Traditionally one of the most underappreciated and underused positions in the game, the left back now forms a crucial part of any well-rounded football team. In the old days, left backs were basically centre backs who dared to drift wide every now and then, and were firmly rooted in defending from the back.
These days, the role requires you to be quick and nimble enough to mark some of the best wingers in the world, as well as be able to get up and down the touchline, provide quality service into the final third from the flanks, and be able to chip in with some handy goals.
With that in mind, we’ve assessed the top left backs in FM 21 so that you can splash the cash and improve your squad from day one.
Choosing the best left backs (LB) on FM 21
To ensure that we have only the best left backs in FM21, we have chosen them based on a positional rating of at least 18 and a minimum current ability of 160. Where possible, we have included some tips on how to approach signing these players and their best attributes as further guidance.
At the foot of the article, you will find a full list of all of the best left backs (LB) in FM 21.
David Alaba (CA 171 / PA 174)
Team: Bayern Munich
Current Ability/Potential Ability: CA 171 / PA 174
Wage: £175,000 p/w
Value: £50 million
Best Attributes: 19 Natural Fitness, 18 Stamina, 18 Team Work
David Alaba is one of the very best players in the game and would slot into the left back role in just about any team across the globe. With that in mind, he’s not going to come cheap. However, if left back is the only weakness stopping you from winning the Champions League, he’s the perfect player to sign.
That said, Alaba doesn’t have any interest in re-signing with Bayern Munich, and his current contract expires on 30 June 2021, enabling him to leave on a free transfer. So, if you’re happy to wait, you can enter the contract bidding war for him instead of having to drop an exorbitant fee in the first season.
Alaba has more than 430 games under his belt for the perennial German champions and 79 international caps for Austria; so, you know that you’re getting yourself a quality on-field star. Still, just as important will be his presence in the dressing room, although his 18 team work will prove more influential than his 12 leadership in FM 21.
Jordi Alba (CA 161 / PA 166)
Current Ability/Potential Ability: CA 161 / PA 166
Wage: £210,000 p/w
Value: £32.5 million
Best Attributes: 18 Off the Ball, 17 Acceleration, 16 First Touch
Jordi Alba will definitely prove to be harder to pry away from his club than David Alaba, but that doesn’t mean that he’s not worth taking a serious look at if you want a dynamic left-edge option for your side.
Contracted to Barcelona until the end of the 2023/24 season, the club will ask for a hefty fee for the left back, who’s currently valued at £34 million and is earning over £210,000 per week in wages.
At 31-years-old at the start of FM 21, however, he still has a good four or five years left as one of the best options available in the game. His ability to run down the left flank, play one-twos, and go past opponents make him a valuable attacking asset who can also be shifted forward to play on the left wing if needed.
Having joined Barça in 2012, Alba has become a firm favourite at Camp Nou, taking on board the club’s free-flowing, total football ethos. So, if you do manage to lure him away, you’ll get a flashy, lethal attacking weapon with solid defensive capabilities and great speed ratings of 17 acceleration and 16 agility.
Andrew Robertson (CA 159 / PA 165)
Current Ability/Potential Ability: CA 159 / PA 165
Wage: £80,000 p/w
Value: £48 million
Best Attributes: 18 Natural Fitness, 17 Crossing, 17 Work Rate
It’s rare that the Tartan Army has a world-class player to cheer on, so naturally, when someone like Andrew Robertson comes along and stakes his claim as one of the best left backs in the game, their second-best player (Kieran Tierney) plays the exact same role!
That misfortune aside, Robertson is blessed with great natural fitness (rated 18 in FM 21) and a 17 work rate to match, meaning that he offers plenty in attack and when defending on the left flank. The Liverpool star also has 17 crossing, 12 dribbling, and 14 passing, so he’s absolutely able to play a key role in a big side – as has been made evident by his time at Anfield.
