There are very few truly elite defensive midfielders in world football, but there are plenty of younger and emerging talents who have taken to the position.
Now, in FIFA 22, you can get in on the ground floor of this increasingly relied-upon position by signing one of the best high potential CDMs, but you don’t always need to pay out huge sums to get a top talent. These are those cheap high potential defensive midfielders to sign in Career Mode.
Choosing FIFA 22 Career Mode’s best cheap defensive midfielders (CDM) with high potential
You can find highly-rated young defensive midfielders playing all over the world, with the likes of David Ayala, Romeo Lavia, and Javi Serrano representing the upper-echelons of the class.
For any player with CDM listed as their best position, to get onto this list of the best cheap defensive midfielders, they also had to have a maximum value of around £5 million, as well as a potential rating of at least 81.
At the base of the page, you can see the full list of all of the best cheap defensive midfielders (CDM) with high potential ratings in FIFA 22.
Romeo Lavia (62 OVR – 85 POT)
Team: Manchester City
Value: £1 million
Best Attributes: 68 Slide Tackle, 66 Aggression, 66 Stand Tackle
Coming into FIFA 22’s Career Mode with a potential rating of 85, but a value of just £1 million, Romeo Lavia ranks as the best cheap high potential CDM to sign.
While the Belgian’s 62 overall doesn’t look very usable from the get-go, Lavia’s high ratings in key attributes for the position clearly lay the foundations of a player who’s better than their OVR. His 68 sliding tackle, 66 standing tackle, 64 reactions, and 66 aggression will make him a sound protector of the defence.
This season, Lavia made his Manchester City debut, playing the full 90 minutes in the EFL Cup win against Wycombe Wanderers. The Brussel-born midfielder may only be 17-years-old, but he’s already a staple of City’s under-23s side.
David Ayala (68 OVR – 84 POT)
Team: Club Estudiantes de la Plata
Value: £2.6 million
Best Attributes: 84 Balance, 76 Agility, 75 Acceleration
David Ayala already boasts several very user-friendly ratings for a CDM, but as his overall rating is 68, the Argentine manages to come in under the radar with a £2.6 million valuation.
Of course, the key aspect that lands Ayala among the best cheap defensive midfielders with high potential is his 84 potential. If you bag the bargain CDM, you’ll already be able to make use of his 76 agility, 72 stamina, 74 short pass, and 75 acceleration.
During the 2020/21 campaign, the Berazategui-native played 11 times for Estudiantes in the Copa de la Liga, and has earned a regular placement in the team’s Liga Profesional squad this season.
Alan Varela (69 OVR – 83 POT)
Team: Boca Juniors
Value: £2.7 million
Best Attributes: 77 Stamina, 76 Short Pass, 75 Ball Control
Boca Juniors’ 20-year-old midfielder Alan Varela stands as one of the best high potential players to sign cheaply in Career Mode, with his 69 overall being able to grow in an 83 potential rating.
The CDM is valued at a mere £2.7 million, and yet, Varela already totes plenty of lofty attribute ratings. His 71 acceleration, 71 long pass, 76 short pass, and 77 stamina make the Argentine great in possession.
Last season, Varela became a regular feature for Boca Juniors in Copa de la Liga and Copa Libertadores, playing in 18 matches. This season, he’s being given plenty of minutes to refine his ability in Liga Profesional.
Lucas Gourna (70 OVR – 83 POT)
Team: AS Saint-Étienne
Value: £2.9 million
Best Attributes: 75 Stamina, 72 Short Pass, 70 Ball Control
Lucas Gourna-Douath, just called ‘Lucas Gourna’ in FIFA 22, is already a 70-overall player, but his £2.9 million valuation and 83 potential lands him in the upper tiers of the best cheap high potential CDMs to sign in Career Mode.
The French wonderkid is already a trusty defensive midfielder, with his 75 stamina, 67 interceptions, and 69 vision allowing him to work well without the ball. Then, you can utilise his 70 standing tackle to retrieve and his 72 short pass to keep possession.
Last season, as a 17-year-old, Gourna-Douath burst into the first-team ranks of the team that forged Blaise Matuidi into one of the best defensive midfielders in the world: Saint-Étienne. He played 30 games in 2020/21 and was being given some starts to kick-off this campaign.
Amadou Onana (68 OVR – 83 POT)
Team: LOSC Lille
Value: £2.3 million
Best Attributes: 79 Strength, 74 Sprint Speed, 71 Slide Tackle
As if having a 6’5’’ defensive midfielder who’s also strong and mobile wasn’t appealing enough, Amadou Onana also becomes a top target for Career Mode managers as he’s one of the best cheap high potential CDMs in FIFA 22.
