Joshua Zirkzee, Tanguy Nianzou, Armel Bella-Kotchap, Gio Reyna and Josko Gvardiol (l-r.) are just five of the most promising Bundesliga youngsters in Football Manager 21. - © DFL
Joshua Zirkzee, Tanguy Nianzou, Armel Bella-Kotchap, Gio Reyna and Josko Gvardiol (l-r.) are just five of the most promising Bundesliga youngsters in Football Manager 21. - © DFL

5 Bundesliga wonderkids to sign on Football Manager 21


With this season’s Football Manager out and in stores, we look at five Bundesliga wonderkids that you should sign as you shape your FM21 squads - from Joshua Zirkzee to Gio Reyna and Josko Gvardiol.

So once you’ve settled into your new save and are making your first forays into the transfer market, here are five youngsters to help shape your Football Manager dynasty.

Joshua Zirkzee

Club: Bayern Munich
Position: STC
Age: 19

Watch: Zirkzee scores second goal in first two Bayern games

It should come as no surprise that the brains over at Football Manager HQ rate Bayern’s teenage striker highly considering his blitzkrieg Bundesliga breakthrough last season. An out-and-out striker, Zirkzee is best deployed as either an advanced or deep-lying forward and he starts the game in pretty good nick with still a potential ability range of 150-180 out of 200 to develop into.

‘Likes to lob keeper’ is a trait every Football Manager player enjoys seeing under preferred moves, while Zirkzee’s ruthlessness in front of goal is in plain view from the get-go. His 15 (out of 20) for finishing highlights this, while his jumping reach (16), balance (15) and composure (14) underline the Bayern teenager’s all-round ability. Zirkzee loves the occasion, too, and has 16 for important matches so you’ll be able to rely on him when those derby days and cup nights come round as you set out to fill your club’s trophy cabinets.

Tanguy Nianzou

Club: Bayern Munich
Position: DC, DM
Age: 18

Nianzou swapped last year’s UEFA Champions League runners-up for the winners as he landed at the Allianz Arena from French side Paris Saint-Germain this summer and big things are expected of the 18-year-old. He will take some prising away from Bayern considering they have only just added him to their ranks but any outlay you make looks a sound investment on the French teen who can play either at his favoured centre-half or in a holding role at the base of your midfield.

Nianzou’s heading (15), strength (15), bravery (14) and tackling (13) will only get better, making him a very attractive prospect to build around as either a ball-playing centre-half or ball-winning defensive midfielder. His potential ability ranges from 140-170 so if you get your hands on him early, Nianzou can certainly hit the top end of that range with some astute management and plenty of playing time.

Gio Reyna

Club: Borussia Dortmund
Position: M/AM LC
Age: 17

Watch: Team Zirkzee vs. Team Reyna in FM20

When it comes to wonderkids, there is no team quite like Dortmund. Jude Bellingham, Erling Haaland, and Jadon Sancho are just a few of the stellar 20 or under players emerging from the Signal Iduna Park with their world at their feet, which is why they make for one of the most exciting saves in the game. Further ramming that point home is Reyna, the 17-year-old fully fledged USA international who will provide a cutting edge for your team whether you begin with BVB or try and grab him from their clutches.

At just 17, the potential for growth is huge for Reyna, who is most comfortable in a central role behind the striker but equally adept from the left or deeper in central midfield. His potential falls in the same 150-180 bracket as Zirkzee's and, similarly, he is predictably impressive from the off. Reyna is another that relishes the big games (16), while his natural fitness (16), movement (15) and work rate (15) are impressive for such a technically gifted player. His attributes for dribbling (14) and technique (14) reflect the latter for a player who stars in both physical and virtual worlds.

Josko Gvardiol

Club: RB Leipzig
Position: DLC
Age: 18

‘Little Pep’ was snapped up by Leipzig this summer and immediately loaned back to Dinamo Zagreb so if you’re looking to lure Gvardiol away from the Red Bull Arena, you may need some patience. But it will certainly be worth the wait should you get your hands on Gvardiol, who is a world-class centre-back in the making who can also play at left-back should you need him to. That kind of versatility is hugely appealing in Football Manager, as is the Croatian’s potential ability range of 150-180.

The 6’1” 18-year-old is technically gifted, with the all-important trio for centre-backs of marking (12), heading (13) and tackling (14) more than solid foundations to build upon, while his passing (14) marks him out as an accomplished ball-playing centre-half. Gvardiol backs that up with some incredible physical attributes for his age, with his pace (15) and strength (14) particularly eye-catching. His preferred moves of bringing the ball out of defence and playing his way out of trouble further illustrate how good Gvardiol could be in a side that plays out from the back.

Armel Bella-Kotchap

Club: Bochum
Position: DC
Age: 18

Armel Bella-Kotchap (c.) has caught the eye at Bochum. - imago images

Should Gvardiol prove too tricky to strike a deal for early on, Bella-Kotchap would be another exciting option to place at the heart of your defence. The Germany U20 international will be a new name to some considering he plies his trade with Bochum in the second-tier but you do not want to sleep on the 18-year-old who is establishing himself as a first team regular this season. He can perform the roles of ball-playing, no-nonsense and a more traditional centre-back and Bella-Kotchap’s potential ability ranges from 140-170.

Like Gvardiol, Bella-Kotchap mixes style with substance with his passing (13), anticipation (13) and first touch (12) all heading in the right direction. He’s another whose pace (15) is highly attractive, as is the Bochum man’s jumping reach (16) and strength (15). It’s also worth noting that the right-footed defender has a 14 on his weaker left boot, another box to tick as you weigh up the options to form the spine of your team.