Robertson is primarily utilised as a supporting wing back in Liverpool’s 4-3-3 formation, but if you want to prize him away from Klopp’s side, you will have to pony-up plenty of cash. As it stands, he’s locked under contract through to June 2024, and Liverpool don’t have any interest in selling him.
Alex Sandro (CA 159 / PA 168)
Team: Juventus (Zebre)
Current Ability/Potential Ability: CA 159 / PA 168
Wage: £195,000 p/w
Value: £32.5 million
Best Attributes: 18 Composure, 16 Tackling, 16 Technique
Brazilian left back Alex Sandro has been at the Italian club since 2015, where he has carved out a fine career to earn himself a reputation as one of the best left-sided defensive players in the sport. He has the pedigree – boasting more than 20 caps for the Seleção – and while he’s unlikely to improve much beyond his current ability, he’s good enough to move to just about any club in Europe and improve their squad.
Sandro’s base defensive statistics in FM 21 are great, as shown by his 16 tackling, 16 technique, 15 first touch, 15 anticipation, 18 composure, 15 positioning, and 15 off the ball. He also has good ratings for pace (15), stamina (15), strength (16), and acceleration (15), putting him in place to cause significant issues if asked to attack down the left side of the pitch.
Sandro is known to get forward whenever possible for Juventus, and has a knack for getting into the opposition’s area. So, you’ll likely see him notch a handful of assists and a goal or two over the course of a season in the management sim.
As a club, Juventus are not flush with cash and are seemingly willing to part with some key players in a bid to raise funds and rebuild an ageing squad, which is carrying the colossal wages of Cristiano Ronaldo. This means that you’re likely to be able to buy him for close to his current value and get a quality player at an affordable price.
Raphaël Guerreiro (CA 154 / PA 163)
Team: Borussia Dortmund
Current Ability/Potential Ability: CA 154 / PA 163
Wage: £88,000 p/w
Value: £24 million
Best Attributes: 17 Composure, 17 Teamwork, 17 Agility
A versatile and athletic defender capable of playing right across the left side of the pitch, Guerreiro boasts versatility and strong technical ability. While he’s far from being a fully developed product, Guerreiro is young enough to be moulded into a wide variety of roles.
He offers defensive solidity and plenty of attacking options, with his traits including using his outside foot, playing one-twos, and trying to play his way out of trouble. The Portuguese international is helped by a tendency to not dive into tackles, meaning that you’re less likely to lose him to a rash red card. That said, there is definitely a need to work on his overall defensive stats to improve that area of his game.
Borussia Dortmund have shown that they are willing to sell Guerreiro for the right price, so there’s every chance that they’ll accept a decent offer for the left back. However, you’ll be looking at £45 million or more to secure the transfer. On the plus side, his current contract is very reasonable at £88,000 per week, so you won’t have to break to the bank with overpriced wages when negotiating.
All of the best left backs (LB) in FM 21
In the table below, you’ll find all of the highest-rated left backs in Football Manager 2021, sorted by their current ability rating.
|Best left backs (LB) in FM 21|
|David Alaba||28||Bayern Munich||171||174||£175,000||£50 million|
|Jordi Alba||31||Barcelona||161||166||£210,000||£32.5 million|
|Andrew Robertson||26||Liverpool||159||165||£80,000||£48 million|
|Alex Sandro||29||Juventus||159||168||£195,000||£32.5 million|
|Raphaël Guerreiro||26||Borussia Dortmund||154||163||£84,000||£24 million|
|José Gayà||25||Valencia||154||160||£58,000||£28 million|
|Theo Hernández||22||AC Milan||153||164||£40,000||£24.5 million|
|Alphonso Davies||19||Bayern Munich||152||180||£88,000||£31.5 million|
|Nicolás Tagliafico||27||Ajax||152||152||£48,000||£19.5 million|
|Sergio Reguilón||23||Tottenham Hotspur||150||160||£70,000||£29.5 million|
If you want to make sure that your team solves its left back problem as best as it can, sign one of the top LBs of FM 21 listed above.
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