Continuing our ‘wonderkid’ Football Manager 2017 series, we’ve examined and analysed the game’s best young strikers to make your job of seeking out that young potential even easier! Similar to the other wonderkid guides, we’ve included players at the age of 20 or younger.
If these players aren’t coming up on your search, make sure the league in which they play is turned on at the ‘advanced set-up’ option when you’re starting a new career. As always, we’ve included current ability (CA) and potential ability (PA), alongside their age, value and wages.
This list isn’t the be all and end all of wonderkid strikers as there are literally hundreds to browse from, however, this is a good starting point for some basic direction.
Marcus Rashford, 18, Striker, Manchester United (£32.5m, £20k p/w, CA 2.5 – PA 5)
Prising Rashford away from Manchetser United is going to be tough given his recent emergence onto the Premier League scene. He emerged as a talent just before the game was released, massively boosting his potential and current value. His most impressive attributes are his overall athleticism; pace 17, acceleration 18 and agility 16. Coupled with his high level of flair (17), he has a very speedy, tricky approach to the game. Moreover, the 19-year-old can finish (14) and dribble (12). He’s also determined (15) and works hard (15). This means that he Rahsford has versatile enough attributes to play on either wing or up front.
Kelechi Iheanacho, 19, Striker, Manchester City (£22m, £50k p/w, CA 3. – PA 5)
Manchester City’s young striker Kelechi Iheanacho is similar to Rashford in the sense that he’s only recently established himself on the Premier League scene and will be tough to steal away from his current club. Iheanacho is clinical, scoring ten Premier League goals before his 20th birthday with only 14 shots on target! He’s fast becoming one of Pep’s favourites because of his overall athleticism: pace 16, acceleration 16 and agility 15. For a 19-year-old, Iheanacho is very technical. His finishing is 15, passing 13 and technique 13. Mentally, he also impresses. His work rate is 15, determination 16, anticipation 16 and composure 14. Bearing in mind the potential to improve in the future, Iheanacho would make a fantastic signing.
Dominic Solanke, 18, Striker, Chelsea (£2.9m, £5k p/w, CA 2 – PA 5)
The 18-year-old young English prospect, Dominic Solanke, is currently languishing in the well-known depths of the Chelsea under 23s. Be the one to rescue him and give him the game time, and subsequent development, he needs. Chelsea aren’t too famous for their introduction of young talent! He’s a solid natural athlete: natural fitness 17, pace 14 and acceleration 14. His agility, however, lets him down and he may not be able to react too quickly to sudden changes in direction.
Mentally, he impresses for a youngster. He’s determined (15), focussed (15), anticipates the game well (14) and works fairly hard (12). His technical attributes, of course, need some work as his finishing and first touch, key attributes for an advanced forward, are both only 12. However, with the right training and guidance, Solanke can develop into a five-star player.
Antonio Sanabria, 20, Striker, Real Betis (£3m, £14k p/w, CA 2.5 – PA 5)
Antonio Sanabria is a young wonderkid striker that may be more easily attainable target than the others mentioned so far, since he’s playing at Real Betis, a club of small stature. However, he had only just signed this summer so it might be best to give him a season or two before making an approach. The 20-year-old Paraguayan is already a pretty established striker in terms of his attributes. He’s technically gifted; finishing is 15, first touch 17, dribbling 15 and technique 16.
Thus, he’s able to play as a poacher or a complete forward depending on your desires. Mentally, too, he’s solid, but these attributes can do with more development, which will happen naturally over time. His determination (12), off the ball movement (13), composure (12) and anticipation (13) aren’t outstanding. He’s also not overly fast (12), though he is agile (15) which underpins his skilfulness on the ball.
Gabriel Barbosa, 19, Striker, Inter (£14m, £83k p/w, CA 3 – PA 5)
Gabriel Barbosa, or ‘Gabigol’ as he’s becoming known internationally, is already a well-established name after his impressive performances for Brazil at the Rio Olympics this summer and his subsequent £23.5m move to Inter. Resultantly, he’s going to be very hard to tempt away from the Italian giants, though the 19-year-old is still a wonderkid nonetheless, dubbed the ‘next Neymar’ by the media. He’s best as a complete forward because of his finishing (15), first touch (15), passing (15) and technique (15).
