I was planning another Value Hunting article on wonderkids, perhaps 10-15 of the best. But when I sat down yesterday I realised I had a lot to say on young players.

There’s just so many of them. In fact I found 68 worthy of comment!

So I’ve decided to make this a week long series. I’m splitting it like this:

  • Real Wonderkids – Very FI suitable talent at a reasonable price (today).
  • Good young players – Some FI Suitability but a bit more of a longshot
  • Good but Expensive – Young players showing FI suitability but currently overpriced. Might be better to put on a watchlist for when they drop rather than buying now.
  • Overrated – Lots of young players are severely overrated and living on hype. Doesn’t mean we can’t make a profit in some cases, but it’s important to be aware which players are the real deal and which are being hyped up.

Real Wonderkids

Young players are often in fashion and can deliver big profits. 

Yet they can also be a treacherous area of the market. It’s the favoured ground of social media / chat group pumpers. 

Fortunately, most of them are clueless about which of them actually have any real quality and that lack of knowledge can be exploited. We’ve got to carefully step around the traps though. 

We must avoid paying too much for young players particularly when the price is already far outstripping their real potential. My criteria here is:

  • 21 and under, maybe up to 23 for a special case
  • Genuine performance potential at least 3 out of 5 stars
  • A credible prospect of at least regular sub appearances next season at a big club, or if at a smaller club, regular first team football.
  • Reasonable price with room to grow that hasn’t been pumped up recently. 


Callum Hudson-Odoi



It’s taken a long time for prices and circumstances to shift so much that I can now start saying “The CHO Train” looks good value again. Christ do I hate that phrase.

It is important not to get set in our ways though – if facts change our views should change with them.

On his way up, he was a promising prospect. As he pushed to £5? It was moronic and anyone who believed the hype earned themselves a year of stagnation and drops as the cost of believing what they were told on social media. £5 was a much much bigger price tag than it is these days, too.

It’s important to bear in mind examples like this, because there are many. CHO was the biggest hype push going at the time. I would get social media abuse for saying so back when I used to do regular free blogs. (Fortunately I don’t get upset by that sort of thing I am one of those people who only have one mood and it’s “basically fine”.)

The social media consensus is loud but very often wrong and we should make our own decisions based on the evidence, not what “big accounts” or chat groups say. It’s particularly loud in times like this when there is no football to prove the nonsense wrong, too.

Back to Hudson-Odoi, even though he hasn’t shown it on the scoreboard he does have performance potential. I peg him at 3.5 out of 5 stars which isn’t incredible but for a player with his great trend fit it’s enough. 

He’s got all the basic numbers there to build a good score. He’s guilty of giving away possession, inconsistency and only showing up against soft teams. But, I’d say these are the sorts of things you can forgive a young player for. They can reasonably be expected to improve with experience.

The main factor that brings him back into contention though is price. He’s really taken a bruising and hit £3.25 before a bounce to £3.50 now. He’s cheaper than he’s been for a long long time and likely closer to actual results than ever. And still just 19. With his previous £5+ price as an “anchor” it will be very easy for just one big score to see very strong buying again. And he will likely rise based on anticipation of a new season alone.

Welcome back to the realm of sensible trading, CHO.




Real Madrid

Exploding onto the scene with a CL hatrick back in November, he never followed up on that with mixed form.

He tanked as a result from £3.82 to £2.86. But is now clawing his way back to £3.08 very recently. 

This is the moment when a smart trader buys a player like this. When they’ve been a bit quiet. Most people buy after the hatrick. Too late, buddy.

I’ve got him at 3.5 out of 5 stars potential which is enough for a Real Madrid and Brazil forward to do very well. If anything, I may be a little pessmistic and it is more likely to be 4 out of 5 stars rather than 3 out of 5 stars assuming he establishes in the first team in the next season or two.

Lovely numbers for a forward, with lots of general involvement and definitely not just a goal poacher. Neither is he an awkwardly wide winger, his goal threat is solid even though shooting has been wayward for large periods.

Strong value for one of the highest potential youngsters around. 

With a player this well known we’ve just got to pick them up when they are out of the limelight like now. 


Vinicius Jr


Real Madrid

Fairly similar story to Rodrygo and the comparisons are obvious. If it was a straight choice between one or the other I’d go for Rodrygo as I think his numbers are a bit better. 

But Vinicius’ has improved and I peg him 3 out of 5 stars, which may be a bit harsh, 3.5 out of 5 stars is possible.

The fact that Vinicus comes in around 30p cheaper though means there isn’t much between them.

Another pick that only needs one big score to fly and he is capable. Competition for his place will be an issue but this is almost always going to be the case for youngsters at big clubs.

