In the past, Belgium have not been considered one of the world’s superpowers when it comes to football. Over the past few years, however, this has changed, made evident by The Red Devils topping the FIFA World Rankings for the first time in November 2015. With players like Romelu Lukaku, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, and Jan Vertonghen, Belgium truly have entered a golden generation.
In this article, you will discover Football Manager 21’s Belgian wonderkids to add to your team. If given the right training and development, each of the best young players will eventually be playing at the very highest level of the game.
Choosing the best Belgian wonderkids of FM 21
To be ranked as one the best Belgian wonderkids in Football Manager 2021, the players had to meet or surpass a set of three criteria. They had to be 21 years of age or younger at the start of the game and have Belgium declared as the nation that they’ll represent. Most importantly, they have to have one of the best potential ability (PA) ratings of all of the young Belgians in FM 21.
The minimum PA on this list is 140 or -85, which is the most important value to consider for these Belgian wonderkids. Negative PA reflects a PA range that the chosen player can load with in any save, coming in the form of -10 (170-200), -95 (160-190), -9 (150-180), and -85 (140-170). Those with a negative PA can load with a potential ability rating of any number within their given range, so we rank them according to their lowest possible PA.
Below, you’ll find the best young players from Belgium in the game, with only the best of the best Belgian wonderkids featured in this article.
Zinho Vanheusden (126 CA / 160 PA)
Team: Standard Liège
Best Position: DC
Current Ability/Potential Ability: 126 CA / 160 PA
Value: £9.75 million
Best Attributes: 15 Passing, 15 Determination, 15 Flair
Topping the list of Belgium wonderkids with the highest guaranteed PA is Zinho Vanheusden. The Hasselt-native was initially part of the Standard Liège academy before being signed by Italian giants Inter Milan. After a season on-loan at his boyhood club in 2018, it was decided that Les Rouches would part with £10.57 million in order to bring Vanheusden back to the Stade Maurice Dufrasne, with the club even making him their captain.
Vanheusden captured the eye of Belgium boss Roberto Martínez this season. Earning his first senior cap off of the back of 72 appearances and four goals for his club, as well as a Belgian Cup winners’ medal in 2018, it is clear that the born leader is destined for great things.
The ball-playing defender possesses many desirable traits including, but not limited to, his 15 passing, 14 marking, 14 heading, and 13 tackling. Vanheusden is also likely to have a good effect on the rest of your team with his 15 determination, 15 flair, and 14 leadership.
Standard Liège will be reluctant to see their highly-rated Belgian wonderkid leave the club again. So, be prepared to pay somewhere between £20 million and £40 million, with wage demands of approximately £30,000 per week.
Alexis Saelemaekers (141 CA / 159 PA)
Team: AC Milan
Best Position: AMR, MR
Current Ability/Potential Ability: 141 CA / 159 PA
Value: £9.25 million
Best Attributes: 16 Work Rate, 16 Teamwork, 16 Stamina
Capable of playing anywhere on the right-hand side of the pitch, AC Milan took Alexis Saelemaekers on-loan from Anderlecht before paying a minimal fee of £3.15 million to bring him to the San Siro on a permanent deal.
Saelemaekers is another Belgian on this list who has tasted senior international football this season, having made 29 appearances for the Rossoneri, scoring three goals and assisting four more. Playing as a right wing back, the utility man played 90 minutes in Belgium’s 1-1 draw with Côte d’Ivoire.
An incredible athlete, Saelemaekers’ versatility is made possible by his fitness, as shown by his 16 work rate, 16 stamina, and 15 natural fitness. With the right development, his 14 crossing and 13 dribbling could increase by a lot, making him a deadly winger. It is also possible to focus more on the defensive aspect of his game – improving his 12 tackling and 16 teamwork would be beneficial.
Unfortunately, this Belgian wonderkid has only just made his move to AC Milan permanent, meaning that you will have to wait until at least the January transfer window to sign him. It’s unlikely that the three-time UEFA Champions League winners will want to part with one of their brightest talents, so be prepared to spend big.
Sébastiaan Bornauw (131 CA / 155 PA)
Team: FC Köln
Best Position: DC
Current Ability/Potential Ability: 131 CA / 155 PA
Value: £4 million
Best Attributes: 17 Heading, 17 Jumping Reach, 16 Strength
Another product of Anderlecht’s academy, Sébastiaan Bornauw made 24 appearances for his boyhood club before making his move to Bundesliga side FC Köln in 2019. The 191cm central defender was also handed his first cap for the senior national team this year, having earned the captaincy at the under-21 level.
Since his move to the Billy Goats, Bornauw has donned the famous white and red shirt 37 times, scoring six. He has played every minute of the Bundesliga so far this season, and with his large stature, he is a threat in any aerial situation.
Bornauw is the epitome of a good old-fashioned centre back in FM 21. With 17 heading, 17 jumping reach, 16 strength, and 16 bravery, he is already capable of being the rock at the heart of your defence. While this Belgian wonderkid is unlikely to become a great ball-playing defender, he can certainly minimise any aerial threats that the opposing team may deploy against you. With his 15 leadership, he would be a valuable addition to any squad.
