FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Cheap High Potential Defensive Midfielders (CDM)

Want to bring in a promising defensive midfielder to guard your backline for years to come? These CDMs cost less than £1 million and have high potential ratings.


Part of the fun of taking a team from near-obscurity to the top-flight in FIFA 21 is the challenge of building a team with a small transfer budget.

Some managers will look to add a big piece to their team, regardless of age or potential, which can sometimes see them becoming rotation players in just a season or two. The savvier approach is to but the best cheap players with high potential as they improve as much on the pitch as they do in transfer value with each passing campaign.


On this page, we’re exploring all of the best cheap CDMs with high potential to sign in FIFA 21’s Career Mode.

Choosing FIFA 21 Career Mode’s Best Cheap Defensive Midfielders (CDM)

To make it onto our list of the best cheap defensive midfielders with high potential, players had to tick three boxes: the first of which was the maximum release clause.

To be classed as a ‘cheap’ transfer at the start of Career Mode, players have to be available to sign for £1 million or less. As such, free agents and on-loan players have been excluded from the best cheap CDMs list.

Also, players needed to have a minimum potential rating of 75 POT, as well as have CDM listed in FIFA 21 as their preferred position.

For a full list of ALL our best cheap high potential defensive midfielders (CDM), please look at the table towards the end of the page.

Eugenio Pizzuto (59 OVR – 82 POT)

Team: LOSC Lille
Age: 18
Best Position: LDM, CDM, RDM
Overall/Potential: 59 OVR / 82 POT
Value (Release Clause): £625,000 (£848,000)
Wage: £1,200 per week
Best Attributes: 66 Balance, 66 Short Passing, 63 Aggression

Born in San Luis Potosí and still only 18-years-old, Eugenio Pizzuto has already been on the books for three clubs across three different continents.

From Wellington Phoenix in Australia, Pizzuto returned to his native Mexico in 2017 to join CF Pachuca’s youth set-up. After coming on as a substitute for two half-and-hour stints for the first team last season, the defensive midfielder joined LOSC Lille for free over the summer.

Coming into FIFA 21 as a CDM with an 82 potential rating and £848,000 release clause, Pizzuto is the best cheap defensive midfielder with high potential to sign in Career Mode.

The Mexican CDM’s positional bias and 59 OVR don’t lend him to many eye-catching attribute ratings early on. Still, his 66 short passing, 62 standing tackle, 63 aggression, 60 ball control, and 55 interceptions put him in good stead for future development.

Stefan Radulovic (60 OVR – 79 POT)

Team: FK Austria Wien
Age: 18
Best Position: LDM, LCM, CDM, CM, RDM, RCM
Overall/Potential: 60 OVR / 79 POT
Value (Release Clause): £525,000 (£747,000)
Wage: £750 per week
Best Attributes: 80 Agility, 69 Balance, 65 Long Passing

Stefan Radulovic cemented himself as a regular for the Young Violets Austria Wien side in the second-tier of Austria football, playing in centre midfield, defensive midfield, and centre back.

This season, while he’s getting most of his minutes with the second team again, Radulovic was called-up to the first-team in the early stages of the campaign, featuring on the bench in the Austrian Bundesliga.

With 80 agility, 64 acceleration, 65 long passing, 65 ball control, 65 short passing, 63 vision, and 63 dribbling, Radulovic could already prove to be a decent signing for some Career Mode teams, regardless of his 60 OVR.

The Austrian CDM and his favourable starting attribute ratings make him a decent signing, but it’s his low £747,000 transfer cost and 79 POT which make him one of the best cheap CDMs to sign.

Warren Bondo (55 OVR – 78 POT)

Team: AS Nancy Lorraine
Age: 16
Best Position: LDM, CDM, RDM
Overall/Potential: 55 OVR / 78 POT
Value (Release Clause): £350,000 (£396,000)
Wage: £450 per week
Best Attributes: 68 Balance, 64 Aggression, 63 Sprint Speed

Signed to AS Nancy Lorraine and currently making his way through the development system, Warren Bondo is already showing his ability in France’s youth teams.

After featuring in a couple of games for the French under-16s, he stepped up to the under-17s to feature in several friendlies and Under-17 Euros qualifiers.

Bondo starts Career Mode at 16-years-old with a 55 OVR, but he does already have some favourable attribute ratings for a CDM.

The Frenchman’s 64 aggression, 58 short passing, 62 acceleration, 63 sprint speed, 68 balance, and 58 standing tackle are all useable ratings should you sign Bondo as your pick of the best cheap defensive midfielders in FIFA 21.

Kamal Bafounta (59 OVR – 78 POT)

Team: Borussia Dortmund
Age: 18
Best Position: LCB, LDM, CB, CDM, RCB, RDM
Overall/Potential: 59 OVR / 78 POT
Value (Release Clause): £475,000 (£628,000)
Wage: £1,700 per week
Best Attributes: 66 Sprint Speed, 65 Acceleration, 65 Short Passing

Standing 6’4’’ at 18-years-old, Kamal Bafounta is already quite the presence in front of the back-four, but he’s yet to get a call-up to the Borussia Dortmund first-team.

