With every year comes a brand new instalment of the popular Football Manager franchise, which has become a cult favourite among fans ever since its inception in 1992.
The game is particularly renowned for hyping young starlets in the game, some of whom have become pop-culture icons despite failing to make the grade in the world (take Cherno Samba, for example).
This years’ iteration is no exception, so we thought we’d take a look at the wonderkids who are making waves on Football Manager 18. Here are five of the best:
- Gianluigi Donnarumma, AC Milan
Donnarumma arguably breaks the mould in Football Manager terms, as despite being just 18 he has already emerged as a top-flight star.
The AC Milan stopper is already a full Italian international, having initially made his debut as a starry-eyed 16-year old. Physically strong and imposing, he can be snapped up at the beginning of the game for just £12.5 million and has a potential rating of 87.
We reckon this is conservative too, so it’s worth making a beeline for Donnarumma if you have the funds to buy him.
- Matthijs de Ligt, Ajax Amsterdam
In terms of potential, Ajax centre-back Matthijs de Ligt is considered to be the best young defender on Football Manager 18.
His future rating of 85 certainly reflects his pedigree and the fact that he’s already established as a first-team regular, while he also represents a snip at just £5 million.
If you need to shore-up your backline but have limited resources, we’d definitely recommend snapping up the Dutchman while you can.
- Afonso Sousa, Porto
An attacking midfielder with quick feet and an eye for goal, Porto’s Afonso Sousa is already catching the attention of Europe’s senior coaches.
At just 17, he’s been awarded a potential rating of 88, while his ability to play in a number of attacking roles should also appeal to coaches.
Not only this, but he’s also available at a price of just £1,000, making him one of the very best bargains on the latest iteration of the game.
- Kai Havertz, Bayer Leverkusen
Bayer Leverkusen remain one of the most successful teams in the Bundesliga, while they are also renowned for producing consistently excellent academy graduates.
The latest of these is Kai Havertz, who plays as a two-footed winger who can operate on either flank. Despite being just 18, he has a potential rating of 87, making him one of the most precociously talented youngsters on the game.
He can also be purchased for as little as £6.3 million, so he’s definitely a player that you should consider buying as you build your squad.
- Gabriel Jesus, Manchester City
Gabriel Jesus has performed superbly since joining Manchester City as a 19-year old, showcasing maturity beyond his years and plundering 17 goals in just 36 appearances.
This is reflected by a potential rating of 85 on Football Manager 18, and he’s undoubtedly a player to watch. Still, his performances so far mean that he does not come cheap, with a hefty starting price of £30 million required to secure his services.