Centre backs are often the difference between victory and defeat, with Sir Alex Ferguson saying: “attack wins you games, defence wins you titles.” Though this may have been an oversimplification, it isn’t a coincidence that the best teams in the world are well-stocked with top-class central defenders.
So, how should you go about assembling your defensive line in Career Mode? Perhaps the most important metric to consider in FIFA 21 is a player’s potential overall rating, particularly if you are looking to build a side for the future.
As such, these are the centre backs with the highest potential ratings for you to sign in Career Mode.
Choosing the best wonderkid centre backs (CB) on FIFA 21
In this article, you will find the five centre backs under the age of 21 with the highest overall potential rating. At the foot of the article, you will find a full list of all of the best wonderkid centre backs (CB) on FIFA 21 including those currently on-loan and have the potential to reach an overall rating of at least 81.
Matthijs de Ligt (OVR 85 – POT 92)
Team: Piemonte Calcio (Juventus)
Best Position: CB
Overall/Potential: 85 OVR / 92 POT
Value (Release Clause): £89M (£164.4M)
Wage: £72K a week
Best Attributes: 88 Strength, 86 Heading Accuracy, 86 Defensive Awareness
Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt is the centre back with the highest potential on FIFA 21. The Dutchman joined Juventus last season after enjoying a stellar 2018/19 campaign with Ajax, who he helped get into the semi-finals of the Champions League.
De Ligt’s first season in Turin was not an unmitigated success, but the 21-year-old surely picked up some valuable experience, making 29 appearances in Serie A as Juventus claimed an eighth-consecutive league title and 36th overall.
De Ligt has everything that you could want in a defender, as his stats illustrate. The highlights are his 88 strength, 86 heading accuracy, and 86 defensive awareness, with his heading accuracy making him a useful option for attacking set-pieces.
Unsurprisingly, getting a deal for the Dutchman done will be difficult. With the exception of clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City, who have nearly endless financial reserves, his release clause will be difficult to meet.
Dayot Upamecano (OVR 79 – POT 90)
Team: RB Leipzig
Best Position: CB
Overall/Potential: 79 OVR / 90 POT
Value (Release Clause): £33M (£62.7M)
Wage: £32K a week
Best Attributes: 90 Strength, 88 Jumping, 84 Sprint Speed
The French national team have a wealth of riches in almost every position at the moment, including a host of young stars. One of the leading lights is Dayot Upamecano, who currently plays his football for RB Leipzig in the German top-flight.
He is now entering his fourth year in Leipzig and played 28 times for Julian Nagelsmann in the Bundesliga last season, with his side finishing in third place. RB Leipzig also reached their first Champions League semi-final, with Upamecano a vital cog in the team.
Upamecano’s best attributes are his 90 strength, 88 jumping, and 84 sprint speed, with the Frenchman being a big and powerful defender, not unlike his Bayern Munich counterpart, Niklas Süle.
Arsenal previously expressed an interest in bringing Upamecano to London, but the centre back has since signed a new deal with RB Leipzig that runs until 2023. As a result, obtaining his services will require deep pockets.
Edmond Tapsoba (OVR 78 – POT 88)
Team: Bayer 04 Leverkusen
Best Position: CB
Overall/Potential: 78 OVR / 88 POT
Value (Release Clause): £26.5M (No Release Clause)
Wage: £34K a week
Best Attributes: 82 Aggression, 81 Stand Tackle, 80 Short Pass
Edmond Tapsoba burst onto the seen after a stellar second half of the season with Bayer Leverkusen, having joined Die Werkself in January from Portuguese side Vitória Guimarães for around £16 million. The Burkina Faso international made 14 appearances for Peter Bosz’s side, including 12 as a starter.
His contributions saw Bayer Leverkusen finish in fifth place in the Bundesliga, guaranteeing them a place in the Europa League. Comfortable on the ball and aggressive in the tackle, Tapsoba is a well-rounded centre back, with his best attributes being his 82 aggression, 81 standing tackle, and 80 short passing.
Any potential deal for the 21-year-old will be complicated by the lack of a release clause in his contract, with Leverkusen unlikely to be eager to sell such a recent acquisition. Still, Tapsoba is certainly a player who you should be looking to add to your team.
Ibrahima Konaté (OVR 78 – POT 88)
Team: RB Leipzig
Best Position: CB
Overall/Potential: 78 OVR / 88 POT
Value (Release Clause): £26.5M (£50.3M)
Wage: £29K a week
Best Attributes: 85 Stand Tackle, 83 Strength, 79 Sprint Speed
The second player from RB Leipzig to make this list is another Frenchman, Ibrahima Konaté. Like Upamecano, Konaté has spent the last three seasons with the East German side, where he has made 74 appearances in all competitions.
