Football Manager 2021 is here, so it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to rebuild your squad.
In the coronavirus-hit world in which we find ourselves these days, transfer budgets have been understandably slashed, so finding a bargain in the transfer market has arguably never been more important.
Sure, you could just send your scouts all over the world, but why not save some time and check out 90min‘s list of 100 of the best bargains on FM21?
Down in Brazil’s second tier, you’ll find 22-year-old Ivan who is just waiting for the chance to strut his stuff in a top division somewhere.
Genoa (on loan from Juventus)
Juventus don’t want Mattia Perin anymore, but that doesn’t mean the Italy international is past his best. At 27 years old, he can give you a few years of top performances.
Inter have signed Radu twice in his career and he’s only 23 years old, so that should give you a good idea of the kind of the potential the Romanian international has showcased in his young career.
Having finally earned a spot in the Argentinian national team, Boca goalkeeper Andrada has blossomed into one of his country’s top goalkeepers at the ripe old age of 29.
A bit more of a work-in-progress, Jurado was recently picked up by Cruz Azul after some promising performances for Veracruz, and he has been tipped for a bright future in Mexico.
A well-known name to any seasoned FM player, Rajkovic has been strutting his stuff in France since 2019, and he has proved to us that the hype around him is justified. Pick him up immediately.
We’d all love to sign Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but for any team on a budget, settling for Barcelona B’s Carevic isn’t the worst outcome. The 21-year-old has plenty of potential and looks like a smart long-term investment.
RC Lens (on loan from Millonarios)
Another FM legend, Farinez has been handed his first taste of European football with Lens, but once his loan expires, you should be right at the front of the queue for the 22-year-old’s signature.
Ward may not have played much for either Liverpool or Leicester, but he has plenty of Premier League experience and would make a good backup for a top side, or you could be the manager to finally give Ward some first-team football.
Having dropped down into the Championship, Byram’s value has taken a bit of a tumble, and you should take advantage of that. The Norwich speedster would be a shroud pick-up for any side.
It doesn’t seem long ago that Hysaj was in the discussion for the Serie A’s top right-back. The Albanian’s stock has dropped somewhat in the last few years, but he’s still a dependable option.
He’s not the Liverpool wonderkid he once was, but Flanagan can still get a job done for a mid-table side, and the fact he’s playing out in Belgium means his asking price is affordable for most sides.
If you can keep Clyne healthy, you might just be able to get him back to being one of England’s top right-backs.
Coyle is far too good to be playing in the English third tier. He’s not going to win the Ballon d’Or, but the versatile 24-year-old is still more than good enough to plug a whole in any mid-table squads.
Comfortable both on the right and in the centre, Jedvaj is a young, versatile defender whose best years are still ahead of him. He’s going to make one manager very happy, so make sure it’s you.
How is Montoya only 29? It feels like he’s been around for an eternity! Comfortable on both sides, the former Barcelona starlet still has a good few years left in the tank.
You won’t get too much from the ageing Perduta, but he’s one of the cheapest options on this list. If you need a short-term answer, here you go.
Once seen as one of the world’s top young starlets, Aguirre is yet to make the jump expected of him, but at 23, there’s still plenty of time for the Mexican to turn things around. Maybe he just needs the right manager?
Another regular on these lists in the last few years, 22-year-old Passlack is one of the more expensive options when it comes to ‘bargains’, but sometimes you’ve just got to pay up for young, versatile stars.
Recently linked with Liverpool, Mandi is an experienced head who could offer some cover for any top side on the planet. He’s comfortable anywhere across the back line, and that can be invaluable over a long season.
A recent pick-up by Napoli, Rrahmani is a mountain of a defender who can even switch out to the right if needed. He’s got all the attributes needed to help a mid-table side.
As a former left-back, Medina isn’t the most physically imposing centre-back around, but he still possesses the kind of skills you’d expect from a full-back. The 21-year-old is speedy and comfortable in possession.
