Unless you're playing as a huge club in Football Manager 14, which is admittedly a lot of fun, finding the best bargains is crucial to success. If you can buy young talent for cheap, you'll be on the road to victory without bankrupting your club. So who are the best young players to purchase for mid to top level clubs?
The following 5 players are those who I've found a lot of success with and will not cost you much. They should be available for anywhere between 3 to 8 million pounds (keep in mind that's the currency I'm using if you're not) depending on when you try to buy them--reasonable targets for a big team, those fighting for European competition qualification, or even mid-level clubs with some cash to spend.
Many are from the Americas, because clubs there aren't big enough to say no to multi-million pound transfer offers and the players won't demand high wages. Keep in mind for players to reach their full potential, they need playing time at a club with good facilities in a good league if you're going to loan them, and you need to train their attributes in a specific role if they're staying with your team. Without further ado:
1. Carlos Fierro, Striker
This young Mexican goal-scorer starts the game as a 19 year-old on C.D. Guadalajara. Your scout, if he's any good, will tell you he has around 4 to 4.5 star potential (star ratings are compared to your players, so it varies depending on your strikers) for most teams. His attributes are solid with room to grow, but believe me when I say he's worth it simply because he scores. I've purchased him for anywhere between 2.5 to 4.5 million pounds, your number may vary.
Even at 19, I've plugged him into multiple teams and seen him put the ball into the back of the net on a consistent basis, even at a higher rate than some better, more developed strikers. Starting off that good is great, because he only gets better. His attributes don't appear as sky-high (though still very good) as some others' might, but he seems to always score regardless, and they keep increasing. One area he does stand out in is speed--his acceleration, pace and agility can get up to 17 out of 20. The game suggests he play as an advanced forward, which probably works, but I've had the most success playing him as a trequartista. He'll score goals, and there aren't many better young strikers, let alone for so cheap.
2. Samuel Umtiti, Center Back
Buy Umtiti, regardless of what club you are. I'm not sure how realistically it reflects his real-life potential, but he's one of the best defenders in the game period, never mind for someone so young. I think only Varane is better off the bat, but since he plays for Real Madrid, that would cost you quite a bit. The player was born in Cameroon, but holds French nationality and plays for Olympique Lyonnais, making him one of the more difficult players on this list to acquire becaus they're a fairly large club. You should still be able to pry him away for a relatively low cost of around 5-7 million pounds, but it depends when you go for it.
His attributes are great defensively (and only go up--I'm talking 17s and 18s in Marking, Positioning, Strength, Composure and Heading within 2 years), but one of the reasons he does so well is a penchant to score goals off corners. Play Umtiti on a simple role of Central Defender on a duty of Cover, and he'll always play well for your team.
3. Lucas Romero, Central Midfielder
Another 19 year old, Romero is an Argentinian central midfielder who plays for Vélez Sársfield. He excels in a box-to-box support or deep-lying playmaker role, though I think he's better suited to the former. He's a very well-balanced player, with good all-around attributes (14s, 15s or higher in most stats even at around 20 years old) and especially high stamina and determination, making him a good choice to run the length of the field and support the team in a variety of ways. He can also slot in as a defensive midfielder, making him that much more useful in a pinch, or you could train him in that position as a ball-winning midfielder.
I've purchased Romero for as little as 3.5 million pounds, though he can cost you a bit more or go to a big club if you wait too many seasons. Not many players in the game have such solid attributes all around, and he has them at a very young age. Almost everything increases as he develops, so just keep playing him. His match rating might not jump off the screen depending on your system, but it's hard to find a better player in the position.
4. Dória, Center Back
Another central defender who's worth picking up early hailing from Brazil, where he plays for Botafogo. He's only 18 at the start of the first season, so depending on what team you're managing he may need to be loaned out for a season or two before he's ready. But if you're not a top team (and even sometimes if you are depending on your other options) I would just play him so he develops.
I will admit, it's possible he ends up costing a bit more than 6, 7 or 8 million (it varies in every instance of a save file and when you try go buy him, so it's impossible to give an exact amount), but he's too good to leave off the list of great young players. His attributes develop in a similar way to Umtiti's, but a little earlier. Doria is a great young option for relatively cheap, and if you can afford to spend the extra on him if it's required, I would go for it. These are potential world class players I'm talking about here, and can send your team from good to great if you make the investment.
5. Agustín Allione, Right Winger
I tried to round off the list with a wide player, and Allione is one of the most affordable players with great potential. In terms of whose attributes jump off the page once they develop, Allione's become pretty phenomenal and he can get really high match ratings. They start off good, if modest, between 11 and 15 as an 18 year old, but become impressive in about two years, and then he'll keep getting better for another few seasons.
You can buy Allione in the first season for around 4 million pounds, and I would recommend doing it then, because he tends to get purchased from Vélez Sársfield (the same club you'll find Romero at--what's in the water there?) by a big team. He's lightning fast with great crossing, dribbling and technique, though his finishing stat could use some work. He has the potential to get some great match ratings and score goals, even if there are better wingers in the game for way more money--play him as a WInger on an Attack duty.
Those are the 5 players I can recommend on a budget, some of whom you should buy even if you've got a loaded transfer budget. Your mileage may vary according to what club you are, when you try to purchase them, and your tactics, but they have some of the highest potentials and performance levels of any players available.
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