I recently wrote a post about a few defensive midfielders I expected to stand out in Football Manager 2016 — you can check it out here; I’ve written about the attributes, preferred positions, and potential of Matias Kranevitter, Lucas Romero, Victor Wanyama, Sven Bender and more excellent ball-winners and deep-lying playmakers. The article quickly became by far the most popular one on my blog, and gave me the idea of writing more player profiles, since fellow FM-ers seem incredibly keen on using the existing FM community to assist their due diligence and scouting process.
I’m currently seven seasons into my primary save on FM16, and am in charge of Manchester United; During this time, I’ve come across some spectacular young talents who are guaranteed to achieved stardom in the game and in real life over the next decade. In this article, I’ll briefly discuss over 40 of the best teenagers, categorized by playing position — I’ll look at their attributes as of June 2022, when they’ve had a good few years to develop and reach their full potential, given they’ll be between 24 and 27 years old. Looking at their careers in my save will hopefully give you a good idea of their expected career paths and how you can get the best out of them.
Given there are over 40 teenagers on this shortlist, I’ll divide it into four — potentially even five — parts; in this first article, I’ll deal with some of the most talented wonderkid goalkeepers in the game. I hope this helps you choose your man in between the sticks for the next decade!
I should mention here that the star ratings for potential are deceptively low; these keepers are being compared to David de Gea, in goal for my Manchester United side that has won six Premier League titles and four Capital One Cups in a row, reached three European Champions Cup finals in a row, winning two, and won two FA Cups. Some high standards, in short.
The goalkeepers covered in this post are: Predrag Rajkovic, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Bartlomiej Dragowski, Vanja Milinkovic Savic, Fabrizio Alastra, Simone Scuffet, and Anthony Maisonnial.
Club: Maccabi Tel Aviv | Nationality: Serbian | Position: GK | Age: 20
The 19-year-old Serbian just about sneaks onto this list given he’s a teenager for just a few months of the 2015-16 season, and definitely deserves to be labelled one of the brightest prospects in the game. He has been tremendous on my save, average above 7.00 in EVERY season so far, no mean feat considering goalkeepers rarely get rated like the outfield players, and are also the most prone to making silly errors.
Rajkovic’s is known for his superb communication and control of the penalty area; his biggest strengths are his Command of Area (17), Anticipation (18), Handling (16), and Reflexes (16), but he truly stands out for his One-on-Ones (18). Combined with his superb Mental attributes, especially Positioning (17), Decisions (15), and Concentration (16), this makes him a great Sweeper Keeper as well, for those who prefer that role. His Anticipation and One-on-Ones also enable the team to play with a higher defensive line, since he is comfortable with rushing out; indeed, he is aggressive in coming off his line. With some work on his Passing, he could develop into a truly stupendous keeper.
As I mentioned, he has been incredible in my save, conceding 255 goals in 310 appearances in all competitions at club level, with 62 caps for Serbia. His pass completion percentages are relatively poor, hovering in the 53-58% range. However, if I was looking to replace David de Gea in my Manchester United side, Rajkovic would probably be my first choice.
Club: AC Milan | Nationality: Italian | Position: GK | Age: 16
Possibly the most famous 16-year-old footballer in the world since Real Madrid’s Norwegian starlet Martin Odegaard, big things are expected of Donnarumma; you would have to be living under a rather big rock to not have heard of FM-ers bidding tens of millions of pounds, and with good reason.
One look at Donnarumma’s attributes in 2015 suggest a fantastic prospect; in 2022, aged 23, the standout attributes are Aerial Reach (20), Jumping Reach (19), and Strength (19), and it comes as no surprise that the 6’6″ Italian’s greatest strength is dealing with crosses and high balls into the penalty area. Tactically, this seems to indicate the possibility of allowing your full-backs to push further up the pitch when your team is in possession, since crosses may not present a major goal-scoring threat. His mental attributes, most of which are either 13 or 14, leave a little room for improvement.
Unfortunately Donnarumma hasn’t quite captured my imagination on my save; seven years on, he is still at AC Milan, and has made 66 senior appearances over six seasons, conceding 87 goals with a highest season average rating of 6.68, measly even by goalkeepers’ usual standards. Even so, I imagine he would be a decent buy at £825,000 on a weekly wage of £42,500. You can expect him to mature even more, and perform much better in a human-controlled team, and I don’t believe many FM-ers would be dissuaded from taking a punt on him.
Watch an excellent video of Donnarumma in action here.
Club: Jagiellonia Bialystok | Nationality: Polish | Position: GK | Age: 18
Blame it on Wojciech Szczesny, Artur Boruc and Lukasz Fabianski, but don’t be fooled by the fact that Bartlomiej Dragowski has an unimpressive three senior Polish caps to his name at age 24; he’s an excellent goalkeeper, has played for Barcelona, and for Benfica in the final of the European Champions Cup, and as the screenshot shows, is valued at between £36,000,000 and £50,000,000 thanks to a long-term contract at the Portuguese giants.