Yevgenjev seems destined for a big move soon. The 21-year-old is now a senior Russian international and is only going to see his stock rise as the years go by so get ASAP.
Ramiro Funes Mori
Former Everton man Funes Mori is out on the fringes of the Villarreal squad these days, so here’s your chance to snap up a defender with top-level experience for cheap.
Gnagnon was the French wonderkid at Sevilla a few years ago, but Jules Kounde has stolen his limelight somewhat. The 23-year-old needs a change of scenery, and it should definitely be with your team.
Okore has been a bargain on almost every FM game for the last decade. The former Aston Villa man is still only 28, so he can give you a few good years of service for an affordable price.
21-year-old Ahmedhodzic’s performances on the real pitch have earned him links to Chelsea, so here’s your chance to sneak in ahead of the Blues and grab yourself a bargain.
Verona (on loan from Roma)
After a few impressive years in Turkey, the towering Cetin is now trying his hand at life in Serie A with Verona. His profile is still fairly small, so big now before you get priced out in a few years.
Injuries meant Celtic lost Sviatchenko too soon, but now he’s back in Midtyjlland, and that means his price tag has dropped down too.
Left-back is the spot for bargains this year. Ghoulam was one of the Serie A’s elite just a few years ago, and at 29 years old, he’d still do a job in your team.
You won’ find many stars more established than Rose who can be picked up for cheap. With an expiring contract and no future at Spurs, here’s your chance to pick up a top-calibre player without denting your budget.
Uruguayan Ricca, who can also do a job at centre-back if you’re getting desperate, comes with three years of La Liga experience with Malaga. He’s 25 years old, so he still has some room to grow.
Another of those to be a victim of his club’s big squad, 28-year-old Kurzawa boasts a huge trophy cabinet thanks to his time with PSG, but with no chance of first-team football on the horizon, you can lure him away for cheap.
Since leaving the Eredivisie, Willems hasn’t had it easy. It’s not hard to lure the Dutchman away from Frankfurt.
While a lot of these bargains are approaching the end of their careers, Lato’s is just beginning. He’s only 22 at the start of the game, so bag yourself a steal and you’ve got your defence sorted for the next decade.
There are high hopes for young Ballo-Toure, who has all the attributes needed to become a star. There’s some real work to be done, however, so a good manager needs to unlock his potential.
Rahman’s time at Chelsea is over. That’s no secret. The Blues want him off the wage book, so you should be able to snap him up for nearly half his value if you act fast.
Jordi Alba’s going nowhere, and that means Firpo probably is. He’s 23 and too young to be wasting away on the bench, so if you move quick, you can secure a long-term defender for an unbelievable fee.
There’s no reason for Amavi to be so cheap, but we’re not here to question things, we’re only here to take advantage. He can play anywhere on the left side and wouldn’t be out of place at any side in a top league.
He’s not as cheap as he was when he was playing in Argentina, but Barrios is still a must-buy for any manager looking to bolster their midfield on a budget.
Comfortable at the base, you can even move Arambarri over to the right side of midfield for emergency cover.
After leaving Tottenham in January 2020, Wanyama’s value plummeted, which gives you the chance to pick up a top-tier option for cheap.
Too good for the German second tier, Meffert can be brought in for pocket change, and he’s good enough to make an impact in any top division.
After two underwhelming years with Zenit, Kranevitter is now playing in Mexico. He’s got the value of a 27-year-old playing in an obscure league, but the stats of somebody who deserves to be playing for a good side in Europe.
Touted as one of Ligue 1’s most exciting young midfielders, Gueye’s value is going to soar in just a few years, so he’s one of those you need to move quickly for.
30-year-old Ekdal has a few good years left in him, and he’d make a great option for any mid-table side.
At 26 years old, Geis is still looking for his place in the football world. He’s currently in the German second division, and his value reflects that.
