As we all know, Football Manager loves to predict who the next Ronaldo or Messi will be. Although they have had some accurate predictions such as Norwegian superstar Erling Haaland, they have also had some shocking ones like Freddy Adu and Ravel Morrison. It is very often that FM incorrectly predicts new talent, and today I will be listing the Top 10 Football Manager wonderkids who won’t live up to their FM potential.
10. Ryan Edmondson
Ryan Edmondson is a 17-year-old target man for Leeds United in England. Although he starts off a measly two stars, he quickly develops when given playing time and he turns into a decent Premier League striker. He even bagged 15 league goals for me during Sunderland’s first season in the top flight. However, I do not see the same ceiling that the game gives him. Considering that Leeds have just been promoted, Edmondson will have to compete even more for playing time and most likely will not get the development he needs. I see him playing for a side like Oxford or Bristol in the near future and don’t really envision him doing much outside the Championship. The reason why Edmondson is so high up on the list is that his ceiling is not as high as the rest below him.
9. Ethan Ampadu
Ethan Ampadu is a talented Ball-Playing Defender from Chelsea currently on loan at RB Leipzig. In FM he has significant potential and could feature in almost any side during the peak of his career. I agree with this assessment… HOWEVER, he is about as injury-prone as a 20-year-old prospect can get. In just three years of competitive football, he has missed 236 days for injuries. A nagging back sat him out for 123 days, and this is as problematic as an injury as you could get. Injuries like these don’t have a definite solution and this problem could haunt Ampadu for the entirety of his career. I hope this does not happen as he could be a world talent, but the injuries are a serious concern and because of that he is at #9.
Emerson is a Brazilian Right Wing-Back from Barcelona on loan at Real Betis. This choice pains me as well, as I love to watch this man play. He glides down the pitch with ease and can whip in killer crosses like no one’s business. However, I see his development becoming slowed within the coming years. Unfortunately, Barcelona is in a tough spot in terms of their success, and they need young world-class players now. Emerson is not that type of player just yet. Considering he is also surplus and has to compete behind Nelson Semedo, Sergi Roberto, and Moussa Wague, I predict that he will head to the chopping block very soon. I could see it becoming similar to the Malcolm situation where he goes to a foreign club for a high fee and performs at a high level, but I don’t see him becoming the star of the future at the Camp Nou as FM predicts.
7. Sandro Tonali
Ok, I know I’m going to get shit for this one, but hear me out. I placed Tonali high on the list because I have faith in his ability but I am yet to be convinced that he will be as good as predicted just yet. Currently, he is playing at recently relegated Brescia, and as of right now there is no official interest in his departure. While I’m sure he won’t stay there for the entirety of his career, this will definitely halt Tonali’s development. All the top clubs are rumoured to want a shot at Tonali, but if he goes from second-division Italian football to playing in the Champions League, I don’t see a smooth transition. There is absolutely potential for him to be the second coming of Pirlo as he is being dubbed, but he needs to make the right moves for his personal development, or else I see him falling flat of the bright future ahead of him.
6. Ryan Sessegnon
Sessegnon is a fairly bland prediction, but a rather straight forward one as I see it. After tearing it up in the Championship at Fulham, a big-money move for Sessegnon was arranged to Tottenham. However, he has not nearly been able to carry on his previous success at the top flight. As he is a player that can play anywhere on the left, he does not particularly stand out in any category. His defence is sub-par for a Premier League left-back, his passing is ok but not necessarily great, and his finishing in the final third is well below average. In totality, I see a future flop in Ryan Sessegnon and don’t expect what FM does of him.
