In the modern game, the holding midfielder is a crucial cog in the machine. Fortunately, there are plenty of young, hungry central defensive midfielders in FIFA 21’s roster and in this article you can find all the best CDM wonderkids.
Choosing FIFA 21 Career Mode’s best wonderkid centre defensive midfielders (CDM)
Very few of the world’s best teams play without a dedicated holding midfielder. They play a vital role in shielding the back four and quelling opposition attacks, as well as recycling the ball in possession and potentially breaking from deep to shoot from distance or get into the box.
The likes of N’Golo Kanté have reminded the world just how valuable an elite holding midfielder can be. Unfortunately, that has driven up the price for central defensive midfielders, with the best in the game likely to blow a sizable hole in your transfer budget if you wish to sign them.
One way to get round that hefty price tag is to sign a young star in the making and, thankfully, there is a good new crop of young talent waiting to dominate the centre of the park for your team.
We have profiled the five best CDM wonderkids below, with every player on our list having an overall potential of at least 82. For a full list of ALL of the best wonderkid centre defensive midfielders (CDM), look to the table at the end of this article.
Sandro Tonali (OVR 77 – POT 91)
Team: Milan (On loan from Brescia)
Best Position: CDM, CM
Overall/Potential: 77OVR / 91 POT
Value (Release Clause): £16.7m (no release clause)
Wage: £22k per week
Best Attributes: 83 acceleration, 82 short passing, 81 long passing
Sandro Tonali’s potential is widely known, with the 20-year-old having been earmarked for great things in his native Italy. A player in the mould of fellow Lombard Andrea Pirlo, Tonali plays as a regista, a role which roughly equates to that of a deep-lying playmaker.
Currently on loan at Milan, who have an option to buy, from relegated Brescia, his boyhood club, he has made a great start to life with I Rossoneri. He has appeared in all three Serie A matches so far this season, with Milan having collected nine points, scoring seven goals and conceding none.
Tonali has a well-rounded game, with his 82 short passing and 81 long passing the standout ratings in possession. Tonali’s 83 acceleration also means he will usually be a step ahead of his opposite number.
While there are no real weak links in Tonali’s game, his 60 positioning and his 74 stamina are two areas of his game to focus on in training, whilst his 70 defensive awareness will also need to be improved. Nonetheless, Tonali is a once-in-a-generation footballer, one you would do well to sign as soon as possible, no matter the cost.
Boubacar Kamara (OVR 79 – POT 87)
Best Position: CDM, CB
Overall/Potential: 79 OVR / 87 POT
Value (Release Clause): £15.3m (no release clause)
Wage: £26k per week
Best Attributes: 80 interceptions, 80 composure, 79 standing tackle
Also able to fill in at centre back, the Frenchman Boubacar Kamara is a recent graduate of the Marseille youth system, who appears to be well on his way to breaking into the first team permanently.
He has started all six Ligue 1 matches so far this season and, despite fighting tooth and nail for his team, he has shown impressive discipline, picking up only one yellow card, which came against Stade Brest 29.
With a 79 OVR rating, Kamara should be ready to slot straight into your starting line-up, although he doesn’t have quite the same potential for explosive growth as some other young talents. His greatest strength is his defensive game, with his 80 interceptions rating and 80 composure demonstrating a maturity that belies his age.
That is complemented by a 76 defensive awareness rating, whilst his 79 standing tackle and 77 sliding tackle attributes indicate that he is strong in the tackle. Whilst he is not a great creative force, his 79 short passing means he can be trusted to use the ball intelligently and effectively.
It’s almost harsh to refer to Boubakar’s average attributes as shortcomings, but there is work to be done to improve his movement ratings. His 69 sprint speed is a potential problem, whilst his 68 balance would also benefit from attention on the training pitch. The biggest issue with Kamara, however, is his 43 positioning.
But, Kamara is valued at a relatively inexpensive £15.3 million, whilst his wages at Marseille are also fairly modest. For a player who would improve most teams and has the potential to become one of the world’s best, your investment is likely to be repaid.
Gustavo Assunção OVR 74 – POT 86
Best Position: CDM
Overall/Potential: 74 OVR / 86 POT
Value (Release Clause): £8.6m (no release clause)
Wage: £6k per week
Best Attributes: 90 stamina, 78 reactions, 75 ball control
When you think of hot prospects in Brazilian football, holding midfielders are rarely mentioned. But Gustavo Assunção, who plies his trade in Portugal at Famalicão, is one player bucking that trend.
Following in the footsteps of his father Paulo, who also played in the middle of the park at the highest level, Gustavo was deemed surplus to requirements at Atletico Madrid and left on a free transfer to join Famalicão. So far, the 20-year-old has repaid his new employers’ faith in him in spades.
Assunção is not perhaps the most exciting player in the game, but there is a lot to like about the young Brazilian. His 90 stamina rating means he can be expected to last the distance, whilst 78 reactions, 75 ball control, and 73 standing tackle point to solid technical ability.