Eder Alvarez Balanta
No longer the guaranteed future superstar that he once was in FM, Alvarez Balanta is still a solid midfielder who is capable of filling in at the back as well. The best of both worlds.
Once a Lazio stalwart, Onazi surprisingly ended up in Denmark during the summer. He’s good enough to make it back to a top division, and he’ll probably only cost you a six-figure sum.
26-year-old Tibbling, who can play anywhere across the midfield, has finally landed his move out of Sweden. He’s in the Eredivisie right now, but he’s got the kind of skills that will attract plenty of suitors soon enough.
Sporting (on loan from Inter)
Inter are keen to offload Mario and they’re ready to accept lower than his value to sell. He might not be the player he once was, but Mario still has a real engine and a quality eye for a pass.
Another of those on the fringes at Inter, 26-year-old Gagliardini is very easy to pick up from the Italian side.
One of South Africa’s top stars, Mokoena is good enough to make the move over to Europe, and at 23 years old, he can bolster your midfield for years to come.
Schalke are looking to sell to help boost their financial situation, and that means Bentaleb can be signed for around his base value, which is a bargain for a 25-year-old midfielder with top-flight experience.
He’s one of the more expensive options on the list, but Evander is worth every penny. The 22-year-old Brazilian can star in any position across the midfield and is only going to get better.
Having been trained in Real Madrid‘s academy, Febas is out on his own now with Mallorca. He might not be a world-beater, but he’s one of those playmakers who can really make a difference.
Malaga (on loan from Celta)
Celta have moved on from attack-minded Jozabed, and they’re just waiting for somebody to come in and take him off their hands.
Eight years ago, Gauld was a guaranteed future star. Now 24, things haven’t worked out that way, but he’s still good enough (and young enough) to make a difference.
He might be just 24, but Jensen has been all over Europe already. He’s part of a Brentford side who are pushing for promotion to the Premier League, and it’s just a matter of time before he’s playing in the division.
VVV-Venlo (on loan from Roma)
Another of those on the expensive side, Coric justifies his value by being a 23-year-old midfielder who is still seen as a potential star of the future.
Now 26, Powell isn’t the young starlet who joined Manchester United anymore, but he’s still a reliable midfielder who can be picked up from a struggling Stoke side for cheap.
Comfortable centrally and on the left, Mukhtar is strutting his stuff over in MLS with Nashville, but he’s got the skills to impress back in Europe.
Neymar’s partner-in-crime all those years ago, Ganso is 31 now and is coming towards the end of his career, but he’s still got a year or two left in the tank.
Majer always gets picked up by a top side in every FM game, so make sure you’re the one at the front of the queue.
It’s a no-brainer in this position. Fernandes is just 22 years old, can play anywhere in attack and comes with a very affordable price tag. There’s nothing more you could want from a bargain midfielder.
Dowell found a much-needed change of scenery after leaving Everton during the summer, joining Norwich in the Championship. He’s already good enough for that level and may even get a little better with the right coaching.
28-year-old Malli is at home centrally but also possesses the skill to impress out on the left if you need him to.
Spezia (on loan from Genoa)
Spezia have an option to sign Agudelo permanently, but if they don’t take Genoa up on the offer, make sure you do.
Yep, that Bojan. He’s 29 and kicking it out in Montreal, which has helped him get his groove back after a tricky few years.
A serial winner with Benfica, Salvio returned to Argentina a little sooner than expected. He’s only 29 at the start of the game and is still good enough to do a job for any side.
Having spent seven years with Barcelona, Mboula knows how to play football. A move to Monaco saw his career stall – can you be the manager to get things going again?
A firm favourite of Zinedine Zidane’s on the real pitch, Vazquez isn’t as valuable to Real on FM, which should be music to your ears.
Middlesbrough (on loan from Man City)
City are yet to unlock Roberts’ full potential, and now he’s 23 years old, they’ve effectively given up on him. The bargain sensors should be tingling.