Mentally, he’s determined (15), works hard (14), focussed (16) and anticipates the game well (15). Moreover, he’s pretty fast (pace and acceleration both 15), plus he’s agile (15). Barbosa has the all the potential to really develop into a world-class striker! I signed him for a Leicester City save on FM16 and he spearheaded my attack for several years, scoring at least 15 goals a season, becoming a club icon in the process and winning multiple titles!
André Silva, 20, Striker, Porto (£6.25m, £13.25k p/w, CA 3 – PA 5)
The 20-year-old Portuguese striker is already becoming a well-known name across Europe and it may take some difficulty to steal him away from Porto. Portugal is a famous hotspot for young talent and Silva is just one name of many to choose from. He’s already a solid athlete; pace 14, acceleration 14 and agility 14, which can only improve over time. Mentally, he’s ready, too. His anticipation is 17, determination 17, work rate 14, flair 14 and concentration 17. Lastly, he’s technically gifted, as you’d expect from a wonderkid. His finishing is 14, passing 13, first touch 13 and technique 14. These attributes need some improving, but Silva already has the makings to be a world-class complete forward.
Luka Jovic, 18, Striker, Benfica (£850k, £6.5k p/w, CA 2.5 – PA 5)
Luka Jovic might be easier to pry away than his striking wonderkid counterparts, as he’s valued at a very cheap £850k, though that doesn’t mean Benfica will be willing to part with such a talented prospect. And talented he is! The 18-year-old Serbian striker is best served as a poacher because of his finishing (12), first touch (14) and technique (15), which will improve as time progresses. He also reads the game well (14), moves well off the ball (14) and is focussed (15). In terms of his athleticism, his pace is 13, acceleration 13 and agility 14. It’ll take some improvement before he’s really world-class, but the potential is there, hence his five-star potential ability rating. Moreover, it’s worth mentioning that Jovic is versatile, able to play as a right or left-sided attacking midfielder.
Facundo Colidio, 16, Striker, Boca Juniors (£500k, £1.3k p/w, CA 2 – PA 5)
Whilst his attributes may not be particularly outstanding just yet, you have to remember that Facundo Calidio is only 16-years-old. He’s still in Boca’s reserve side and is yet to make his senior team debut. This means that he’s available at a fairly cheap price (£500k) and his wages are affordable (£1.3k p/w). He’ll take some patience, however, given his age. His technical attributes are well on their way to being world-class, despite his age. His finishing is 12, dribbling 12, heading 12 and first touch 11. He’s also determined (14) and has good off the ball movement (15). It’s his composure (11) and concentration (11) that needs improving. To get the best from the Argentinian striker in the future, he’ll need to learn to get his head up more and read the game. As an athlete, he’s pretty solid, too; pace 13 and acceleration 13.
Johannes Eggestein, 18, Striker, Werder Bremen (£1.3m, £8.25k p/w, CA 2.5 – PA 5)
This 18-year-old German striker is highly ambitious and is certainly a player to keep an eye on as you progress through your first season. Like the others, he has the makings of a world-class player at such a young age. In terms of technical ability, Eggestein’s finishing is 13, first touch 15 and technique 14. Mentally, his anticipation (18) is one of his strongest attributes, plus he works hard (15) and has a high level of teamwork (16), naturally making him a great team player. He’s also composed (14) and fairly determined (12). In terms of his athleticism, he’s not fast (10), though he is agile (13) and naturally fit (14).
Kasper Dolberg, 18, Striker, Ajax (£2.4m, £1.2k p/w, CA 2.5 – PA 5)
Ajax’s 18-year-old Danish prodigy is pretty versatile, as it goes, and can play as a striker or anywhere along the attacking midfield. His best position, however, is as a complete forward up front. This is because of his gifted technicality. He can finish (12), dribble (13), has a good first touch (14) and technique (14). This is an impressive level of technical ability for an 18-year-old. He’s also a good team player; work rate 15, teamwork 14 and determination 12. His composure (10) needs improving, but that will naturally occur over time. He’s also naturally fit (15), pacey (14) and agile (14), though he isn’t strong enough just yet (10). Valued at £2.4m and playing in the Eredivisie, he’s certainly a more attainable target than the likes of Rashford and Iheanacho.
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 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