The young Frenchman has played for the under-17s and under-19s of the Bundesliga club and looks set to join the B-team in Regionalliga West.

Bafounta’s most obvious strength is his height, with his 62 standing tackle, 65 short passing, 61 heading accuracy, 62 long passing, and 65 agility making him a useful CDM from the start.

The Frenchman comes into Career Mode as one of the best cheap defensive midfielders with high potential. For just £628,000, you’ll be able to get to work on developing Bafounta towards his 78 POT.

Jony Álamo (59 OVR – 77 POT)

Team: Elche CF
Age: 18
Best Position: LDM, CDM, RDM
Overall/Potential: 59 OVR / 77 POT
Value (Release Clause): £475,000 (£763,000)
Wage: £700 per week
Best Attributes: 76 Balance, 67 Short Passing, 66 Long Passing

While primarily playing for the Elche CF reserve team (Elche Ilicitano) last season, Jony Álamo made his first-team debut towards the end of the club’s promotion-winning campaign.

Now in La Liga, Álamo has been called-up to Elche CF on one occasion in the early campaign, but he didn’t make it off of the bench in the 3-0 defeat to Real Sociedad.

In FIFA 21’s Career Mode, Álamo ranks as one of the best cheap CDMs with high potential, costing a mere £763,000 while having a potential rating of 77.

At the start of the game, the Spaniard’s 59 OVR may appear a bit low for first-team football. However, in the right system, his 67 short passing, 66 long passing, 76 balance, 64 jumping, 63 slide tackling, and 63 vision can prove to be beneficial assets.

All the Best Cheap High Potential Defensive Midfielders (CDM) in FIFA 21

In the table below, you can find all of the details that you need to know about the best cheap CDM players of Career Mode, including their potential ratings, release clauses, and best attributes.

NameAgeOverallPotentialRelease ClausePositionTeamBest Attributes
Eugenio Pizzuto185988£848,000CDMLOSC Lille66 Balance, 66 Short Passing, 63 Aggression
Stefan Radulovic186079£747,000CDM, CMFK Austria Wien80 Agility, 69 Balance, 65 Long Passing
Warren Bondo165578£396,000CDMAS Nancy Lorraine68 Balance, 64 Aggression, 63 Sprint Speed
Kamal Bafounta185978£628,000CDMBorussia Dortmund66 Sprint Speed, 65 Acceleration, 65 Short Passing
Jony Álamo185977£763,000CDMElche CF76 Balance, 67 Short Passing, 66 Long Passing
Nicolò Rovella185877£546,000CDMGenoa CFC73 Balance, 70 Agility, 67 Aggression
Samuel Asoma175776£346,000CDM, CBClub Brugge KV78 Balance, 72 Agility, 68 Acceleration
Amadou Onana185976£601,000CDM, CMHamburger SV70 Strength, 65 Aggression, 62 Short Passing
Joshua Atencio185576£383,000CDM, CBSeattle Sounders FC67 Strength, 65 Sprint Speed, 62 Jumping
Mathéo Parmentier175676£383,000CDMKAA Gent69 Agility, 68 Strength, 68 Acceleration
Andrés Balanta206176£933,000CDMDeportivo Cali71 Stamina, 70 Balance, 65 Defensive Awareness
Felix Myhre216176£886,000CDM, CMVålerenga Fotball77 Balance, 67 Agility, 66 Short Passing
Damian Isac195975£578,000CDMUTA Arad73 Acceleration, 68 Aggression, 66 Sprint Speed
Kai Stratznig185775£374,000CDM, CMWolfsberger AC73 Stamina, 72 Acceleration, 71 Balance
Gabriel Barés195875£467,000CDM, CMFC Lausanne-Sport65 Stamina, 64 Short Passing, 63 Ball Control
Emanuele Zuelli186175£979,000CDM, CMChievo Verona71 Agility, 71 Free-Kick Accuracy, 70 Balance
Marcos Enrique206375£956,000CDM, CMVélez Sarsfield75 Acceleration, 73 Stamina, 71 Short Passing
Niklas Tauer195975£709,000CDM, CBFSV Mainz 0567 Short Passing, 65 Aggression, 64 Standing Tackle
Sotirios-Polykarpos Alexandropoulos185775£509,000CDM, CMPanathinaikos FC68 Aggression, 67 Acceleration, 65 Sprint Speed
Niels Hahn196275£980,000CDM, CMFK Austria Wien80 Agility, 75 Balance, 74 Acceleration
Louis D’Arrigo186375£750,000CDM, CMAdelaide United76 Agility, 72 Balance, 70 Sprint Speed
Filip Ugrinic216375£928,000CDM, CMFC Luzern82 Strength, 65 Defensive Awareness, 65 Balance

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Ben Chopping

Will give almost any game a chance, particularly those that include wildlife, monsters, or prehistoric creatures of any kind.

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