Köln are unlikely to part with their dependable wonderkid for anything less than £25 million, and quite understandably so. Bornauw is likely to request a big pay rise when joining your club, too. However, given that he is only earning £13,707 per week on his current contract, it’s doubtful that he will want more than £40,000 per week from your pocket.
Jérémy Doku (120 CA / 150-180 PA)
Team: Stade Rennais FC
Best Position: AML, ST
Current Ability/Potential Ability: 150 CA / -9 (150-180) PA
Value: £5.5 million
Best Attributes: 18 Bravery, 17 Pace, 17 Acceleration
The third product of Anderlecht’s youth academy to rank highly in this list of the best Belgian wonderkids in FM 21, Jérémy Doku recently joined Stade Rennais FC in Ligue 1 for a fee of £23.4 million. At the tender age of 18-years-old, he is already one of the first names on Julien Stéphan’s team-sheet.
Born in Borgerhout, this pacy young winger has made it into Roberto Martínez’s national side five times already, scoring his first senior international goal against Iceland. Doku has been a known top prospect for a while, and was only 16-years-old when he made his debut for Anderlecht. Now, he has elite teams from around the world interested in his signature.
With a potential ability ranging from 150 to 180, Doku will, at the least, be a very good player for most top division sides – but potentially one of the best in the world. With 18 bravery, 17 pace, 17 acceleration, and 16 technique, the Belgian wonderkid has the makings of a dangerous inverted winger. Preferring to cut inside from the left to unleash his 16 flair, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he enjoys besting his man repeatedly and tries to use tricks.
As he has only recently joined Les Rouge et Noir, Doku will be unavailable for transfer in the first transfer window. However, with a previous transfer fee of £23.4 million, consistent game time, and an ever-improving skill set, another transfer would likely take a massive chunk out of most teams’ transfer budget. Should you decide to try and acquire this Belgian wonderkid, however, you will be rewarded with one of the brightest talents in world football.
Maarten Vandevoordt (105 CA / 150-180 PA)
Best Position: GK
Current Ability/Potential Ability: 105 CA / -9 (150-180) PA
Value: £1 million
Best Attributes: 16 Passing, 14 Kicking, 15 Natural Fitness
Aged just 17-years and 287-days-old, Maarten Vandevoordt became the youngest goalkeeper in UEFA Champions League history. Already a Belgian Super Cup and Jupiler Pro League winner at such a young age, as this Belgian wonderkid develops, his goalkeeping skills will almost certainly make him one of the world’s most sought-after players.
Unfortunately for Vandevoordt, he is unlikely to become the first-choice Belgium goalkeeper for a while, due to the current number-one. Thibaut Courtois looks like he has made the spot his own for the foreseeable future, or perhaps at least until Vandevoordt is able to prove himself to be of the same quality as the Real Madrid shot-stopper.
Vandevoordt starts the game with a 105 CA, which isn’t going to be overly reliable for most top-flight clubs. Still, with him being just 18-years-old, there’s plenty of time for him to make cup appearances and fill-in if your first-choice keeper gets injured or suspended.
Despite being so young and not quite first-team ready, the Sint-Truiden-born goalie’s 16 passing, 14 kicking, and 14 reflexes make him a prime candidate for the sweeper-keeper role. With close development and the right set-up, the Belgian wonderkid can easily reach whichever PA rating he receives from his 150 to 180 PA range. Vandevoordt is available to purchase from the start of the game, with Genk asking for a fee of around £15 million to secure one of the best young Belgian players of FM 21.
All the best Belgian wonderkids in FM 21
Below is the table listing all of FM 21’s best Belgian wonderkids, sorted by their potential ability. The ones given a negative potential ability rating have been placed according to their lowest possible PA.
|Name||Age||CA||PA (Range)||Pos. (20)||Team||Wages|
|Zinho Vanheusden||21||126||160||DC||Standard Liège||£23,759|
|Alexis Saelemaekers||21||141||159||MR||AC Milan||£26,712|
|Sébastiaan Bornauw||21||131||155||DC||FC. Köln||£13,707|
|Jérémy Doku||18||120||-9 (150-180)||AML||Stade Rennais FC||£13,707|
|Maarten Vandevoordt||18||105||-9 (150-180)||GK||Genk||£4,112|
|Albert Sambi Lokonga||21||120||150||DM||Anderlecht||£31,984|
|Charles De Ketelaere||19||120||-85 (140-170)||MC||Club Brugge||£7,767|
|Amadou Onana||18||119||-85 (140-170)||MC||Hamburger SV||£3,505|
|Yari Verschaeren||19||117||-85 (140-170)||AMC||Anderlecht||£9,138|
|Aster Vranckx||17||108||-85 (140-170)||MC||KV Mechelen||£2,284|
|Marco Kana||17||108||-85 (140-170)||DM||Anderlecht||£4,569|
|Pierre Dwomoh||16||90||-85 (140-170)||MC||Genk||£1,096|
|Gaëtan Coucke||21||114||140||GK||KV Mechelen||£4,569|
|Xian Emmers||21||110||140||MC||Internazionale Milano (on-loan to Almere City)||£3,400|
Get one of the best young Belgian players of FM 21 in your team, using the table above to make sure that you get a true wonderkid from Belgium.