The moment is right to pounce on these players whilst they are at a relative low. He was £3.64 a year ago and if you factor in the rise of the market since then that is a jaw dropping discount. (And another reminder of why I never get suckered into the hype with these wonderkids).


Curtis Jones



If there is a young player that does get me misty eyed it’s Jones. But only because his actual numbers are that good. It’s not just hype. 

That’s why I’ve been banging on about him all season. In fact the first entry I can find using the Dashboard Search function is Sept 1st at just £1.09. £2.57 now, nice. (Ever since members suggested the Search feature, I now use it all the time!).

He’s one of those rare players that is a natural fit for the FI scoring system and will be a points magnet assuming he develops and makes it to the Liverpool team.

This is rare and special when it happens for an ideal trend fit player in the EPL. 

He’s got huge involvement from midfield but crucially his goal threat and assist potential at youth level has been top class. Encouragingly, his numbers when he plays at senior level have not dipped that much. 

Of course, you’ve got the problems any young player might have. Foden is similar and yet has struggled for years with a manager that won’t play him (yet). 

I’ve given Jones a 3.5 out of 5 stars in my ratings but only because I’m being conservative about how many minutes he may get. 4 out of 5 stars would be my expectation if he establishes in the side in the next 2-3 seasons.

I’d been hoping Liverpool would wrap up the title and the rest of the season would be a chance for youngsters like Jones to get lots of minutes. That still may happen for a shorter term boost. 

If not, I still think he’s a great long term pick and the price is still reasonable.


Adil Aouchiche



Aouchiche appeared in my IPO reviews on January 30th and reading the review back raised a wry smile:

“The best of the bunch so far by a long way, £1 to £1.30 is actually reasonable given the potential here. Would recommend for long term holders if he can be snapped up for anything under £1.50.

More evidence that FI have no idea how to value IPOs.”

Some of the IPO prices are just nuts with almost no correlation to actual ability sometimes. Whoever values them is either clueless or more likely does it based on potential hype alone and this can be exploited.

I mentioned him again amidst Cherki hype as a better alternative because whilst Cherki is decent he is/was incredibly overhyped and has been getting similar treatment to what we’ve seen in the past with CHO/Rodrygo etc. 

These price tags just set them up for a fall because they can’t possibly live up to it so young.

Aouchiche is still just 17 and mainly playing for the PSG reserves, but he has been getting minutes for the seniors. You’ve just got to be so patient with these 16/17 year olds and when it comes down to it not many traders really are.

Aouchiche is a genuine wonderkid of FI though. Lovely all round midfield numbers with exceptional goal threat and assist potential. 

Long way to go but with a player like this you’ve got to be buying them when they have been out of the limelight for a time. He’s dropped from £2.43 to £2.18 now and I can’t see him going much lower anytime soon.

We may have to wait months for an appearance but he is so good he may put up a big score when he does. If that happens and he spikes in price it’s too late.

With genuine FI wonderkids we can afford a bit of patience. Because after the breakout moment it’s too late.


Sebastiano Esposito



Inter’s 17 year old scrapes into my wonderkids listing.

Whilst I don’t think he has fantastic performance potential he does look a strong goalscorer and could have just enough ( 3 out of 5 stars ) to make a splash.

The strong statement of intent from Conte is helpful. He’s given him plenty of minutes and is apparently about to award him a huge 5 year contract. Often, at 17 I’d be worried he would be taken out of the limelight, but that’s not the signals we’re getting right now.

All he really needs to do is start and score to get bought heavily. And right now with things a bit quiet for him, coming down from £2.43 to £2.23 now would be the time to make our move.


Thiago Almada


Velez Sarsfield

Almada featured in my September wonderkids article at £1.85 but he’s still relevant and worth including. 

Back then I said:

“He’s just 18 and so has a long way to go. However, by the time the Summer transfer window rolls around it’s quite likely he will get big rumours and even at his £1.85 I can see that pushing higher into £2 and above for a tidy profit by the Summer.”

£2.16 now so it’s a decent profit since then (16%) although it hasn’t run away.

It may do though as he is currently getting links to Manchester City and Inter. 

Again, he’s a genuine potential FI wonderkid with lots of involvement in play that should generate a decent baseline. Goal threat and assist potential is there but does need to improve some. If we are being generous this could be explained by his club Velez Sarsfield (Argentina Superliga) being a relatively low scoring side. 

I like him. A solid long term choice who can blow up at anytime if the City link gathers pace. Inter also a decent move. And at just 18 and so well regarded he’ll probably keep optimism for some time. 

Silly as it may sound, it also helps that he is one of the best wonderkids on Football Manager 2020. People do buy on this basis even though it has very little to do with reality and I do respect these kind of soft factors too.


