Wonderkids are a crucial part of the Football Manager experience.
Freddy Adu, Henri Saivet, John Fleck: these are names synonymous with FM history. Whether you’re building your virtual legacy around these players or selling them on for a huge profit, one of the first things every FM player does when they load up their first save in a new game is search for those young players with unbelievable potential.
Everyone has their own experience and favourite wonderkids (Tiémoué Bakayoko was the lynchpin of my FM 2015 Fulham side), but players of FM 2021 might be looking at quite possibly the greatest FM wonderkid of all time — Youssoufa Moukoko.
The young German has been making the headlines in real life and turning heads on Football Manager discussion boards, but is he the greatest wonderkid of all time and can he match the hype in his real career?
Who is Youssoufa Moukoko?
The Bundesliga’s youngest ever goalscorer and the youngest player to ever get called up to Germany’s Under 21 side, Youssoufa Moukoko is already writing his legacy.
Born in Yaounde, Cameroon, Moukoko was raised by his grandparents and quickly developed a passion for football.
Moving to Germany aged 10, Moukoko first joined the St Pauli youth set-up, before immediately catching the eye of Dortmund with his exceptional natural talent for goalscoring.
Coaches across Germany have been raving about his talent for years, with former Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre eulogising about his versatility — “You don’t know which foot he uses to play. He is a left-footer and a right-footer. He is very efficient.”
Moukoko made his Dortmund debut a day after his 16th birthday in November 2020, before going on to score his first for the Rhine side in December that same year.
Contracted to Nike on a €10 million deal and making waves in one of Europe’s top leagues, even if Moukoko’s coaches are taking things slowly, he’s grabbing every opportunity with both hands.
How does he compare to other wonderkids?
Many FM wonderkids from years gone by haven’t seen their careers pan out quite like the game developer’s expected them to.
While we’re all guilty of overhyping a footballer, Moukoko does possess some incredibly impressive stats representative of his phenomenal strength and finishing ability. Some of the standouts on FM include:
- Dribbling – 16
- Finishing – 15
- First Touch – 15
- Composure – 13
- Agility – 15
- Balance – 13
Compare this to teammate Erling Braut Haaland, and you can see how close this German wonderkid is to the finished article:
- Dribbling – 13
- Finishing – 16
- First Touch – 14
- Composure – 16
- Agility – 14
- Balance – 16
For all the FM scouts out there with the budget to pick this kid up, we recommend doing so straight away.
Moukoko scored 141 goals in 88 games for Dortmund’s youth sides. Okay, you might say “that’s just youth football”, but there are numbers that made Haaland and Mbappe stand out to FM managers and real life scouts across the world.
Of course, we’ll have to see how he progresses after a full season of Bundesliga action. We’re only now seeing the full potential of other wonderkids who were hyped up at a young age, such as Real Madrid’s Norwegian loanee Martin Odegaard (now plying his trade at Arsenal Arsenal after a successful spell at Real Sociedad).
Is Borussia Dortmund the right club for him?
Standing out in their black and yellow kit, Dortmund are one of the most popular and respected sides in the world, but are they the right club for this German striker to flourish?
The right place to nurture talent
In recent years, Dortmund have earned significant praise from bystanders in the media and across Europe for their professional approach to running a modern club on a budget and developing an exciting squad full of young talent with the potential to be world-class.
Erling Braut Haaland, Jadon Sancho, Giovanne Reyna: these are just a few names of wonderful players below the age of 21 lighting up both domestic and European games for BVB.
However, as their defence continues to leak goals and they fail to successfully close the gap with Bayern, some have started to question the Dortmund model, especially as talk of both Haaland and Sancho leaving for the Premier League intensifies. Is the next generation of young players, including Moukoko, ready to step up and take over?
Surely, being surrounded by all this talent, along with veteran players such as Marco Reus, makes Dortmund a brilliant club for the young German. There’s no doubting he will get opportunities to play, which couldn’t probably be said for any other top club in Europe.
In February 2021, it was announced that Borussia Mönchengladbach head coach Marco Rose will join Dortmund at the end of the 2020-21 season. An exciting young coach who caused a stir with his decision to leave Gladbach has seen his current side suffer a dip in form since the announcement. However, he does have significant pedigree for developing exciting sides and helping talent step into first-team positions.
Despite their problems, Dortmund do still look like the best option for a 16-year old with the world at his feet like Moukoko. It’s unlikely to see him making a big-money move just yet (especially in pandemic times), with big English and Spanish sides likely to see how he performs in the melting pot of Germany first division football before betting their chips on this wonderkid.
Their odds of winning a trophy
As any avid Bundesliga viewer could tell you, Borussia Dortmund aren’t exactly having their best season in 2020-21.
BVB currently find themselves 5th in the table, suffering disappointing losses across what is now turning into a transitional season as they wait for new head coach Marco Rose. Most notably, they recently threw away a two-goal lead to lose 4-2 away at title rivals Bayern Munich.
Despite this poor league performance, Dortmund could find success this season through cup competitions. They have progressed in the Champions League, defeating Spanish side Sevilla 5-4 on aggregate thanks to stellar performances by another wonderkid striker, Erling Braut Haaland.
For those looking to make Dortmund their Champions League bet, 888 Casino (here’s a brilliant review for first-time betters) currently have the German side at these odds to win Europe’s premier competition:
- Manchester City – 9/4
- FC Bayern Munich – 3/1
- Paris Saint Germain – 5/1
- Liverpool – 6/1
- Chelsea – 11/1
- Real Madrid – 14/1
- Borussia Dortmund – 16/1
Of course, the Champions League isn’t the only cup competition Dortmund still find themselves in, with the DFB Pokal (the German FA Cup) remaining a genuine chance for glory this season. With Bayern already out of German’s domestic cup competition, this might be the best opportunity for Moukoko to add some early silverware to his young career.
- Borussia Dortmund – 8/11
- Rb Leipzig – 5/4
- Sv Werder Bremen – 16/1
- Holstein Kiel – 33/1
- Ssv Jahn Regensburg – 150/1
Predicting a footballer’s future is a fruitless endeavour. Injuries, poor management and the wrong transfer and the wrong time could all bring a stop to Moukoko’s development.
However, we think he’s at the perfect club, with a good incoming manager and the physical talents to succeed where other, less imposing, youth players have struggled.
At the very least, he’s a phenomenal pick-up in-game.