vocal presence for his age with a communication score of 14.
Given he plays in the Premier League, his wage demands of £7k are cheap and he could be suited to players in charge of a big club who want to either sign him as a back-up goalkeeper or loan him to a side in the lower echelons of the top flight.
Wuilker Farinez – Millonarios
Asking Price: £3m
South American nations can be a goldmine for young players on Football Manager, with stars of the future often warranting smaller fees than their European counterparts.
Emphasising this sentiment is Venezuelan dynamo Wuilker Farinez. The 21-year-old scores poorly when it comes to his first touch and kicking, meaning he may represent somewhat of an erratic distributor but he is an excellent option for clubs with smaller budgets still looking to build a team for the future.
His handling (12), one-on-one (13), reflexes (16) and decisions (15) are all still good for his age and he has experience under his belt, having represented his national team 22 times.
Farinez’s wages could hinder a smaller club’s chances of confirming a deal – he is on £9.75k at Millonarios – but he is arguably the best value young goalkeeper in the game.
Looking for more FM inspiration? Take a look at our list of the best clubs to start with on Football Manager 2020.