Calvin Stengs



Another special FI wonderkid featured a lot on the site this season.

He’s been off the boil in 2020 scoring just once. But the great numbers are still there with huge involvement for a forward. It was not a surprise to me at all when he won a performance dividend already on only his 3rd appearance in an eligible game.

His baselines are consistently very high and he can add the goals and assists to make them count. Yes, we’re always sceptical of Dutch league stats here because they will likely dip off in a more competitive league. But they are so strong that you can shave off a fair bit before he starts struggling.

Still reasonably priced at £2.40 and he’s at least stable after a small drop. Has Barcelona links and if he moves there look out because he is vastly superior to many other youngsters priced at £3-7. 

All unproven youngsters come with risks though and the market is largely ignorant of this, incorrectly believing that young players are “safe” because they have so many years ahead. 

Well for most of these young players they do indeed have many years ahead but they will be spent on the bench or as the impact player at Rennes.

I suspect Stengs will be ok but there were rumours a month or so ago about a move to Ajax which wouldn’t be great. Those rumours have faded though.

Overall given his quality I think he’s a great long term pick with a chance of a big boost if he goes to Barcelona  or any decent performance club. Having a dividend win under his belt already will boost optimism even amongst people who don’t really know how good he is yet.


Francisco Trincao



Another one featured on the  site often, he felt like a slam dunk win when on his way to Barcelona. The hype / expectation for that alone is likely to push the price. And unlike a transfer, it’s happening and doesn’t come with uncertainty.

I was a bit late to this party as he spiked very suddenly, not featuring him until he was £1.81. But it was one of those rare cases where it can be worth jumping in after the spike – sometimes there is a genuine reason for it which was the Barcelona signing. 

95% of the time chasing a rise is a bad idea and for newer traders I’d advise just never doing it to stay out of trouble. Advanced traders can do it if they are very selective.

He’s £2.43 now and I’d expect him to keep rising as and when next season is  scheduled and we see him in a friendly or two.

Has genuine performance potential and could do very well at Barcelona if given the starts. And at 20 he’s sufficiently far along where minutes aren’t an outrageous thing to hope for.





Paulhino is a player I’ve recommended for a while. He sat around £1.30 for a long time before rising rapidly to £1.92 in recent months. 

He was kept quiet by a lack of starts. But we have to remember he is just 19 and made the move to Europe very early. It’s not actually surprising he’s not made the first team at Leverkusen too often so far. 

Had a fantastic tournament for the Brazil U23’s recently and capitalised on that in March by returning and smashing in 2 and an assist vs Eintracht. 

A player of genuine FI potential who is capable of competitive scores and could be pushing much higher than £1.93 with regular appearances.


Reiss Nelson



I’ve always rated Nelson this season and felt he had a chance to breakout. But was cooling by the turn of the year as I felt he was running out of time this season as covered in Scouting.

Actually played well though and had good numbers, and the noises from Arteta were positive. A bit unlucky with injury though.

With events as they are though, we’re fearing end of season drops much less. If we do finish this season it’s a bonus, we’re primarily thinking about next season.

This is now a much better time to be holding Nelson as assuming football does return at least by August he has a long window in which he might show his genuine FI quality. 

Having been beaten down from £2.08 in January and levelled off at £1.90 now, he looks a great pick with next season in mind.


Amine Gouiri



A great prospect whose scoring record for Lyon II has been fantastic, particularly in 2020. In February he had a glut of 8 goals in 3 games. 

He may also have better baselines than most forwards and adds some assist potential to the mix as well. I think he could reach 3.5 out of 5 stars maybe even 4 out of 5 stars. That’s strong.

Also has loose transfer rumours, including to Real Madrid. I’m neutral on that, I’m fine for him to stay at Lyon although any big move is welcome. A loan move to a smaller club maybe not so great, but he has rejected those in the past and wants first team football or a big move apparently.

He’s been getting some sub appearances this season but hasn’t made a huge impact yet.

He may do though, he’s very well regarded. And at just £1.59 all he has to do is start a few games and score and he can push up in price very easily.



Viktor Tsygankov


Dynamo Kiev

22 years old, he’s long been linked with big moves abroad.

Those rumours have settled recently but will likely return before too long.

His goal threat is exceptional for a midfielder, and he brings assists to the table as well. Baselines are solid and he has a high level of involvement. Could be a genuine performance contender at a big club.

Also has Ukraine involvement, and given the Euros are now moved, this obviously remains a positive influence for a much longer period.

With him out of the limelight and relatively kindly priced for a quality young player at £1.55 it’s a great time to pick him up.

It may require patience, but it is also one that can drop on a big transfer rumour any day.

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