FIFA 18 Career Mode: Best young central midfielders (CM) to sign

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Central midfield is the most important area of the pitch. It's where matches can be won and lost, a battle for dominance of the pitch. It’s no different on FIFA 18, so in Career Mode it's vital you have a strong core in your squad. Instead of going for players at their peak, it's so much more financially viable to bring someone in who is still a few years from the top of their game. Look for players who are young, hungry and going to improve.

READ: FIFA 19: Best young central midfielders (CM) to sign

How to choose the best young player on FIFA 18’s Career Mode

We are looking at the best central midfielders (CM) on FIFA 18 Career Mode. These are players who are all rated above 75 with a potential of at least 82, and aged 23 and under.

Players can outgrow their potential on Career Mode, but they need to be playing and performing well consistently. These promising, high potential players don't come cheap, so you may need to sacrifice going for fully fledged players at their peak for the next batch of talent. Our top 10 has been compiled by looking at player stats, potential and age.

For a complete list of all the best young central midfielders (CM) look at the bottom of this page.

Naby Keita (OVR 83 – POT 88)

Age: 22

Positions: CM, CDM, CAM

Club: RB Leipzig

Country: Guinea

Work rate: High/Medium

Best stats: 90 dribbling, 90 balance, 90 agility

Cost: £53.1 million (release clause)

Wage: £60,000

RB Leipzig man Naby Keita will be on his way to Anfield next summer, and what a player Liverpool will be getting. The central, defensive or attacking midfielder chalked up 31 appearances as Leipzig finished second in their first ever Bundesliga campaign, with Keita grabbing eight goals and seven assists. He should be the midfield protector when he joins Liverpool, but judging by his goal and assist return, as well as his high attacking work-rate, he may be more useful going forward than in defence.

The 22-year-old has a strong 83 overall rating with a superb potential of 88. Although he is to join Liverpool, you can still snap him up on Career Mode, and he can be yours for a fair price of £53.1 million. His best skills are his dribbling, balance, and agility which are all 90-rated, with his wages costing £60,000 a week.

Saul Niguez (OVR 82 – POT 90)

Age: 22

Positions: CM, RM

Club: Atletico Madrid

Country: Spain

Work rate: Medium/High

Best stats: 85 short passing, 84 ball control, 83 heading accuracy

Cost: £63.4 million (release clause)

Wage: £52,000

One of the most complete midfielders in world football, Saul Niguez has played in several roles for Atletico Madrid. On FIFA 18 he can play as a central or right midfielder, but Diego Simeone has also used him as a defensive or attacking midfielder, showing his versatility.

Aged just 22, Saul has already amassed over 130 appearances for Atletico and it's only a matter of time before the midfielder makes the transition to the Spanish national team. Saul can be yours for a hefty £63.4 million, with a more reasonable £52,000 a week wages. For that cost you will receive a man with 85 short passing, 84 ball control and 83 heading accuracy.

Corentin Tolisso (OVR 82 – POT 89)

Age: 22

Positions: CM, CDM

Club: Bayern Munich

Country: France

Work rate: High/Medium

Best stats: 89 jumping, 86 stamina, 85 short passing

Cost: £49.7 million (release clause)

Wage: £86,000

A lot of football fans will still be unaware of new Bayern Munich man Corentin Tolisso, but the Frenchman tore up Ligue 1 with Lyon last season. The central or defensive midfielder ran their midfield, making 47 appearances, 14 goals and 12 assists across all competitions. He can now take that next step with Bayern and maximise his potential, with a regular spot for France next on his agenda.

You will have to wait until at least January to sign Tolisso where he can be yours for just shy of £50 million. His £86,000 a week wages are acceptable for a player of his ability and potential, especially considering his 89-rated jumping, 86 stamina and 85 short passing.

