In the modern game, the holding midfielder is a crucial cog in the machine. Being able to protect the defence while also upholding possession, defensive midfielders are increasingly coveted by the big clubs.
The likes of N’Golo Kanté and Casemiro have reminded the world of just how valuable an elite holding midfielder can be to a team. Unfortunately, that has driven up the price for defensive midfielders, with the best in FIFA 21 likely to blow a sizable hole in your transfer budget if you wish to sign them.
Fortunately, there are plenty of young, hungry central defensive midfielders available, and in this article, you can find all of the best CDM wonderkids to sign in Career Mode.
Best wonderkid defensive midfielders (CDM) in FIFA 21 Career Mode
Here, we have profiled the five best CDM wonderkids in Career Mode, with every player on our list being 21-years-old or young, with a potential rating 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: AC Milan (On-loan from Brescia)
Best Position: CDM, CM
Overall/Potential: 77 OVR / 91 POT
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 midfielder in the mould of Andrea Pirlo, Tonali plays as a regista, a role which roughly equates to that of a deep-lying playmaker.
Currently on-loan at AC Milan, who have an option to buy from the relegated Brescia, his boyhood club, Tonali made a great start to life with I Rossoneri.
Tonali has a well-rounded ratings sheet in FIFA 21, with his 82 short passing and 81 long passing being the standout ratings in possession. The Lodi-native’s 83 acceleration also means that he will usually be a step ahead of his opposite number.
While there aren’t any real weak links in Tonali’s game, his 60 positioning and 74 stamina are two areas 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, regardless of the cost.
Boubacar Kamara (OVR 79 – POT 87)
Best Position: CDM, CB
Overall/Potential: 79 OVR / 87 POT
Wage: £26k per week
Best Attributes: 80 Interceptions, 80 Composure, 79 Standing Tackle
Also able to fill in at centre back, 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.
The Frenchman in each of the opening Ligue 1 matches this season and, despite fighting tooth-and-nail for his team, he continues to show an impressive degree of discipline, rarely picking up bookings.
With a 79 OVR, 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 CDM wonderkids on this list.
His greatest strength is his defensive game, with 80 interceptions 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.
Being a defensive midfielder, Kamara isn’t expected to be a creative force, but his 79 short passing means that he can be trusted to use the ball intelligently and effectively.
Kamara is valued at a relatively inexpensive £15.3 million, with his wage at Marseille also being fairly modest. For a player who would improve most teams and has the potential to become one of the world’s best CDMs, your investment is likely to be repaid in Career Mode.
Gustavo Assunção (OVR 74 – POT 86)
Best Position: CDM
Overall/Potential: 74 OVR / 86 POT
Value (Release Clause): £8.6m (N/A)
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: Gustavo Assunção, who plies his trade in Portugal at Famalicão, is one player who’s 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 Atlético Madrid, leaving on a free transfer to Famalicão. So far, the 20-year-old has repaid the faith from his new employers.
Assunção perhaps isn’t the most exciting player in the game, but there is a lot to like about the young Brazilian. His 90 stamina rating means that 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. For all of his versatility, Assunção does lack physical power. His 63 strength means that he will struggle to muscle opposition attackers off of the ball, whilst his 56 position and 64 vision also need to be improved.
Although Assunção is raw, he is not far from being good enough to feature in your first-team plans, even if you are competing in one of Europe’s top leagues. As he is potentially available for less than £20 million, the wonderkid CDM 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 (N/A)
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. That said, the young defensive midfielder claims that he has unfinished business at Arsenal.
Given Guendouzi’s potential rating of 86, the decision-makers at EA Sports appear to have faith that there is more to come from the Frenchman. Currently, his biggest strength is his creativity, 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.
Florentino (OVR 76 – POT 86)
Team: AS Monaco
Best Position: CDM, CM
Overall/Potential: 76 OVR / 86 POT
Value (Release Clause): £10.4m (N/A)
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 the perfect fit for Niko Kovač’s plans. Providing competition for a host of top-quality players at the Stade Louis II, Florentino will be aiming to break into the first-team having made just ten league appearances last season.
Florentino’s 79 aggression is the hallmark of his game, and it is complemented by strong tackling ratings of 78 standing tackle and 77 sliding tackle. His 75 defensive awareness is also impressive.
The Portuguese CDM’s 77 interceptions rating indicates that the 20-year-old has a good eye for danger, while the 76 composure and 76 stamina ratings are also strong indicators of his talent.
While Florentino’s 76 OVR is high enough for you to involve him in the first-team from the get-go, development on the training ground to improve his 61 positioning, 66 vision, and 62 acceleration will be key.
All of the best young wonderkid defensive midfielders (CDM) in FIFA 21
In the table below, you can find all of the best CDM wonderkids found within FIFA 21’s Career Mode.
|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|
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