His 72 short passing also enables him to distribute the ball effectively after winning it back. But for all his versatility, Assunção does lack physical power. His 63 strength means that he will struggle to muscle opposition attackers off the ball, whilst his 56 position and 64 vision also need to be worked on.
But although Assunção is raw, he is not far off being good enough to feature in your first team plans, even if you are competing in one of Europe’s top five leagues. And as he is potentially available for less than £10 million, it is a low-risk investment.
Mattéo Guendouzi OVR 77 – POT 86
Team: Hertha Berlin (On loan from Arsenal)
Best Position: CDM, CM
Overall/Potential: 77 OVR / 86 POT
Value (Release Clause): £11.3m (no release clause)
Wage: £41k per week
Best Attributes: 80 long passing, 79 short passing, 79 stamina
Recently sent on loan to Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga, Guendouzi fell out of favour at the Emirates under Mikel Arteta, and is looking for a fresh start. He has claimed that he has unfinished business at Arsenal, but Guendouzi is still waiting for his first appearance of the season.
That is despite having played over 40 times last year. Having moved to Hertha late in the transfer window, the Frenchman is in dire need of game time to get some miles in his legs. But at 21, he does have time on his side in his quest to develop into an elite midfielder.
With potential overall rating of 86, the decision makers at EA Sports appear to have faith that there is more to come from Guendouzi. Currently his biggest strength is his creativity, with Guendouzi boasting 80 long passing, 79 short passing, and 79 vision.
Already a more rounded player than most of his contemporaries, to improve Guendouzi you would be well advised to focus on his 70 sliding tackle, 67 positioning, and 70 balance on the training pitch. But with Guendouzi available six months into your career mode and without a release clause, he is an attainable option to strengthen your midfield.
Florentino OVR 76 – POT 86
Team: AS Monaco
Best Position: CDM, CM
Overall/Potential: 76 OVR / 86 POT
Value (Release Clause): £10.4m (no release clause)
Wage: £26k per week
Best Attributes: 79 aggression, 78 standing tackle, 77 sliding tackle
A Benfica youth product, Portugal’s Florentino is developing a reputation as a hard tackling midfielder, making him perfect fit for Niko Kovač’s plans. Providing competition for a host of top quality players at the Principality club, Florentino will be aiming to break into the first team, having made just 10 league appearances last season.
Florentino’s 79 aggression is the hallmark of his game, and it is complimented by strong tackling ratings, with Florentino having 78 standing tackle and 77 sliding tackle ratings. His 75 defensive awareness is also impressive.
His 77 interceptions rating indicates that the 20-year-old has a good eye for danger, whilst 76 composure and 76 stamina are also stat sheet highlights for the Portuguese.
While Florentino’s 76 current rating is high enough for you to involve him in first-team action from the get-go, development on the training ground to improve his 61 positioning, 66 vision, and 62 acceleration are areas to focus on.
Without a release clause and valued at around the £11 million, Florentino is arguably the best value of the five players featured, especially given his current ability.
All the best wonderkid central defensive midfielders in FIFA 21
All CDMs with a potential of 83 or more are listed below:
|Sandro Tonali||CDM CM||20||77||91||Milan||£16.7m||£22k|
|Boubacar Kamara||CDM CB||20||79||87||Marseille||£15.3m||£26k|
|Gustavo Assunção||CDM CM||20||74||86||Famalicão||£8.6m||£6k|
|Mattéo Guendouzi||CDM CM||21||77||86||Arsenal||£11.3m||£41k|
|Florentino||CDM CM||20||76||86||AS Monaco||£10.4m||£26k|
|Declan Rice||CDM CM||21||79||86||West Ham||£14.9m||£27k|
|Boubakary Soumaré||CDM CM||21||76||85||Lille||£9.9m||£19k|
|Tyler Adams||CDM CM||21||76||85||RB Leipzig||£9.9m||£26k|
|Nail Umyarov||CDM CM||20||68||84||Spartak Moscow||£1.7m||£11k|
|Oliver Skipp||CDM||19||68||84||Norwich City||£1.6m||£2k|
|Oscar Dorley||CDM||21||73||83||Slavia Praha||£5.4m||£450|
|Alhassan Yusuf||CDM||19||69||83||IFK Göteborg||£1.9m||£1k|
|Cristian Cásseres Jr||CDM||20||68||83||New York Red Bulls||£1.7m||£2k|
|Angelo Stiller||CDM||19||64||82||Bayern II||£810k||£990|
|Jesús Pretell||CDM||21||67||82||Melgar FBC||£1.4m||£450|
|Khéphren Thuram||CDM||19||71||82||OGC Nice||£3.3m||£9k|
|Santiago Sosa||CDM||21||69||82||River Plate||£1.7m||£5k|
|Pepelu||CDM CM||21||70||82||Vitória Guimarães||£2.7m||£4k|