Andre Gomes (OVR 82 – POT 88)

Age: 23

Positions: CM, LW, CAM

Club: Barcelona

Country: Portugal

Work rate: Medium/Medium

Best stats: 85 strength, 84 short passing, 83 vision

Cost: £59.4 million (release clause)

Wage: £132,000

With Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic in the squad, minutes have been difficult to come by for Adrien Silva, but expect him to develop rapidly over the next 24 months. With Iniesta likely to depart the club this summer or at least play a smaller role, the path is there for Gomes to claim some of the spotlight and showcase his ability. The 23-year-old has featured in a number of positions under coach Ernesto Valverde, including centre midfield, left wing and attacking midfield. 

An 82 overall may cause you to hesitate, but his 88 potential makes him worth a punt. It’s a relatively heavy ‘punt’ with a £59.4 million release clause so you might want to consider other options first. His stats of 85 strength, 84 short passing and 83 vision are impressive, but don’t make him a must-buy. 

Leon Goretzka (OVR 82 – POT 88)

Age: 22

Positions: CM, CAM, CDM

Club: Schalke

Country: Germany

Work rate: High/High

Best stats: 86 stamina, 85 sprint speed, 84 aggression

Cost: £50.2 million (release clause)

Wage: £40,000

A slightly more outside choice is Schalke’s Leon Goretzka. The central, attacking or defensive midfielder is just 22 but already has over 100 appearances for his club, and has impressed for the German national team. After captaining Germany at the 2016 Olympics, Goretzka went with a young side to the Confederations Cup last summer. The Schalke man notched three goals in the tournament as they won the trophy, fairly perfect prep for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

A price of just over £50 million may be steep for someone you may not have heard of, but for an 88 potential you can’t complain. His £40,000 a week wages are reasonable for someone with an 82 overall rating, especially with his 86 stamina raring, 85 sprint speed and 84 aggression.  

Morgan Sanson (OVR 81 – POT 87)

Age: 22

Positions: CM, CDM

Club: Olympique Marseille

Country: France

Work rate: Medium/Medium

Best stats: 83 short passing, 83 agility, 82 long passing

Cost: £44.4 million (release clause)

Wage: £30,000

There are some hidden talents in Ligue 1, and Morgan Sanson could be the man to spur Marseille on after an impressive first season at the Stade Velodrome. In just half a campaign, the 22-year-old Sanson chalked up seven assists, adding to the seven he notched for Montpellier in the first half of the season. The World Cup in Russia perhaps comes a little too soon for the Frenchman, but expect him to be heavily involved during the next World Cup cycle.

Once again £44.4 million is a slightly heavy price for someone who is still unproven at the highest level, but if you have confidence in your own ability as a manager, he will be worth the move. His £30,000 a week wages are of no concern, with his 81 overall rating and 87 potential. His best stats of 83 short passing, 83 agility and 82 long passing just need that tiny bit of improvement.

Adrien Rabiot (OVR 81 – POT 86)

Age: 22

Positions: CM

Club: Paris Saint-Germain

Country: France

Work rate: High/Medium

Best stats: 84 short passing, 82 ball control, 81 long passing

Cost: £39.8 million (release clause)

Wage: £68,000

About a year ago it looked likely that Adrien Rabiot would be on his way out of PSG, but with Blaise Matuidi leaving in the summer, the 22-year-old has his opportunity to step up. The central midfielder already has 10 appearances for the season so far, playing in a midfield three with Marco Verratti and Thiago Motta.

The central midfielder likes to arrive late in the box, as shown by his attacking work rate, and he is useful on the ball as his 84 short passing, 82 ball control and 81 long passing shows. £39.8 million Rabiot in the real life market would be snapped up, and you should too with his £68,000 a week wages in the reasonable bracket. 81 overall and 86 potential means he will break into footballs top tier, but perhaps the player deserves a slightly higher rating on both accounts.

Youri Tielemans (OVR 80 – POT 90)

Age: 20

Positions: CM, CAM

Club: AS Monaco

Country: Belgium

Work rate: Medium/Medium

Best stats: 88 shot power, 88 long shots, 84 curve

Cost: £43.3 million (release clause)

Wage: £30,000

Perhaps the hottest midfield prospect out there is Monaco's new signing Youri Tielemans. The 20-year-old had been turning heads at Anderlecht for four years, making his debut aged just 16. A revamped Monaco side is the perfect platform for the Belgian international, and playing on Europe’s biggest stage can only aid his development.