The French under-21 international missed a significant period last season due to a muscle tear, only featuring in eight Bundesliga games as a result. The future remains bright for Konaté, though, especially as he’s yet to celebrate his 22nd birthday.
The comparisons with his Leipzig teammate, Upamecano, are obvious, with both men being physically imposing defenders. The highlights on Konaté’s ratings sheet are his 85 standing tackle, 83 strength, and 79 sprint speed.
His £50.3 million release clause is a steep price to pay for a player with a 78 OVR, but there is plenty of scope for consistent development with Konaté, meaning that he is likely to prove himself worthy of the initial investment.
William Saliba (OVR 74 – POT 87)
Team: Arsenal FC
Best Position: CB
Overall/Potential: 74 OVR / 87 POT
Value (Release Clause): £8.5M (N/A)
Wage: £25K a week
Best Attributes: 80 Strength, 77 Interceptions, 75 Jumping
There are high expectations for the 19-year old William Saliba, who will be looking to break into the Arsenal first-team soon. He joined the Gunners last summer but was loaned straight back to his former employers, Saint Étienne, to continue his development.
Unfortunately for the Frenchman, the 2019/20 season did not go quite to plan. Saliba made only 12 appearances in the league after suffering a hamstring injury early in the season, which was followed by a metatarsal fracture.
If he can put his injuries behind him, he should prove himself an excellent centre back in the years to come. The 19-year-old is agile, strong, and good at reading the play, as evidenced by his 77 interceptions, 80 strength, and 75 jumping.
Saliba’s 74 OVR perhaps means that he’s not yet ready to start for title-chasing sides, but there is a lot of upside for the French teenager.
All of the best young wonderkid centre backs (CB) in FIFA 21
Here’s the complete list of all of the best wonderkid centre backs in FIFA 21 Career Mode.
|Matthijs de Ligt||CB||20||85||92||Juventus||£44.6M||£72K|
|Dayot Upamecano||CB||21||79||90||RB Leipzig||£18M||£32K|
|Edmond Tapsoba||CB||21||78||88||Bayer 04 Leverkusen||£14M||£34K|
|Ibrahima Konaté||CB||21||78||88||RB Leipzig||£14M||£29K|
|Ozan Kabak||CB||20||77||87||FC Schalke 04||£11.7M||£17K|
|Bright Arrey-Mbi||CB, LB||17||60||86||Bayern München II||£383K||£450|
|Eduardo Quaresma||CB||18||72||86||Sporting CP||£5.4M||£2K|
|Joško Gvardiol||CB, LB||18||69||86||Dinamo Zagreb||£1.8M||£450|
|Leonidas Stergiou||CB||18||67||86||FC St. Gallen||£1.4M||£1K|
|Jean-Clair Todibo||CB||20||75||86||FC Barcelona||£9.5M||£61K|
|Jules Koundé||CB||21||79||86||Sevilla FC||£14.4M||£18K|
|Dan-Axel Zagadou||CB||21||79||86||Borussia Dortmund||£14.4M||£34K|
|Omar Rekik||CB||18||63||85||Hertha BSC||£698K||£2K|
|Tanguy Kouassi||CB, CDM||18||71||85||FC Bayern München||£4.1M||£9K|
|Marco Kana||CB, CDM, CM||17||65||85||RSC Anderlecht||£900K||£450|
|Eric García||CB||19||72||85||Manchester City||£5M||£28K|
|Nehuén Pérez||CB||20||75||85||Atlético Madrid||£9M||£24K|
|Chadi Riad||CB||17||59||84||CE Sabadell FC||£293K||£450|
|Denys Popov||CB||21||73||84||Dynamo Kyiv||£5.9M||£450|
|Zinho Vanheusden||CB||20||73||84||Standard de Liège||£5.9M||£8K|
|Evan N’Dicka||CB, LB||20||74||84||Eintracht Frankfurt||£7.7M||£14K|
|Ethan Ampadu||CB, CDM||19||67||84||Sheffield United||£1.4M||£5K|
|Bruno Fuchs||CB||21||72||83||PFC CSKA Moscow||£4.4M||£17K|
|Teden Mengi||CB||18||65||83||Manchester United||£900K||£5K|
|Tiago Djaló||CB||20||68||83||LOSC Lille||£1.6M||£7K|
|David Carmo||CB||20||71||83||SC Braga||£3.5M||£5K|
|Chris Richards||CB, RB||20||66||83||Bayern München II||£1.2M||£2K|
|Wesley Fofana||CB||19||71||83||AS Saint-Étienne||£3.4M||£8K|
|Hugo Guillamón||CB, CDM||20||69||83||Valencia CF||£2M||£8K|
|Sebastiaan Bornauw||CB||21||75||83||1. FC Köln||£8.1M||£15K|
|Japhet Tanganga||CB, RB, LB||21||71||83||Tottenham Hotspur||£3.5M||£26K|
|Victor Nelsson||CB||21||74||83||FC København||£7.2M||£11K|
|Rolando Ortíz||CB||17||62||82||Estudiantes de La Plata||£495K||£450|
|Strahinja Pavlović||CB||19||64||82||AS Monaco||£810K||£4K|
