The search for fresh youngsters continues in Football Manager 2013. Every Football Manager player understands that finding great players at an early age is vitally important. While the search continues, we decided to try something: we simulated five seasons worth of play in Football Manager 2013, while keeping an eye on our Football Manager 2012 Wonderkids selection, to see how they fared in this brave new world. The results were fascinating.
Luis Guilherme: Botafogo (Goalkeeper)
FM13 Prediction: Found first-team opportunities difficult behind experienced goalkeeper Jefferson. Guilherme was loaned out to several South American clubs including Columbian team América de Cali and Brazilian outfit Santa Cruz. In 2016, at the age of 24, he was sold to Sarajevo where he made 28 appearances in his impressive first season, keeping 15 clean sheets. At the end of the simulation Guilherme was settled in Bosnia and looking forward to getting his career back on track.
Alex Sandro: Porto (Left Back)
FM13 Prediction: Alex Sandro remained loyal to Porto throughout the length of the simulation and was rewarded with a bucket load of trophies and awards. He helped Porto win the Primeira Liga 3 times as well as the Taça de Portugal and Taça da Liga. His average rating for the five seasons of the simulation was over 7.30, which underlines his talent. At international level, he went on to make 27 appearances for the Brazilian national team and named in the Brazilian Team of the Year twice.
Kurt Zouma: St Etienne (Centre Back)
FM13 Prediction: Establishes himself as a regular starter for Saint Etienne over the first three seasons, and helps the French U19s win the U19 European Championship in 2013. In the two seasons after that, Zouma becomes a key player for Saint Etienne and his performances ensure that Saint Etienne’s sixth place finish in Ligue 1 in 2016/17 sees them attain the second best defensive record in the league. He wins two caps for France and while valued at £7.25 million, is on the radars of the biggest clubs in Europe.
Kyriakos Papadopoulos: Schalke 04 (Centre Back)
FM13 Prediction: A key player for Schalke, he stabilises the ship after they struggle for goals. At the end of the 2014/15 season he is sold to Liverpool for £9.75 million and looks set to form a defensive partnership with Daniel Agger. Papadopoulos’ stint at Anfield lasted just one season before he was snapped up by Manchester City for the princely sum of £17.25 million. At Liverpool he made 42 starts in all competitions and earned an average rating of 6.98 to suitably impress. Unfortunately he has joined City during a period of transition as they have gone from consistent league champions to mere title challengers. He is currently played in a rotation system alongside Kompany and Shawcross.
Sime Vrsaljko: Dinamo Zagreb (Right Back)
FM13 Prediction: Wins two league titles with Dinamo Zagreb making it five on the trot for the club and is part of the 2012 Croatian Cup winning side. In the summer of 2014 he joins big spending Russian Premier League side, Anzhi Makhachkala for £5.25 million. His side wins the Russian Cup in his first season and his stock soars with his market value exceeding £15 million at the end of the 2014/15 season. Vrsaljko stays with his club for the next two seasons and racks up 21 caps for his country.
Eden Hazard: Chelsea (Left Midfield)
FM13 Prediction: Hazard stayed at Chelsea for the duration of the simulation where his value rose to £37.5 million. He was reaching his peak at the end of the simulation when, aged 26, he was the stand-out performer as Chelsea won the Premier League. His only taste of silverware with Chelsea before this was the FA Cup triumph at the end of the 2012/13 season. He is also Belgium’s best player and makes 83 appearances, scoring 26 goals for his country. The most impressive aspect of Hazard’s career is the amount of individual honours that he’s won. A selection of these are: World Player of the Year in 2015, English Footballer of the Year on two occasions, English Players’ Player of the Year, English Young Player of the Year and European Golden Boy. He was also runner-up for the Balon d’Or and Best Player in Europe awards. As the simulation ended, Hazard was the favourite for the latter.
Mateo Kovacic: Dinamo (Centre Midfield)
FM13 Prediction: Kovacic remained with Dinamo until March 2014. With Dinamo he won the Prva Liga in the 2012/13 season before Dynamo Kyiv make a £7 million offer for his services. Although he doesn’t win any silverware with Kyiv, he does put in some very impressive performances and earns a 7.00 average rating during his one season there. He soon attracts the interest of some of Europe’s biggest clubs including Manchester United who bring the Croatian to Old Trafford in a £12.75 million deal. He fits nicely into United’s system, helping them to European Super Cup glory in August 2015 before adding victory in the Club World Cup to that in December. In a midfield that contains Jack Wilshere, Gaston Ramirez and Aaron Ramsey it was always likely that Kovacic would be rotated and despite only making 24 appearances for the Red Devils, the signs are good that he will become an important player for the club.
Andrea Bertolacci: Genoa (Centre Midfield)
FM13 Prediction: Bertolacci spent two seasons at Genoa, making 53 appearances that guided Genoa to respectable mid-table finishes. He became a fan favourite and was voted Supporter’s Player of the Year for the 2013/14 season. He moved back to Roma for the 2014/15 season and put in some very good performances despite the club underperforming. It is for that reason that he refused to sign a new contract, alerting Juventus to his availability. Bertolacci signed for The Old Lady in the summer of 2015 and went on to establish himself in the first-team. 2016 was Bertolacci’s most successful year, winning Serie A and the Italian Super Coppa with Juventus as well as scoring 2 goals in 2 appearances as Italy won the 2016 European Championship.
Raheem Sterling: Liverpool (Right Midfield)
FM13 Prediction: Sterling makes 20 appearances in the 2012/13 season including appearances in every one of Liverpool’s Capital One Cup matches as they go on to win the competition. He finds less first-team opportunities in the second season and is loaned out to West Ham in for the duration of the 2014/15 season where he plays 22 times. On his return to Liverpool, he seemed to have suitably impressed and finally gets regular Premier League football at Anfield. He makes 44 appearances as Liverpool win their first league title since 1990 but behind the scenes, Sterling is not happy with life at Liverpool and makes the shock decision to join Stoke on a free transfer. He makes 17 appearances in an injury-hit season but earns a decent 6.76 average rating. At international level, Sterling has got 2 caps for England and is regarded as one of the team’s brightest prospects.
Mbaye Niang: AC Milan (Striker)
FM13 Prediction: Niang was loaned out for the first two seasons of the simulation, firstly to Novara in Serie B and then back to his native France with Lorient. He was given regular first-team football at both clubs and played fairly well with a 6.60 average rating over the two seasons away from the San Siro. On his return to Italy, Milan judged him to be ready to step up to the first-team and he had made 51 appearances with a return of 11 goals by the end of the simulation. Unfortunately for Niang, by the end of the 2016/17 season, he had failed to impress against the likes of Pato, Destro and Pazzini and was dumped in the reserves. As the 2017/18 season loomed, it seemed as though Niang would be loaned out once again.
Carlos Fierro: Chivas (Striker)
FM13 Prediction: Fierro’s goalscoring record at Chivas throughout the simulation is very impressive, with his best tally being the 21 goals in 28 games that he achieved in 2015/16. That season also saw him earn a 7.32 average rating on his way to collecting the Young Player of the Season and Attacker of the Season awards, aged just 21. CSKA Moscow snap up the youngster for £8.25 million in July 2016 and any fears about how he would settle in Europe are allayed in his debut season. He scores 25 goals in 35 appearances and is awarded 6 Player of the Match awards. A promising career looks certain to be ahead of him as the simulation ends.