Offering plenty of cover to your back-line, the defensive midfielder’s key role is to stop the opposition before they can even get going, breaking up the play further afield before unleashing devastating counter-attacks.
We’re looking at the next generation of defensive midfielders in this article, in particular the players boasting the highest potential in FM22.
Choosing the best young defensive midfielders (DM) on FM22
On this page, you’ll find the best young stars in the defensive midfielder position, with Boubacar Kamara, Sandro Tonali, and Hugo Guillamón among the top in FM22.
To be considered for this article as a wonderkid the players had to be 21 years old at most, with a minimum potential ability of 150 PA whilst holding a positional rating of 19 at DM.
At the foot of the page, you’ll find a full list of all of the best young defensive midfielders (DM) in FM22.
1. Sandro Tonali (147 CA / 173 PA)
Team: AC Milan
Current Ability / Potential Ability: 147 CA / 173 PA
Wage: £36,500 p/w
Value: £35 million
Best Positions: DM, MC
Best Attributes: 15 Technique, 15 First Touch, 15 Aggression
Possessing a superb 147 CA and 173 PA, 21-year-old Sandro Tonali is a top pick for any club looking to bolster their midfield.
At such a young age, Tonali holds outstanding defensive attributes with his 14 vision, 14 tackling, and 14 positioning showcasing his ability in the art. He’s also more than capable in the technical side of the game, be it dictating play with his 14 passing and 14 vision or driving the team forward with his 15 first touch, 13 dribbling, and 14 work rate ratings.
AC Milan’s Italian prodigy, Sandro Tonali signed from his boyhood club Brescia at the start of the 2021/22 season following a successful loan spell at the San Siro. He spent last season on loan at AC Milan and featured heavily, playing 37 games, helping the club to a second-place finish despite not contributing any goals or assists throughout the campaign.
2. Albert Sambi Lokonga (137 CA / 165 PA)
Current Ability / Potential Ability: 137 CA / 165 PA
Wage: £50,000 p/w
Value: £28 million
Best Positions: DM, MC
Best Attributes: 16 Teamwork, 15 Work Rate, 15 First Touch
21-year-old Albert Sambi Lokonga has the second-highest fixed potential rating in FM22, and with a 165 PA backed up by his 137 CA he could easily hold down a spot in midfield for some of the top clubs in the game.
He starts the game showing the makings of a tireless force in midfield thanks to his 15 work rate and 14 stamina ratings, while he can also easily form partnerships in midfield due to his 16 teamwork attribute. Lokonga’s 13 tackling, 11 marking, and 11 positioning are areas in need of strengthening but with plenty of experience and training, he’ll soon become a world-class ball-winning midfielder.
A product of Anderlecht’s academy, the Belgian wonderkid signed for Premier League club Arsenal in July 2021, and his impressive performances have also earned him a call-up to the national side. Last season the 21-year-old played a key role in midfield for Anderlecht, scoring three goals and assisting three more from the 37 games he played.
3. Boubacar Kamara (136 CA / 159 PA)
Current Ability / Potential Ability: 136 CA / 159 PA
Wage: £43,300 p/w
Value: £25 million
Best Positions: DC, DM
Best Attributes: 15 Work Rate, 15 Tackling, 15 Pace
Boubacar Kamara’s 136 CA and 159 PA are enough to make him a top pick on their own, but combine them with the fact that he’s just 21 years old with his contract expiring in 2022, and he becomes a very tempting signing.
The standout attribute of Kamara is his ability to defend, while his 14 marking, 15 tackling, and 13 positioning are a fantastic base to grow from. He’s another player who could prove to be an engine in midfield due to his 14 stamina and 15 work rate ratings, and getting him in the gym to improve his 12 strength can only improve his potency as a DM.
Rising through the ranks of the Olympique Marseille academy, Boubacar Kamara first debuted for the Ligue 1 side when he was just 17 years old. Since then he’s gone from strength to strength and last season played 43 games contributing two assists, as he continues his development.
4. Maxence Caqueret (133 CA / 156 PA)
Current Ability / Potential Ability: 133 CA / 156 PA
Wage: £16,400 p/w
Value: £22 million
Best Positions: DM, MC, AMC
Best Attributes: 16 Work Rate, 16 Stamina, 15 Passing
21-year-old Maxence Caqueret weighs in with the fourth highest potential in FM22, and his respectable 133 CA and great 156 PA make him a star in the making.
The young midfielder is already equipped with a fantastic engine, and his 16 work rate and 16 stamina make him a nightmare to play against despite his lacklustre 10 strength. To go with his impressive work rate, Caqueret’s 15 vision, 15 passing, and 15 technique give him a keen eye for a pass.
Maxence Coqueret is a product of Olympique Lyon’s academy and has been staking a claim for a spot in the first team since his Ligue 1 debut in 2019. His impressive performances haven’t gone unnoticed and last season he played 33 games, providing one assist along the way as he strives for an international call-up.
5. Gustavo Assunção (125 CA / 156 PA)
Team: Famalicão (On-loan at Galatasaray)
Current Ability / Potential Ability: 125 CA / 156 PA
Wage: £1,900 p/w
Value: £16 million
Best Positions: DM, MC
Best Attributes: 15 Technique, 15 Teamwork, 15 Passing
Although he’s not available to sign in your first season, 21-year-old Gustavo Assunção will benefit from another season of football and grow from his 125 CA toward his excellent 156 PA.
Assunção’s attributes give him a great technical edge to his game, with 15 technique, 15 passing, and 14 first touch ratings making him more than adept with the ball at his feet and spreading the play. Backing up his defensive ratings of 13 tackling and 13 positioning are superb mental attributes in his 15 composure and 14 decisions.