|Taylor Harwood-Bellis||CB||18||61||82||Manchester City||£473K||£4K|
|Armel Bella-Kotchap||CB||18||62||82||VfL Bochum 1848||£518K||£810|
|Igor Diveev||CB||20||69||82||PFC CSKA Moscow||£1.7M||£11K|
|Johan Vásquez||CB, LB||21||68||82||U.N.A.M.||£1.6M||£3K|
|Mohamed Simakan||CB, RB||20||71||82||RC Strasbourg Alsace||£3.4M||£10K|
|Sepp van den Berg||CB||18||65||82||Liverpool||£900K||£4K|
|Dario Maresic||CB||20||70||82||Stade de Reims||£2.6M||£8K|
|Panagiotis Retsos||CB, RB, LB||21||74||82||Bayer 04 Leverkusen||£6.8M||£26K|
|Diogo Leite||CB||21||71||82||FC Porto||£3.4M||£5K|
|Isaak Touré||CB||17||57||81||Le Havre AC||£189K||£450|
|Victor Guzmán||CB||18||61||81||Club Tijuana||£428K||£855|
|Tomás Ribeiro||CB||21||69||81||Os Belenenses||£1.5M||£2K|
|Ronald Araujo||CB||21||67||81||FC Barcelona||£1.4M||£21K|
|Nathan Collins||CB||19||62||81||Stoke City||£540K||£2K|
|Daniel Hoyo-Kowalski||CB||16||59||81||Wisła Kraków||£293K||£450|
|Odilon Kossounou||CB, RB||19||67||81||Club Brugge KV||£1.4M||£4K|
If you want to sign one of the best young defenders to dominate at the back for years to come, buy one of the top CB wonderkids of FIFA 21’s Career Mode.
Looking for wonderkids?
FIFA 21 Wonderkids: Best Right Backs (RB) to Sign in Career Mode
FIFA 21 Wonderkids: Best Left Backs (LB) to sign in Career Mode
FIFA 21 Wonderkids: Best Goalkeepers (GK) to sign in Career Mode
FIFA 21 Wonderkids: Best Attacking Midfielders (CAM) to Sign in Career Mode
FIFA 21 Wonderkids: Best Central Midfielders (CM) to Sign in Career Mode
FIFA 21 Wonderkid Wingers: Best Left Wingers (LW & LM) to Sign in Career Mode
FIFA 21 Wonderkid Wingers: Best Right Wingers (RW & RM) to sign in Career Mode
FIFA 21 Wonderkids: Best Strikers (ST & CF) to Sign in Career Mode
FIFA 21 Wonderkids: Best Young Brazilian Players to Sign in Career Mode
FIFA 21 Wonderkids: Best Young French Players to Sign in Career Mode
FIFA 21 Wonderkids: Best Young English Players to Sign in Career Mode
Looking for bargains?
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Contract Expiry Signings Ending in 2021 (First Season)
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Cheap Centre Backs (CB) with High Potential to Sign
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Cheap Strikers (ST & CF) with High Potential to Sign
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Cheap Right Backs (RB & RWB) with High Potential to Sign
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Cheap Left Backs (LB & LWB) with High Potential to Sign
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Cheap Centre Midfielders (CM) with High Potential to Sign
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Cheap Goalkeepers (GK) with High Potential to Sign
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Cheap Right Wingers (RW & RM) with High Potential to Sign
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Cheap Left Wingers (LW & LM) with High Potential to Sign
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Cheap Attacking Midfielders (CAM) with High Potential to Sign
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Cheap Defensive Midfielders (CDM) with High Potential to Sign
Looking for the best young players?
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Young Centre Backs (CB) to Sign
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Young Strikers & Centre Forwards (ST & CF) to Sign
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Young LBs to Sign
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Young Right Backs (RB & RWB) to Sign
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Young Central Midfielders (CM) to Sign
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Young Defensive Midfielders (CDM) to Sign
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Young Attacking Midfielders (CAM) to Sign
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Young Goalkeepers (GK) to Sign
FIFA 21 Career Mode: Best Young Right Wingers (RW & RM) to Sign
Looking for the fastest players?
FIFA 21 Defenders: Fastest Centre Backs (CB) to Sign in Career Mode