FM 17: Top Ten Wonderkids

The best thing about the new Football Manager is the new wonderkids to find! We’ve provided the best FM17 wonderkids!

oliver stein by Oli Stein

If you’re looking for the best FM 17 young stars, otherwise known as ‘wonderkids’ for long-time players of the Football Manager series, then you’ve come to the right place. We thought we’d start you off with a comprehensive guide of FM17’s top ten overall wonderkids, before we start breaking them down by position.

What is a wonderkid, I hear you ask? Well, it’s a player that’s considered to be a promising young talent, which could become a genuine beast in the future. They have massive amounts of potential, however it doesn’t necessarily mean they will achieve it. A lot is dependent on how you manage them and coach them in these important formative years of their career, so be wise with your usage of these young talents.

Naturally, there are tonnes of wonderkids for you to find, so to narrow down our list, all of our choices are 20 years old or younger and we’ve tried to vary the list by position to provide a broad overview. We’ve also included their current ability (CA) and potential ability (PA). It’s the potential that’s most important in this case, though.

Bartlomiej Dragowski, 18, Goalkeeper, Fiorentina (£1.2m, £6.25k p/w, CA 2.5 – PA 5)


Fiorentina’s young 18-year-old ‘keeper has the potential to become a five-star player in the future and is definitely a wonderkid worth shortlisting. For a youngster, his mental attributes are pretty impressive; determination is 17, anticipation is 12 and positioning is 12. His reflexes are already a high 16 and his handling a 14. There’s lots of scope for improvement, as per with wonderkids, and he could develop into a top-class ‘keeper.

Remember, however, it takes the right guidance to really unlock Dragowski’s potential. I had him on one of my FM16 saves, though I took to him too late and had to pay over £20m. He was worth it, though, let me assure you. Fiorentina are unlikely to want to sell, even now, so be prepared for a fairly big outlay to land the youngster.

Gianluigi Donnarumma, 17, Goalkeeper, AC Milan (£7m, £4.9k p/w, CA 2.5 – PA 4.5)


The 17-year-old Italian phenomenon is already touted as the long-term successor to the great Gianluigi Buffon for the national side and he’s first-team ready as of now, even at such a tender age. At the time of writing this, no ‘keeper has kept more clean sheets (5) than Donnarumma in Europe’s top five leagues! As I said, he has potential, but he’s ready to go right now.

His reflexes (16), one-on-ones (14), handling (15) and command of area (15) are impressive. His mental attributes will develop naturally over time, but you have to take into account his age. He’s so very young, though he’s still brave (15) and determined (16). ‘Keepers never come too cheap, generally, so be prepared to pay around £30m to prise Donnarumma away from his boyhood club AC Milan.

Reece Oxford, 17, Central Defender, West Ham (£500k, £2k p/w, CA 2 – PA 5)


For a 17-year-old, Oxford isn’t actually too bad a centre-half to begin with and, at two-star current ability, is good enough to fit into a top Championship side. However, be careful with over-playing him as this can, ultimately, stifle his potential. As a centre-back, he’s best suited as a central defender, pure and simple, as his marking (15), tackling (13) and positioning (14) are all impressive.

What’s great about Oxford is that he’s also adept at playing in defensive midfield, particularly as a half back or anchor man because of his tackling ability. Don’t be fooled by his initial value, however, as it’ll cost significantly more than £500k to entice West Ham into a sale. His £2k p/w wages, however, are very affordable should you decide to make a move. Plus, Oxford is English!

Jesús Vallejo, 19, Central Defender, Real Madrid (£3m, £8.25k p/w, CA 3 – PA 5)


On loan at Eintracht Frankfurt from Real Madrid, the 19-year-old centre-half is first-team ready, in fact. This will be Vallejo’s first season as a regular starter in top-flight football, but his attributes suggest he will not struggle. His marking (15), tackling (14) and positioning (13) are all impressive for a youngster, as well as his passing (13) which makes him a solid ball-playing centre-back if that’s what your tactics dictate.

His mental attributes, however, are the most eye-catching for such a young player. His composure (17), decision-making (15), teamwork (18) and anticipation (17) are better than most centre-backs already, hence why he begins the game with a three-star star rating. Vallejo is young and adaptable enough to be retrained as a defensive midfielder, moreover. Real Madrid are very unlikely to want to sell the player, however, to be prepared to pay nearly ten times his starting value.

Amadou Diawara, 18, Defensive Midfielder, Napoli (£5.75m, £37k p/w, CA 3 – PA 5)


Amadou Diawara is already a solid defensive midfielder, even at 18-years-old, though he’s just signed for Napoli for £12.5m, so prising him away from the Italian club will be difficult. However, if you do succeed, you’d be signing a five-star potential player.

The Guinean is physically impressive: his stamina is 16, strength 15, pace 15 and balance 15, making him a fantastic natural athlete. Mentally, he’s hard working (14) and has a good standard of teamwork (16). Technically, he’s also impressive; his tackling is 15, passing 14 and marking 15. He does, however, need to improve his positioning (10), but that will come with time, naturally.

Thomas Lemar, 20, Attacking Midfielder, AS Monaco (£8.75m, £40.5k p/w, CA 3 – PA 5)


Thomas Lemar, the 20-year-old Frenchman is only a rotation option at AS Monaco, but he’s ready to step into first-teams across the globe and his status as a rotation option may make him somewhat easier to sign. Monaco are unlikely to want to sell Lemar, however, and it’s going to take around £50m to prise him away. However, it would be worth the outlay.

