The world famous Football Manager series has stolen countless years from the lives of its users. Males between the ages of 10 and 40 will have experienced the time sucking ability of the game, where an 8 hour session can feel more like a 30 minute click-about.
No other series of games can extract such a spectrum of emotion from a user. It’s addictive as hell. And I’ve been down that foot tapping, eye stinging wormhole. I’m less than proud to say I am a long time member of this virtual FM junkie brotherhood, getting high on minimum fee release clauses and set piece routines.
The game’s player database is now so detailed and its accuracy so pin point, that many real-life managers use the game as a supplement to the information from their own scouting departments.
The game assigns a CA and PA value of between 0 and 200 to each player at the start of a new campaign (that’s Current Ability and Potential Ability to the uninitiated i.e. the higher the current ability of a player, the better he is and the higher the potential ability of a player, the better he can become), and those ratings, alongside a players attributes (e.g. mental, physical etc) tell you all you need to know about a certain footballer.
Football Manager collects the information for each player from a huge world-wide network of fans of the game, who voluntarily research players from their own areas and send back detailed statistics and reports.
And while predicting a young player’s future in the game is the trickiest of tasks for professionals within the club’s themselves, FM have been pretty accurate in their own predictions over the years.
With that in mind, I present to you the “Future according to Football Manager”. I have taken a game in their latest instalment to the year 2018, with the view of finding out which players FM thinks will be world beaters by then. Here are some of the results:
Bernardo Silva – Portugal – Position: AMRC – Current Club: Monaco – Club in 2018: Man Utd
In real-life, Silva recently signed a permanent deal with Monaco for €15.75m in January having been on loan from Benfica. The skilful number 10, who can also fill in wide right, is a stereotypical creative midfielder and is clever on the ball with an eye for a pass.
In 2018, Silva plays for Man Utd following a big money move in 2016 from France. He is one of United’s key players and a mainstay of the Portuguese national team.
Gerson – Brazil – Position: AMRLC – Current Club: Fluminense – Club in 2018: Juventus
From the obligatory Youtube videos, Gerson reminds me a lot of Danny Welbeck, in that he never seems to have the ball properly under control and always looks likely to fall over at any minute. Still, the gangly winger has been linked with a host of Europe’s big hitters, whose scouting reports are probably a little more detailed than the 4 minute video I watched.
In 2018, FM tells us Gerson will be making waves at Juventus as one of Serie A’s brightest young stars.
Terence Kongolo – Netherlands – Position: DLC – Current Club: Feyenoord – Club in 2018: Man City
Kongolo was born in Switzerland, but the 21 year old has already made 2 senior appearances for Holland. The centre back is strong, comfortable on the ball and like Gerson above, has been linked with pretty much every top club around Europe.
In FM 2018, Kongolo has recently made a big money move to Man City. Coincidentally, Kongolo’s younger brother Rodney is in the current City academy.
Joshua Kimmich – Germany – Position: MC – Current Club: RB Leipzig – Club in 2018: Barcelona
Although Kimmich is currently playing in Germany’s second division, Bayern Munich agreed a deal in January to take the 20 year old to the Allianz Arena in the summer for €7m. Reports in Germany suggest that Guardiola is a big fan of the youngster and sees him as a long term replacement for Xabi Alonso.
In FM 2018, Kimmich is a regular for Barcelona, anchoring their midfield on a weekly basis. I think it’s fair to say this guy might have a decent future then?
Matias Kranevitter – Argentina – Position: DMC – Current Club: River Plate – Club in 2018: Man Utd
21 year old Kranevitter’s performances at the base of River Plate’s midfield have attracted interest from a who’s who of European super powers. In fact, just today Man City are rumoured to have moved into pole position in their attempts to sign the youngster.
In FM 2018, Kranevitter is a key player for Man Utd and is the highest valued player in his position in the world.
Samuel Umtiti – Cameroon – Position: DLC – Current Club: Lyon – Club in 2018: Lyon
21 year old Umtiti who is equally adept at left and centre back has been catching the eye at high flying Lyon this season. Born in Cameroon, he represented his home nation at u17 level before switching to France, where he has been a regular from u18 to u21 levels.
Unsurprisingly Arsenal, who have their finger on the pulse when it comes to French football have been heavily linked with a move for Umtiti, who is already closing in on 100 league appearances.
Joaquin Correa – Argentina – Position: AMRLC – Current Club: Sampdoria – Club in 2018: Inter
20 year old attacking midfielder Correra is the second Argentinean to feature in this list. The fleet footed winger joined Sampdoria from Estudiantes for €8m at the turn of the year and has already been tipped to move up the football ladder sooner rather than later.
Do yourself a favour and check out his highlight reel, it’s as impressive as they come; this kid seems to have it all.
In FM2018, Correa is at Inter Milan, dazzling fans with his insane dribbling ability. He is definitely one to keep an eye on.
You know what, here is that highlight reel, you’re welcome:
Alberto Cerri – Italy – Position: ST – Current Club: Parma – Club in 2018: Parma
I’m going to call this one now: FM have got this one wrong. Cerri has a very high pre-programmed PA (potential ability for you forgetful sorts), but I think a Parma fan (I nearly typed Parma Ham there) might have gotten a little over excited.
Cerri is cut from the same cloth as Italy’s recent underwhelming striking options. The 19 year old is a 6’4” battering ram in the style of Luca Toni and has just 4 goals in 16 appearances on loan in Serie B this season. He strikes me as the kind of physical monster that stood out against his peers at youth level, but who will be found out against more senior pros.
In FM 2018, Cerri is still at Parma, but his PA would suggest a big move is in the offing soon. Whether this will be mirrored in real life is extremely doubtful.
Andre Gomes – Portugal – Position: MC – Current Club: Valencia – Club in 2018: Arsenal
Standing at 6’2”, 21 year old Gomes has been enhancing his reputation in Spain this season for his creative passing as well as his tactical maturity and defensive work. In short, he looks THE complete midfield player already and is said to be high on Jose Mourinho’s wanted list this summer.
Gomes has already amassed 4 senior caps and looks set to be a big part of Portugal’s future plans.
In FM 2018, Gomes is starring for Arsenal and is valued at around €50m. No pressure then.