At 27, Gil still has a few more years before he should be contemplating winding his career down. The versatile creator can be picked up for less than his value, which will make each of his assists even sweeter.
25-year-old Hestad is Molde born and bred. He’s not going to score 100 goals a season, but he’s far better than his value might suggest, and that’s enough for us. In a position in which players can be quite expensive, Hestad won’t break the bank.
Now 26, Markovic is no wonderkid these days. Instead, he’s a solid player who can shine on both wings, and he’s almost worryingly cheap.
A do-it-all kind of player, Schopf is at home in attack but can even be dropped back into defence if you’re getting desperate. He’s a manager’s dream.
Shabab Al-Ahli (on loan from Deportivo)
Cartabia has never really settled with Deportivo, who are keen to cash in now before he enters the final year of his contract.
Having starred for the team with the best name in football, The Strongest, Chumacero is now dribbling his way around defenders in Mexico. His value is pennies compared to a lot of other players.
Huesca (on loan from Villarreal)
A tricky winger who is comfortable on both sides of the pitch, Ontiveros is just 23 years old and capable of blossoming into a real star for any side on the planet.
As the youngest hat-trick scorer in Eredivisie history, Bakkali has struggled to justify the excitement around him just yet, but he’s still only 24.
Capable of a moment of magic or two, Brahimi has long been linked with a number of Europe’s top sides, and he’s good enough to hang with most of them.
Jairo has been kicking around in second tiers across Europe for the last few years, but don’t let that fool you. If you’re a mid-table side looking for some depth out wide, he’s your man.
Sisto’s time in Spain didn’t work out really, and now he’s back where it all began. The 25-year-old’s stock isn’t as high as it once was, but he’s an explosive winger who is capable of making a difference in any side.
If you buy just one player from this list, make it Fischer. A winger who can play up top, his value is inexplicably low to Kobenhavn, who will let you rob them if you ask about the 26-year-old. Even if you don’t really want him, he’s a walking profit.
Nicolas De La Cruz
A one-time target of Manchester City, River starlet De La Cruz is playing his way into a move to Europe in the near future.
Japan international Nakajima is known for his flair and dribbling skills, and he can light it up on both sides of the pitch.
Another of those who will surely be playing for a top side soon enough, 22-year-old Coman is already a star in Romania and looks ready for a new challenge.
Most known for is time in Russia with CSKA Moscow, Vitinho is back in his native Brazil these days, where he can be picked up for marginally less than his value.
Charleroi (on loan from Zulte Waregem)
Now 27 years old, it’s safe to say that Berahino’s career hasn’t panned out the way most expected it to. Could you be the manager to get him back on track?
At 31, Jovetic’s best years are behind him, but he’s still a lethal finisher who could star for a smaller side or offer some cover for a top team.
Roma (on loan from Real Madrid)
23-year-old Mayoral is facing a crossroads in his career. A spot with Real looks unlikely, so the offer of a new home may just be too good for him to turn down.
Slightly expensive, but it’s understandable. Chalov is still just 22 but is tearing it up in Russia. Top teams are taking notice already.
With Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez already on the books, Inter have no need for young Pinamonti, who could easily grow into a star elsewhere.
Known for his love of a Panenka, 21-year-old Wind is a mountain of a striker with a surprisingly good touch. He can already do it all, and it’s just a matter of time before he gets snapped up by one of Europe’s big boys.
Another of those with a rich FM history, Sanabria is now 24 and looking for a new home, with his club keen to cash in and move on.
Comfortable in midfield, out wide and in attack, Kuki is a versatile 22-year-old who is just looking for the right manager to turn him into the star he has long been touted as.
At 30, you won’t have too much time with Ruidiaz, but he’s playing some of the best football of his career these days and has regularly been spotted joining some of Europe’s elite in older FM games.
Another of those who feels far older than he is, 28-year-old Guidetti has an impressive goalscoring record in both Spain and the Netherlands, and the former City academy starlet should be on your radar if you’re looking for a new forward.