As Santa gears up for his latest trip across the Globe, Neil Monnery spreads his own Christmas cheer by giving a heads up on some of the best wonderkids to sign on Football Manager '14.
"In Football Manager '05, there is a really good Brazilian striker called Marquinhos. He is still there but isn't very good any more, his 19 year-old namesake, though, is quality."
Football Manager '15 Articles:
Football Manager 2015 - Arsenal Guide & Tactics Tips
Football Manager 2015 - Manchester United Guide & Tactics Tips
Football Manager 2015 Wonderkids - Top Ten Wonderkids
Football Manager 2015 Tactics - Top Ten Tactics
Football Manager 2015 Editor - Top Ten Tips
Other Football Manager Articles:
The 10 Players You Must Sign On Football Manager 2009
The 10 Players You Must Sign On Football Manager 2010
Wonderkids: The 10 Best Young Players On Football Manager 2011
What we'd like to see in Football Manager 2016
FM 2016 Wonderkids - Best Young Players to sign on FM 2016
10. Stephan El Shaarawy - AC Milan - 20 - £14.5million
This list will no doubt have a few players we all know from the Champions League and a few from further afield. El Shaarawy in an attacking left-winger, but can play pretty much any position across the midfield and up front. He starts off with very high technique, agility and work rate ratings and that is a pretty good indicator that he's going to be a star.
Very tough to sign and he is content at AC Milan to start the game but put him straight on your shortlist indefinitely and wait to see what happens.
9. Yassine Benzia - Lyon - 18 - £1million
Now we are talking. Someone that most football fans haven't heard of but will be a Football Manager star. Benzia is raw but scouts will rave about him and if you are at a big club you need to get involved in him at an early stage.
He isn't a player who'll pull up trees at a top club straight away, but sign him if you can and loan him out to get first team experience and you'll reap the rewards by the time he turns 21.
8. Gabriel Barbosa - Santos - 17 - £1million
Welcome to my own personal transfer hell. I have agreed to sign Barbosa twice for Chelsea but I have no money in the kitty and the boss man won't give me any more to spend. Also an issue here is his agent owes 40% of him and keeps jacking up the price so buy him as early as possible.
He starts off the game with double digit ratings for all mental attributes and only jumping reach is in single digits physically. This guy is raw but has the talent to come in and produce straight away.
7. The Southampton Boys - James Ward-Prowse - 18 - £4million & Luke Shaw - 18 - £4million
I have the feeling being Southampton manager might be one of the best jobs on the game. Both Ward-Prowse and Shaw are known entities in the Premier League. Sometimes the real world is a pretty good indicator for Football Manager.
Ward-Prowse is an attacking midfielder, who like Barbosa, sweeps the board with double digits in mental attributes, which you always like to see in an 18 year-old player. Scouts rave and believe he'll be a fine Premier League player.
Shaw, however, is good enough to be a star, not just good, but great. The best young left-back in the game in my book and tough to sign but both he and War-Prowse can be got early if you are willing to dramatically overpay. Spending silly money on a left-back isn't the best plan but if you have the money and need a left-back, Shaw will be great for 15 seasons or so.
6. Leon Goretzka - Schalke - 18 - £2.5million
Goretzka is a player who, If I'm honest, I had never heard of before playing FM '14. However, my scouts found him midway through the first season and by then he already has double digit stats for every single attribute. At the age of 19 by then, that just screams out 'must-buy'.
He's a central midfielder by trade and is perfectly adept playing both defensive and attacking roles. Another tough one to buy but get him on that shortlist.
5. Julian Draxler - Schalke - 19 - £10million
I wrote that Southampton manager might be one of the best jobs in the game, but maybe Schalke just trumps it.
In the non-Football Manager world, Arsene Wenger is reported to be very interested in signing Julian Draxler. He'd be just what Arsenal need, another classy attacking midfielder. They don't have enough of those (seriously Arsene - buy a striker)
For the aspiring Football Manager though, you might not have Arsene's glittering array of attacking midfield talent and if you don't, then Draxler is just a star. He needs good coaching to go with raw talent, but as long as your coaching staff is elite then they can turn Draxler from a good prospect into a stud within a couple of years.
4. Paul Pogba - Juventus - 20 - £12million
We all know the Paul Pogba story: A young prospect at Manchester United who was fed up with not breaking through into the first team, kicked up a fuss and left the club for Juventus. It might be one of Sir Alex's biggest mistakes as they've needed a quality box-to-box midfielder for years.
Manchester United's loss though was Juventus' gain and in the game, they know it. Pogba is not one you can sign early unless you cheat. Stat wise as long as you don't make him take corners or long throws, he'll be an absolute star should you be able to acquire him (or of course you manage Juventus...)
3. Marquinhos - PSG - 19 - £6million
In Football Manager '05, there is a really good Brazilian striker called Marquinhos. He is still there but isn't very good any more, his 19 year-old namesake, though, is quality.
Mentally and physically he's a beast at only 19. Technically he is lacking somewhat but has high tackling and heading numbers. Like a couple of other players on this list he'll just get better and better with good coaching.
2. Maximilian Mayer - Schalke - 17 - £4million
You know when I said Schalke might just trump Southampton as one of the best jobs in the game, I really think it does now.
Mayer starts in Schalke's second team and will excel in the first season. Has all the raw skills you'd want from a silky attacking midfielder, agility, creativity, flair, passing, dribbling, technique and first touch are all 16 and above before the first season is over with.
With these raw tools then Mayer is clearly one to get if at all possible and unlike a lot of this list, you can sign him in the first season if you pay over the odds.
1. Raphaël Varane - Real Madrid - 20 - £13million
Anyone who watched the Champions League last year saw just what a beast of a defender Raphaël Varane was. He could very well be the most talented defender we've seen in a generation. His stats in the game reflect that and he is by far the best defender you can get. I would list all his positive attributes but you know exactly what they are.
He does get unhappy in his first season and Manchester City hover. So you never know, you might get lucky.
I hope this list has given you a little bit of assistance when you start playing your next game of Football Manager '14