When looking at a game of football from a Layman’s point of view, more often than not, it is the defenders and the attackers that get the most attention. Whilst both of those positions are vital to any team’s success, it is what happens between the two, which makes the difference. The midfielders cover the central third of the pitch and act as the core of the team. Whatever happens here defines the movement of all the players, the tempo they play at and the mentality they play with. They act almost like the bridge between attack and defense, without the midfield, the whole team collapses. So, here we brought you a list of the best young midfielders of Soccer Manager 2022.
Along with the importance of the position itself, the age of the players is a key factor in forming long-term benefits. Youth players have always been the most sought after because the most likely direction of development is up. We have compiled a list of 10 of the best young midfielders that SM22 managers can sign for their clubs. Whilst they come at a high price, they will eventually reap both short-term and long-term benefits. Since a list of 10 is not sufficient to do justice for the huge variety of players in the SM22 database, there is a list of yet more quality youth midfielders at the bottom of the page, who can also make a difference to your team.
Best Young Midfielders in Soccer Manager 2022
1. Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona)
Many of Barcelona’s starter players could be on their way out of the club with the cloud of financial debt towering above the club. Despite being one of the more respected members of the team, Frenkie De Jong could be on his way out, considering he is wanted by many top European clubs already. The Dutchman has done his best to help Barcelona since his £77 million from Ajax a couple of years ago, but couldn’t do it all by himself. Despite that, De Jong sees himself as one of the best midfielders in Soccer Manager 2022, with a crazy overall rating of 90. As expected, Barca will not let go of De Jong that easily in SM22, and a heavy price must be paid for his services. Nevertheless, this is the top level of a marquee signing for any club and will no doubt, have a huge impact.
2. Nicolo Barella (Inter Milan)
Barella was a key starter to Italy’s winning run in the Euros last year and gained huge popularity for his consistent performances. His 2020/21 season was a dream come true when he won both the Serie A title with Inter and the Euros competition with Italy. Now that the world of football has clearly seen his impact, it’s likely a range of top European clubs will come knocking on his door sooner or later. In SM22, his rating of 87 makes him the second-best on the list already, and his high potential will easily make him one of the best in his position in a few years’ time on the game.
3. Federico Valverde (Real Madrid)
Valverde has been one of the many rising stars in world football, establishing himself in a naturally competitive Real Madrid side. His importance to the team whenever he plays is visible, and his performances both for the club and for the country have attracted interest from a range of top European clubs in various leagues. SM22 has generously granted Valverde a very strong rating of 86, and at just 22 years old, he’s one of the best value players in his role both short term and long term.
4. Declan Rice (West Ham)
Although not playing for a club with a strong European presence, Rice has shined on the domestic level with West Ham, and on an international level with England. He’s worked his way up to the position he is in, climbing up through the West Ham youth academy to now being a guaranteed starter. His stellar performances in the Euros 2020 raised some eyebrows, and it’s possible Rice gets a move elsewhere soon enough. At just 22 years old, the Englishman has shown strong leadership qualities, and could well be a future captain for any side.
5. Ismael Bennacer (AC Milan)
One of the less spoken-about youngsters in world football is Ishmael Bennacer, who has been working hard over in the Serie A with AC Milan. One of the things you may not be aware of about the Algerian is he was actually picked up by Arsenal all the way back in 2015/16. He was first introduced to football by French club AC Arles and was then transferred to the Arsenal youth team. A few seasons and a loan move later, the Gunners cashed in on the midfielder in 2017/18, selling Bennacer to Empoli. Then in the space of another two seasons, he earned a big move to Italian giants AC Milan. At an overall rating of 81, Bennacer is a great midfielder with a long career to look forward to and would make a good signing for the competing clubs.
6. Pedri Gonzalez (Barcelona)
This year’s Golden Boy award was handed to Pedri Gonzalez from Barcelona and this was assumed the correct decision by many football fans. His 73 games last season for club and country is the most out of any other European player, and all that at just 18 years old. Pedri is regarded as one of the key stars in Barcelona’s golden generation and has been since his £18 million move from Las Palmas two seasons ago. His contributions in SM22 are without a doubt, invaluable, as Pedri can operate in a variety of positions. Both of his feet are equally as strong as well, adding the cherry on top. The Spaniard will be one of the top-tier midfielders for years to come.
7. Sandro Tonali (AC Milan)
Tonali was one of the popular wonder-kids a few years back, and it now looks as though he is slowly building up to his potential. He started playing football way back in 2012/13, where he would have been just 12/13 years old, where he got his first transfer to the Italian club, Brescia. Years of hard work meant that Tonali climbed the ranks at Brescia, progressing from the youth side, to the U17, then the U19 then finally the first team. In 2020/21, European giants AC Milan took their opportunity and snapped up the 21-year-old for a total fee of just over 15 million. Since then, Tonali has played over 60 games for AC Milan and earned another 6 caps for the Italian national team as well. SM22 has awarded the youngster a generous 80 overall rating, but also a hefty price tag to go with it.
8. Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)
Bellingham broke a record last Summer on the stage of the Euros 2020 after becoming the youngest player to ever represent his nation, England, at a major competition. He is now just 18 years old and is still one of the most sought-after players on the planet. At a base rating of 79, Bellingham may not be the best short-term fix for your midfield issues, but he will certainly turn out to be a fantastic investment as he has a huge career ahead of him.
9. Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid)
Camavinga recently made the switch to La Liga giants, Real Madrid in the summer transfer window, on a fee of just under £30 million. It was a solid piece of business from Real, who managed to snap up the promising youngster just as he was nearing the end of his contract. The 79 overall may not be sufficient for Camavinga to make it straight into the starting line-up of the many top European clubs in SM22. However, at just 18 years old, he’s got a huge potential to play towards. Managers will have to wait a while though since Camavinga has only recently signed a new contract.
10. Marc Cucurella (Brighton)
Brighton made a surprising move in the transfer window last summer after they activated the release clause in Cucurella’s contract. They signed the Spaniard for just over £15 million, a very good price in the current market. Cucurella was initially introduced to professional football through Barcelona, before being moved to multiple different clubs, 4 to be precise, in the space of 4 seasons. Being the only wide Midfielder on the list, finding a player like Cucurella in the initial stages of the game will be difficult. He is young, offers high potential, can be deployed in almost all the left-sided positions, and plays in a pretty unique role as well.
Other Best Young Midfielders in Soccer Manager 2022
What you see above is merely just the tip of the iceberg. SM22 has a huge database of quality youth midfielders, and a list of the top 10 would not do the rest justice. Below is a table of yet more under 24s that are all talented editions to any squad, and have a high potential to build towards in the future.
Note: All values and data were taken close to the release of the game, and are subject to change throughout the season. The numbers in the table may not match exactly with those in the game.
Did you find our guide on the best young midfielders of Soccer Manager 2022 helpful? Do let us know in the comments section below!