The Brazilian midfielder spent his youth career bouncing between clubs including Porto, São Paulo, and Atlético Madrid, progressing through the latter’s youth sides before being released and signing for Famalicão on a free transfer in 2019. He joined Turkish side Galatasaray on-loan for the 21/22 season. The talented youngster featured heavily for Famalicão last season playing in 28 games, grabbing a goal and an assist along the way, as his side finished 9th in Portugal’s topflight.
6. Hugo Guillamón (127 CA / 155 PA)
Current Ability / Potential Ability: 127 CA / 155 PA
Wage: £7,000 p/w
Value: £14.5 million
Best Positions: DC, DM, MC
Best Attributes: 15 Determination, 14 Stamina, 14 Work Rate
The versatile 21-year-old Hugo Guillamón’s 127 CA and 155 PA, plus his ability to cover at centre back and centre midfielder along with defensive midfielder, make him a brilliant prospect.
On the cusp of being ready to play for an elite club, Guillamón’s 12 tackling, 12 marking, and 12 positioning will only improve with game time. Paired with his defensive ability is a natural affinity to pick a pass, with his 13 vision and 13 passing allowing him to find teammates with ease.
Another player currently on the books at their boyhood club, Guillamón made his debut for Valencia in the 19/20 season. He ended the campaign in fine form and has continued to stake a claim for a first-team spot and even made his debut for Spain at the start of this season. Continuing his development in La Liga last season the 21-year-old featured 27 times, chipping in with a goal, and furthering his case as a top talent in world football.
7. Florentino Luís (132 CA / 155 PA)
Team: Benfica (On-loan at Getafe)
Current Ability / Potential Ability: 132 CA / 155 PA
Wage: £15,700 p/w
Value: £13 million
Best Positions: DM, MC
Best Attributes: 17 Tackling, 17 Teamwork, 16 Positioning
Another player who’ll spend a year gaining first-team experience before arriving at your club, Florentino Luís is a 21-year-old talent with a 132 CA and 155 PA and a penchant for defending.
The pick of this young man’s attributes lies with his 17 tackling, 16 positioning, and 17 teamwork, all of which lend themselves to his brilliant capabilities. Although Luís isn’t the most technically gifted of midfielders with 11 technique, 10 dribbling, and 10 vision, he makes up for it with his incredible 16 concentration, 16 anticipation, and 14 decisions.
The Portuguese talent is a product of Liga Nos giants Benfica. He spent last term on loan with Monaco in search of first-team football and it’s the same story this season with the 21-year-old joining La Liga side Getafe on loan. His loan spell with Monaco last season wasn’t a raging success by any means, with Luís restricted to just 11 games throughout the campaign.
All of the best young central defensive midfielders (DM) wonderkids on FM22
In the table below, you’ll find all of the best young DMs in FM22, sorted by their potential ability.
|Player||PA (Range)||CA||Age||Position||Team||Wage (p/w)||Value|
|Sandro Tonali||173||147||21||DM, MC||AC Milan||£36,500||£35 million|
|Albert Sambi Lokonga||165||137||21||DM, MC||Arsenal||£50,000||£28 million|
|Boubacar Kamara||159||136||21||DC, DM||Marseille||£43,300||£25 million|
|Maxence Caqueret||156||133||21||DM, MC, AMC||Lyon||£16,400||£22 million|
|Gustavo Assunção||156||125||21||DM, MC||Famalicão (On-loan at Galatasaray)||£1,900||£16 million|
|Hugo Guillamón||155||127||21||DC, DM, MC||Valencia||£7,000||£14.5 million|
|Florentino Luís||155||132||21||DM, MC||Benfica (On-loan at Getafe)||£15,700||£13 million|
|Patrick de Paula||153||128||21||DM, MC||SEP||£8,250||£6 million|
|Nicolò Fagioli||152||114||20||DM, MC, AMC||Zebre (On-loan at Cremonese)||£7,500||£900,000|
|José Gragera||152||118||21||DM, MC||Sporting Gijón||£5,250||£4.2 million|
|Angelo Stiller||150||124||20||DM, MC||Hoffenheim||£12,800||£7 million|
|Monchu||150||132||21||DM, MC||Granada||£3,600||£9 million|
|Nicolò Rovella||-9 (150-180)||129||19||DM, MC||Zebre (On-loan at Genoa)||£30,000||£10.5 million|
|Rafael Luis||-85 (140-170)||77||16||DM, MC||Benfica||£55||£200,000|
|Dário Essugo||-85 (140-170)||90||16||DM, MC||Sporting CP||£2,500||£325,000|
|Junior Bita||-85 (140-170)||80||16||DM, MC||Athletic Bilbao||£500||£190,000|
|Amadou Onana||-85 (140-170)||119||19||DC, DM, MC||Lille||£4,700||£5.2 million|
|Nico||-85 (140-170)||130||19||DM, MC||Barcelona||£10,900||£12 million|
|Nicolas Seiwald||-85 (140-170)||124||20||DM, MC||RB Salzburg||£1,200||£9.2 million|
|Kenneth Taylor||-85 (140-170)||119||19||DC, DM M (RLC)||Ajax||£2,100||£10 million|
|Oliver Skipp||-85 (140-170)||135||20||DM, MC||Tottenham||£25,000||£41 million|
|Manuel Ugarte||-85 (140-170)||135||20||DM, MC||Sporting CP||£12,400||£21 million|
|Unai Vencedor||-85 (140-170)||135||20||DM, MC||Athletic Bilbao||£17,500||£24 million|
If you’re looking to shore up your midfielder with a defensive playmaker, you’ll find the best young talents in the table above.