Wonderkids have been part and parcel of the Football Manager experience from day one and players are constantly on the hunt for the best of the best. It's a tough, time-consuming job to scout out the best talent, but don't worry, fear not, as RealSport have done the scouting for you. Using Arsenal’s extensive scouting team, we've assembled a list of the top 10 best young center backs available in FM17.
We have used the large database with all leagues selected and we have limited our scouting to players that are 19 years and younger. When using this list to purchase your next wonderkid CB you must keep in mind that their current ability must be seen as secondary to their potential ability and these are all players for the future that should be loaned out for a few seasons if you are managing one of the bigger clubs.
JAIRO RIEDEWALD, 19, CB/DM/CM/LB, AJAX (£3.6M, £5K P/W, CA 3 - PA 5)
We start our list with the most promising of our wonderkids, 19-year-old, Dutch born, Jairo Riedewald. He is playing for one of the most prolific youth programs in Europe, Ajax Amsterdam, and his base attributes of positioning (14), marking (13) and tackling (13) compare favourably with most central defenders currently playing in the Sky Bet Championship. He is a ball-playing defender in the same mould as John Stones, but with a smaller price tag and better potential ability (five-star). His vision (15), technique (13) passing (13) and composure (13) combine to make him perfect for any team that are looking to employ the ‘Total football’ philosophy and his development, aided by his strong determination (13) ability, means he will slot into any Premier League back four within three to four seasons. He's already more competent than Rob Holding.
REECE OXFORD, 17, CB/DM, WEST HAM (£525K, £2K P/W, CA 3 - PA 5)
The 17-year-old Englishman burst onto the Premier League scene at the start of the 2015/16 season when he played in West Ham's victory over Arsenal. He's the best homegrown centre-back prospect with exceptional base attributes, including positioning (14), marking (15) and tackling (13). His development has stalled at his parent club and I would personally buy him and immediately loan him out to a Championship team like Fulham where he can be further developed as a first team player in one of the strongest defensive teams in the league. His composure (11), anticipation (12) and vision (11) are strong baseline stats for a central defender that mostly stays deep and defends through balls, whilst playing in a high pressing defence.
ISSA DIOP, 19 CB, TOULOUSE (£1.2M, £5.25K P/W, CA 3 -PA 4.5)
The 19-year-old Frenchman has decent base attributes of positioning (12), marking (12) and tackling (15). He is a big, physical player and with strong tackling (15), combined with his strength (16), balance (15), bravery (12) and aggression (14). Therefore, Diop can be used as an old school, big, hard tackling centre back in a similar vein to the great Tony Adams. He's best suited in defensively minded teams like Stoke or West Brom.
HIDDE TER AVEST, 19, CB/DM/Rb/RM, FC TWENTE (£700K, £2.1K P/W, CA 3 - PA 4.5)
MALANG SARR, 17, CB/LB, OGC NICE (£750k, £1.5K P/W, CA 3.5 - PA 4.5)
The 17-year-old hot prospect from France has enough determination (17), work rate (14) and potential ability (4.5) to greatly increase his base attributes of positioning (11), marking (12) and tackling (13). He marks the opposition forwards tightly and his agility (12), anticipation (12) and pace (14) allow him to quickly recover should his assigned opposition player slip from his man marking. Given his crossing (12) and passing (11) he can also be used in build up play from the back. He is perfectly suited for a high pressing defence such as Man City or Tottenham.
MARTIN OVE ROSETH, 18, CB/LB/RB, MOLDE (£10.5K, £575 P/W, CA 2.5 - PA 4)
The 18-year-old Norwegian is the cheapest and best value-for-money wonderkid on this list. His price is linked not to his ability, but the league he plays in and he is a must buy for any cash strapped team looking for a wonderkid that can lead their defence in the future. His base attributes of positioning (12), marking (12) and tackling (12) compare favourably with other players on our list and his determination (18) is his best attribute, especially important for his development. His anticipation (13), bravery (12) and technique (11) allow him to break up even the most determined build up play by the opposition and he will be an excellent purchase for deep lying defences such as Middlesbrough.
JORGE, 19, CB, TENERIFE (£650K, £2.6K P/W, CA 2 - PA 4)
The 19-year-old Spaniard has base attributes of positioning (12), marking (13) and tackling (13) that rival most first choice Sky Bet championship center backs. Combined with his teamwork (14), aggression (11), bravery (12) and strength (13) he will become a hard hitting centre back that is not afraid to put his body on the line for his team. A solid CB that will evolve into one of the great of the game he will pair well with a CB that plays a more forward role and I would use him alongside John Stones for Man City when his potential ability (4) is achieved.
JOE GOMEZ, 19, CB/RB/LB, LIVERPOOL (£7M, £15K P/W, CA 2 - PA 4)
JERRY ST. JUSTE, 19, CB/DM/RB, SC HEERENVEEN (£600K, £2.4K P/W, CA 2.5 - PA 3.5)
Another Dutch youngster the 19-year-old is proficient in six different positions, but best suited for CB as is evident in his base attributes of positioning (11), marking (12) and tackling (11). HIs determination (16) and work rate (14) combines well to hasten his development and he could reach his potential ability (3.5) within three to four seasons. This makes him a perfect acquisition for clubs with an aging squad like Watford. His anticipation (13), bravery (15) and agility (15) will allow him to quickly and incisively shut down opposition attacks.