5. Daniel Arzani
Daniel Arzani is a bit of an odd one compared to other names on this list. The Australian winger was on loan at Celtic from Man City this past season. Don’t get it twisted, this kid has potential. One of the youngest to ever play in a World Cup, Arzani is one of the only promising stars coming from the “land down under”. A pacey winger that loves to dribble his way into the box, Arzani has shown flashes of excellence in his short senior-level career. But, just like everyone else on this list, he has a caveat. I-N-J-U-R-I-E-S. An ACL tear sidelined him for 457 days, and as almost any doctor will tell you, this injury is about the worst for any athlete. It’s a recurring injury and can weaken the leg, and it often ruins the confidence of an athlete. As a result, I see this injury hampering Arzani’s potential bright career, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you see him floating around the Championship or outside Europe’s top 5 leagues.
4. Moise Kean
Moise Kean is a bit of a coin-flip to be fair. Man was banging in goals left, right, and centre for Juve (or Zebre…) during his final season there, yet he goes to Everton and is a ghost of himself. He even got brought on as a sub in the 70th min one game, just to be taken off 10 mins later. This can absolutely obliterate a player’s confidence, and Kean never really found his form at Goodison Park. For me, I think this will ruin the swagger that used to rock in the white and black stripes. Moise Kean is a talented player nonetheless but his lack of form along with his loss of confidence raises doubts to if he will live up to his 4-star potential.
3. Matteo Guendouzi
Matteo Guendouzi is a bit of a puzzling one when it comes to FM stats vs real life. In-game he is given 17 teamwork and 10 leadership, yet he is getting kicked out of the club due to attitude problems. Countless teammates and former coaches have complained about his cockiness and inability to work with others, which they believe to be his potential downfall. I am always one to believe that no one person is bigger than the squad or club with the only exception being Lionel Messi, so a player like Guendouzi acting this way raises major red flags for me.
If you don’t have the mental aspect to carry yourself properly on the pitch or in the dressing room, then you don’t deserve to wear the badge for any team. Also, all the world’s great players have a great supporting cast of teammates around them who support each other. With Guendouzi’s toxic mentality, I don’t see him ever living up to his full potential. Instead, in 10 years I see a washed-up Guendouzi bouncing around mid-table La Liga since his talent never caught up to his ego.
2. Karamoko Dembele
Karamoko Dembele is another young talent who I hope I am incorrect about. A 16-year-old winger currently at Celtic, Dembele is one of the most well-known teenagers on the rise. Unfortunately, like others on this list, I do not see Karamoko living up to his five-star potential. His diminutive figure is cause for significant concern, as he only stands a mere 5’3. Granted, he is only 16 years old and still has time to grow, but I would be surprised if he grew a significant amount more. Also, considering the fact he is featuring in the first-team this early, I wouldn’t be surprised if his developmental progress was seriously halted as he is not getting as much match experience. And for those of you saying, “But Jack, he’s 16 and playing in the first-team at Celtic! He has to be good!” Yes… sort of. He has only made three league appearances, with no goals or assists to his name. Also, first-team exposure at a young age is not always great for young players. For example, take a look at Bojan Krkic and Freddy Adu, both were FM superstars that were exposed to their respective top-flights at a young age. Now both are wasting away their years in the MLS and USL respectively. I think Karamoko Dembele could have an ok career ahead of him, but due to his lack of size and overhype at a young age, I certainly do not see a five-star player here.
- Fabio Silva
Now this selection is definitely the one I feel most confident about. Silva is rising up through the Porto ranks and from the various Youtube videos I have been able to find of him, he looks like a stud no doubt. BUT, every save I have in the Premier League, this man is bought by Man City at the age of 19 and he immediately bags 30 plus goals a season. Numbers like these for anyone, let alone a 19-year-old, are unheard of. While I can’t personally make a definitive assessment of the type of player he will become, I am certain that he won’t be tearing it up like the game is predicting. In fact, I am so confident about this, I will put out a wager. If Fabio Silva has a 30 goal season in either the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, or Serie A before the age of 25, I will shave his number into the back of my head. While I will concede that Silva is a talented prospect, this is about players who won’t live up to their FM potential and I just do not see Silva replicating his in-game success on the pitch.