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An 80 overall rating with a 90 potential is a fair assessment for the talented central or attacking midfielder, making his £43.3 million release clause a near bargain. You won’t be able to steal him until at least January after his summer move to Monaco. £30,000 a week wages is a bargain for a man with 88 shot power, 88 long shots and 84 curve.

Denis Suarez (OVR 80 – POT 87)

Age: 23

Positions: CM, LM, RM

Club: Barcelona

Country: Spain

Work rate: Medium/Medium

Best stats: 85 ball control, 84 dribbling, 84 short passing

Cost: £40.6 million (release clause)

Wage: £123,000

Another Barca man who hasn’t had a fair crack of the whip, but once again things could be about to change for Denis Suarez. Ousmane Dembele’s injury has meant Ernesto Valverde has switched to a 4-4-2, opening up opportunities on the flank for the 23-year-old. He is a central midfielder but can also play on the left and right where opportunities are more likely.

An 80 overall with an 87 potential makes him worth splashing the cash for a mid-table club, with the Spaniard costing £40.6 million, but his wages of £123,000 a week are a bit of game changer. However, making him a ‘crucial’ player in negotiations could bring that wage come down. His best stats of 85 ball control, 84 dribbling and 84 short passing make him a fantastic architect for your side.

Piotr Zielinski (OVR 80 – POT 87)

Age: 23

Positions: CM

Club: Napoli

Country: Poland

Work rate: Medium/Medium

Best stats: 84 dribbling, 84 ball control, 83 sprint speed

Cost: £34.3 million (release clause)

Wage: £57,000

Napoli’s midfield is run by Marek Hamsik, but in the 23-year-old Piotr Zielinski they have a man who can take over the mantle. The Polish international took to the field 47 times during his first season in Naples last year, following a £14 million move from fellow Serie A side Empoli. With Napoli currently atop of the table, could this be Zielinski year to announce himself to the world?

His 84 dribbling, 84 ball control and 83 sprint are promising attributes, and given his high potential his £34.3 million is an absolute steal. His £57,000 week wages are a fair assessment of his skills, and his 80 overall and 87 potential make him one to watch this season. 

More star young central midfielders

Name Age Pos . Club Country OVR POT
Sergej Milinkovic-Savic22CM CAMLazioSerbia8086
Nabil Bentaleb22CM CDMSchalkeAlgeria8085
Emre Can23CM CDMLiverpoolGermany8085
Mahmoud Dahoud21CM CDMB. DortmundGermany7987
Wylan Cyprien22CM CDMNiceFrance7987
Marco Benassi22CMFiorentinaItaly7986
Oliver Torres22CMPortoSpain7985
Max Arnold23CM CAM CDMWolfsburgGermany7984
Leandro Paredes23CM CDMZenitArgentina7984
Dani Ceballos20CM LM CDM CAMReal MadridSpain7888
James Ward-Prowse22CM RM CAMSouthamptonEngland7886
Vincent Koziello21CM CDMNiceFrance7885
Roberto Gagliardini23CM CDMInter Milan*Italy7885
Tonny Vilhena22CM CAMFeyenoordNetherlands7884
Valentin Rongier22CM CDMNantesFrance7884
Sergi Darder23CMEspanyol*Spain7884
Franck Kessie20CM CDMAC Milan*Ivory Coast7787
Lorenzo Pellegrini21CMRomaItaly7785
Mario Lemina23CM CDMSouthamptonGabon7783
Renato Sanches19CMSwanseaPortugal7686
Carlos Soler21CM CAM RMValenciaSpain7685
Jakub Jankto21CM LMUdineseCzech Rep.7685
Mario Pasalic22CM CDMSpartak Moscow*Croatia7685
Donny van de Beek20CM CDMAjaxNetherlands7684
Lucas Torreira21CMSampdoriaUruguay7684
Erick Gutierrez22CMPachucaMexico7684

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Who are you going to sign on Career Mode? Let us know in the comments section below.