On FM16, Lemar turned into the best attacking midfielder in the world, scoring and assisting over 40 goals per season. It makes sense, given his impressive technical attributes: dribbling 16, first touch 15, technique 17 and passing 14. Moreover, mentally, Lemar impresses. His flair is 16, work rate 15 and determination 15. Lastly, he’s a fantastic athlete; pace 15 and agility 16. Ultimately, Lemar is well worth the effort to sign him.

Christian Pulisic, 17, Winger, Dortmund (£16m, £3.9k p/w, CA 3 – PA 5)


The 17-year-old American, Pulisic, has only recently burst onto the scene with Dortmund in the Bundesliga, but he’s already making a name himself and is valued at £16m; expect to pay massively over the odds if you’re keen on signing him. Pulisic is pretty versatile, able to play anywhere across the front attacking three or in a left or right midfield position.

He’s best suited as a right-sided winger. This is because his dribbling is 15, acceleration 16, flair 17, work rate 14 and first touch 16. It’s his talent to do the unexpected that underpins his ability to beat his marker. His crossing (11), however, could do with some work. He can also finish (12) and has good enough vision (15) to be an advanced playmaker. Not to mention, he’s still only 17.

Breel Embolo, 19, Attacking Midfielder, Schalke (£10.25m, £66k p/w, CA 3 – PA 5)


I’ve signed Breel Embolo in the past, before he moved to Schalke that is, and my oh my has he achieved greatness and then some! He was crucial to my three Premier Leagues as Tottenham on FM16 and his versatility makes him a fantastic addition; he can play as a striker, central attacking midfielder or wide inside forward. This is because he’s extremely fast (pace 17 and acceleration 14), can dribble (13), finish (13) and pass (12).

Mentally, the 19-year-old Swiss prodigy is determined (15), hard working (17), has flair (15), is brave (17) and has a good level of teamwork (15), which is particularly important for high-intensity pressing tactics. Unfortunately, as I’ve mentioned, he was picked up by Schalke this summer and will be hard to persuade into moving, though he does develop into a world-beater so the persistence would be well-rewarded in the future!

Marcus Rashford, 18, Striker, Manchester United (£32.5m, £20k p/w, CA 2.5 – PA 5)


Unfortunately for you, Marcus Rashford just burst onto the Premier League scene right before FM17 was released, massively boosting his potential, but also his current value. Hence, you’re going to have to part with the best part of £60m to steal this fantastic 19-year-old talent away from the Red Devils. Speed and natural athleticism underpin his overall game; pace 17 and acceleration 18 and agility 16.

Moreover, he can finish (14), dribble (12) and, mentally, he has flair (17), providing him with the ability to pull-off the unexpected. He’s also determined (15) and works hard (15). The great thing about Rashford, though, is that he’s so versatile; he can play up front as a lone striker, anywhere along the front attacking three as a playmaker or winger or even as a deeper winger on the right or left of midfield. Ultimately, with Rashford you’d be getting a lot of bang for your buck in terms of a versatile, young English talent.

Kelechi Iheanacho, 19, Striker, Manchester City (£22m, £50k p/w, CA 3. – PA 5)


Like Rashford, his Manchester City counterpart Kelechi Iheanacho has already started to establish himself on the Premier League scene and has recently joined an exclusive club of young strikers to score ten league goals before their 20th birthday. The 19-year-old Nigerian is fast becoming a favourite of Pep Guardiola because of his overall athleticism; pace 16, acceleration 16 and agility 15.

Technically, Iheanacho is superb for a youngster.His finishing is 15, passing 13 and technique 13, bearing in mind his potential to improve in the future with sufficient game time. Mentally, too, he impresses. His work rate is 15, determination 16, anticipation 16 and composure 14. Overall, Iheanacho has all the makings of a world-class striker, but it does mean he’s going to be hard to persuade to leave Manchester City!

How to find wonderkids

As the size of the FM database is so massive, the game only starts with a few leagues as playable, such as those in England, Spain and France. Thus, if you’re struggling to find some of these players on your database, it’s because the leagues in which they play are not set as ‘active.’ You’re going to need to go to ‘advanced set-up’ prior to starting a new career and turn some of the leagues on; either set them as ‘playable’ or ‘view-only.’

For wonderkids, good leagues to turn on are the Argentinian and Brazilian first divisions, the Dutch Eredivisie, the Italian Serie A, the German Bundesliga. You can even find a number of good young players in Turkey, North America and parts of Eastern Europe.

Related articles:

FM 17: Top Ten Wonderkids
FM 17: Best Contract Expiring Signings
FM 17: Top Ten Free Agents
FM 17: Top Ten Wonderkid Midfielders
FM 17: Top Ten Wonderkid Strikers
FM 17: Top 10 Bargain Centre Backs
FM 17: Top Ten Bargain Midfielders
FM17: Top Ten Bargain Wingers
FM 17: Top 10 Bargain Right Backs
FM 17: Top 10 Bargain Left Backs
FM 17: Top Ten Players
FM 17: Wonderkid XI
FM 17: Top 10 Best Young English Players
FM 17: Top Ten Loan Signings
FM 17: Premier League Clubs Transfer & Wage Budgets Revealed

Oli Stein

Oli graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in History and has worked with RealSport since September 2016. Currently assistant football editor and Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @steinoliver_