Football Manager 2021 is now in its ‘early access’ period prior to launch, so folks who pre-ordered the game are already busy poring over rosters, reviewing tactics, and chucking water bottles across the dressing room using the new gesture system. This year as ever, a key part of any manager’s decision-making will be betting heavily on young talent who can strengthen their club over the long term, and one esports bookmaker has some tips based on the last few years of data.
If you’re looking for wonderkids – and you should be, if you want to succeed – esports bookmaker Unikrn has crunched the numbers on the past five years’ editions of Football Manager and come up with the attributes of the youngsters most likely to turn into club-leading talent. Unikrn looked at the 50 best players with “the highest potential” in each year’s edition of the football game. The results showed that the best bets are on German players who are 19 years old and playing in the Premier League.
That’s not a huge pool of players to scout and recruit, of course, but you can of course widen your net. Of the 250 highest-potential players, 54 were in the Premier League, but 52 were playing in the German Bundesliga, while there were 43 each in Spain’s La Liga and the Italian Serie A. Unikrn recommends keeping an eye on those leagues as well.
North America, perhaps unsurprisingly, is nowhere to be found among the top-performing leagues. Brazil’s Campeonato Brasiliero had five wonderkids and the Argentine Primera Division had four, so if you’re intent on searching for promising youth talent on the west side of the Atlantic, you’re better off looking in South America, according to Unikrn’s data.
Naturally, promising youth players tend to get signed quickly, so you’ll want to keep an eye on clubs that are good at spotting wonderkids. Unikrn found that the clubs with the highest number of high-potential players were Barcelona and Real Madrid, which both saw 15 wonderkids over the five-year period.
Germany saw the highest number of wonderkids with 35, followed by France with 33. Italy and Spain both had 28, and England is fifth with 27. You can see who we picked for promising wonderkids in FM20 and FM19, if you’d like to compare results.
The Football Manager 2021 release date is coming up in just a couple weeks, so now’s the time to start planning for your first season.