The 19-year-old boasts an 83 potential rating, and despite his size, already has several FIFA-friendly attribute ratings. Onana’s best aspects are his 79 strength, 74 sprint speed, 71 slide tackle, and 68 acceleration.
Born in the capital city of Senegal, Dakar, Onana has already earned several caps from the under-17s up to under-21s sides for Belgium, now wearing the captain’s armband for the upper youth team. Over the summer, he became one of LOSC Lille’s newest arrivals, joining from Hamburger SV for just over £6 million.
Alhassan Yusuf (70 OVR – 83 POT)
Team: Royal Antwerp FC
Value: £3.2 million
Best Attributes: 91 Stamina, 89 Agility, 84 Acceleration
Joining the stacked ’83 POT Club’ with Varela, Gourna, and Onana, Alhassan Yusuf does distinguish himself from his peers in FIFA 22 because of his incredible physical ratings.
Yusuf’s 91 stamina, 89 agility, 84 acceleration, and 80 sprint speed make him far more valuable than his £3.2 million value or 70 overall rating would suggest. Better still, and despite the hefty sliding of his best ratings, the Nigerian also has 71 short passing, 71 interceptions, and 74 composure.
After playing 77 games for IFK Göteborg in Sweden’s top-flight, the Allsvenskan, the Kano-born midfielder was signed for £900,000 by Jupiler Pro League side Royal Antwerp. In the early parts of the season, Yusuf was given a starting role in several matches.
Javi Serrano (64 OVR – 82 POT)
Team: Atlético Madrid
Value: £1.2 million
Best Attributes: 78 Balance, 74 Acceleration, 71 Aggression
FIFA players love to explore the Spanish ranks to see if they have another batch of excellent midfielders on the way through. While Javi Serrano’s 82 potential rating will hinder him from joining the elite class in FIFA 22, his £1.2 million value does make him one of the best cheap high potential defensive midfielders to sign.
With a 5’9’’ frame and 64 overall rating, Serrano doesn’t look to be a top choice for a future starting XI player, but he does already have some serviceable ratings. The Spaniard’s 78 balance, 71 aggression, 74 acceleration, 68 sprint speed, and 68 long pass all indicate a player who’s more valuable than their overall suggests.
A local lad to Atlético Madrid, Serrano’s yet to break into first-team action. To date, he’s mostly featured for the B-Team and in the UEFA Youth League, but has played for Spain’s under-16s up to their under-19s teams.
All of the best cheap high potential defensive midfielders (CDM) on FIFA 22
Check out the table below for all of the best CDMs who are cheap and have a high potential rating in Career Mode.
|Romeo Lavia||62||85||17||CDM||Manchester City||£1 million||£600|
|David Ayala||68||84||18||CDM||Estudiantes de La Plata||£2.6 million||£2,200|
|Alan Varela||69||83||19||CDM, CM||Boca Juniors||£2.7 million||£4,400|
|Lucas Gourna||70||83||17||CDM||AS Saint-Étienne||£2.9 million||£600|
|Amadou Onana||68||83||19||CDM, CM||LOSC Lille||£2.3 million||£5,200|
|Alhassan Yusuf||70||83||20||CDM, CM||Royal Antwerp FC||£3.2 million||£6,500|
|Javi Serrano||64||82||18||CDM||Atlético Madrid||£1.2 million||£2,200|
|Sivert Mannsverk||64||82||19||CDM||Molde FK||£1.2 million||£700|
|Samú Costa||69||82||20||CDM, CM||UD Almería||£2.8 million||£3,000|
|Andrés Perea||65||82||20||CDM, CM||Orlando City SC||£1.5 million||£860|
|Tudor Băluță||71||82||22||CDM, CM||Brighton & Hove Albion||£3.4 million||£22,000|
|Cristian Cásseres Jr||71||82||21||CDM, CM||New York Red Bulls||£3.4 million||£3,000|
|Jakub Moder||70||82||22||CDM, LM||Brighton & Hove Albion||£3.2 million||£19,000|
|Pepelu||71||82||22||CDM, CM||Levante UD||£3.4 million||£11,000|
|Eliot Matazo||70||81||19||CDM, CM||AS Monaco||£2.8 million||£10,000|
|Sotirios Alexandropoulos||68||81||19||CDM, CM||Panathinaikos FC||£2.3 million||£400|
|Marco Kana||67||81||18||CDM, CB, CM||RSC Anderlecht||£1.9 million||£2,000|
|Han Massengo||68||81||19||CDM, CM||Bristol City||£2.3 million||£6,000|
|Federico Navarro||69||81||21||CDM, CM||Chicago Fire||£2.8 million||£3,000|
Sign any of the players above if you want one of the best cheap high potential defensive midfielders for your Career Mode side.
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