The Pole is a well-rounded keeper whose biggest strengths are his reliability and shot-stopping, with key attributes of Reflexes, Aerial Reach, and Positioning (all 17). He has had a travelled career in my save, having been picked up by Barcelona ‘B’ in 2016 following two appearances with Jagiellonia, indicating even the AI’s believe in his long-term potential. He has played in the Premier League on loan at Derby County, making 25 league appearances as the Rams finished in 9th, their best Premier League finish since 1999.
The 2021-22 season was Dragowski’s best, as he kept 19 shutouts in 34 appearances for Benfica, conceding 23. He was especially impressive in the European Champions Cup, holding 25 saves and parrying 15 in 11 appearances, 6 of which he ended with shutouts.
With adequate training in Passing and First Touch, he can be an assured keeper for a medium- to large-sized European club.
Check this video for highlights of Dragowski’s career so far.
Vanja Milinkovic Savic
Club: Manchester United | Nationality: Serbian | Position: GK | Age: 18
While all of the other keepers on this shortlist are capable of playing at the very highest level, I have chosen to add Milinkovic Savic as he offers some variety to this list; an accomplished goalkeeper in his own right, he couldn’t force his way past David de Gea in my United side, through no major fault of his own.
Milinkovic Savic has a decent range of 13-15 in most important attributes, but his 6’8″ frame and Aerial Reach of 17 catch the eye, and make him highly adept at dealing with crosses and high balls into the area. Like Donnarumma, this would potentially allow you to play with more attacking full-backs, given the presence of an assured collector of crosses.
A possible red flag in his profile would be his relatively high susceptibility to injuries; over seven seasons in the save, he has missed a total of almost eight months of football through injury, most of which have occurred in training.
Milinkovic Savic has been decent in my save, conceding 125 goals in 123 appearances for Manchester United (24 in 23), Huddersfield and Fulham (5 in 5).
A final note on the keeper: in real life, he has not received a British work permit, and has a contract with Polish club Lechia Gdansk beginning January 2016; future updates to FM16 may reflect this.
Club: Palermo | Nationality: Italian | Position: Goalkeeper | Age: 18
Alastra has possibly the most consistent set of core attributes of any player on this list, and the only real standouts are Reflexes (16) and Agility (16), making him an excellent shot-stopper. His Aerial Reach (15) and Jumping Reach (15) also enable him to claim crosses, and Alastra is an excellent commander of the box.
The Italian begins the game at 18, and has made 87 appearances for Palermo, conceding 111 goals and keeping 21 shutouts. In the 2021-22 Serie A campaign, he kept 11 shutouts in 38 appearances.
Club: Udinese | Nationality: Italian | Position: GK | Age: 19
Miles Jacobson, the long-time director of the Football Manager series and supervisor of every feature of the game, recently commented in an interview that this Italian goal-keeper is one of the first wonderkids he looks to sign on every FM16 save; the 19-year-old has also been considered one of the brightest young prospects in the position by a number of features and articles, including one by FIFA itself, making him a managerial must-have in the long-term.
Scuffet is the model of consistency, and has been a highly reliable presence in goal for Udinese and Fiorentina in my save. He is excellent across the board, and his strongest trait is his ability to be in the right place at the right time; his Anticipation (16), Concentration (18), and Positioning (17) in 2022 are superb, as expected. He has made 318 professional appearances, conceding 289, which is a decent record given Udinese finished as low as 7th and 8th while he was there, while Fiorentina finished 5th in his first season. He was undoubtedly the best keeper in the Serie A in the 2021-22 season, keeping 19 shutouts in 38 games.
One point to note about Scuffet is that he won’t be available in the 2015-16 season, having been sent on loan to Como in Serie B. 2016 onwards, however, he should be a major priority for your side.
Watch this video to see 15 great saves by the future star.
Club: AS Saint-Etienne | Nationality: French | Position: GK | Age: 17
A very talented French goalkeeper who is guaranteed to make it big, Maisonnial develops into a well-rounded keeper with superb attributes.
Entering his second season of professional football in the French Ligue 1, Maisonnial has the potential to be an outstanding distributor of the ball, thanks to Kicking (17) and Throwing (17), and his Jumping Reach (18) and Strength (20) at age 25 mean he is comfortable collecting crosses; however, the strongest aspect of his game is undoubtedly his ability in One on One situations (18).
Maisonnial goes on to have quite the career in my save, turning out for Bayern Munich and Real Madrid and becoming the French No1; in the 120 club games he has played as of October 2023, he has conceded a whopping 150 goals, which can be explained by the fact that most of his career has been at Saint-Etienne and Stuttgart, neither of whom have done well. While his valuation may be a tad over the top, Maisonnial is still one of the best keepers in the game, and the fact that he begins the game at 17, and is continuing to develop at 25 means he could well be in goal for 20 years.
If you found this article useful, check back in a few days to read about some of the best teenage defenders, midfielders, wingers and strikers in the game!