The best defensive midfielders to sign in Football Manager 2021

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The anchor man. The glue that holds it all together. These are just two ways to describe a defensive midfielder.

It’s a position that is often underestimated because it’s not exactly the most glamorous role, but if you look back at history, you’ll notice that most GOAT teams have an elite defensive midfielder.

If you are going to be successful in Football Manager 2021, you will need a reliable option at the base of your midfield, so here are some options for you to consider, regardless of your budget.

Javier Mascherano

He may be 36, but Mascherano is still good enough to make an impact on any mid-tier team on the top table. It won’t break the bank, but it probably won’t make it past a season either. A big stop gap.

Miguel Veloso

Veloso, the ideal deep playmaker, brings fantastic passing and vision stats, and despite being 34 years old, he still comes with the kind of stamina needed for consistent impact.

Lucas Biglia
Fatih Karagumruk

Former AC Milan and Lazio midfielder Biglia is another elite passer on the ball, but he also brings some fantastic tackling stats. If there is a downside, it’s his age, but at least it won’t cost you too much.

Magomed Ozdoev

If you are operating on a very small budget, Ozdoev has to be the man for you. You can pick it up for a little more than its asking price, but what sets it apart from the rest is that it is only 27 years old.

Rafael Carioca

Carioca has spent most of his career in Brazil, but he’s good enough to be in Europe. Don’t expect it to make you a title contender, but it’s a stable option at an affordable price.

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Wilmar Barrios

If you have a little leeway in your budget, Barrios has to be the man for you. He’s an outstanding player who could start on most high-level teams and offer reliable cover for a genuine contender, but he’s priced at a bargain. For the amount of money you will spend, you are free of the rest.

Jonathan dos Santos
LA Galaxy

If you don’t need someone to make a change defensively, look to pick up Dos Santos. His youth career with Barcelona has made him a brilliant passer, but he will probably want to pair him up with someone a little more reliable at the rear.

Athletic of Pamplona

Being 34 years old, Oier can be bought for a sum of six figures, and his experience as a center-back makes him the ideal anchor for either side.

Sven bender
Bayer 04

For a slightly larger team, Bender is an elite option at an affordable price if you take advantage of his expiring contract. He is one of the best tacklers you are likely to find and can definitely hold his own against anyone.

Karim El Ahmadi

TO 90min A favorite, El Ahmadi is good enough to make the team of the day for any team on the planet, but thanks to being 35 years old, he can be lured away from Al-Ittihad for less than £ 500,000. If you need a solution for a season, this is it.

Grzegorz Krychowiak
Lokomotiv Moscow

His salary is a bit high, but if you have the space, Krychowiak is worth checking out, whose physical and mental stats make him the perfect candidate for a ball-winning midfielder.

Nemanja Maksimovic

Don’t be scared off by Maksimovic’s £ 91 million release clause. Getafe will hear offers much closer to their base value, which is a bargain for a player of the Serbian’s caliber.

Lars Bender
Bayer 04

FM has Lars as Bender’s best brother, and with that reputation comes a slightly higher price. If you have a little extra cash left, this is the place you want to move to.

Andrew Saved
Real Hispalis

A £ 13.75 million release clause makes Guarded pretty easy to acquire, and that’s a great price to pay for a player who can shine in midfield, on defense and even on offense. The ultimate squad player.

Diego demme

Another one that might hurt your salary budget a bit, Demme makes up for it with an elite-level work rate that makes him feel a bit like a bargain-based N’Golo Kante.

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Remo Freuler

There is a clearance sale in Atalanta so be sure to take advantage of it. Freuler feels at home as a deep playmaker, but he’s also comfortable later on and, most importantly, he’s very good at his job. It should be a lot more expensive than it is.

Bryan cristante

Surprisingly, Roma are happy to suffer a small loss when it comes to Cristante, who only joined permanently in the 2019/20 season. Your loss should be your gain.

Sergi darder

Offer Espanyol a little more of Darder’s base value and you’ll likely hear what he has to say. The Spaniard is a multifaceted star who should probably be much more expensive than him.

Sami khedira

In terms of a transfer fee, you can pick up Khedira quite easily, but her £ 195,000 a week salary makes this one a bit more complicated.

Javi martinez
FC Bayern

Like Khedira, most of Martinez’s cost will come from his salary, but they aren’t as hard to swallow as the German’s. For any team above average, it is a feasible goal.

Francis Coquelin

Coquelin’s £ 53m release clause doesn’t sound too scary, but luckily, you don’t need to get anywhere near that to do business with Villarreal, who will accept something closer to the £ 30m mark if you act fast.

Corentin Tolisso
FC Bayern

Another one we love to talk about, being able to pick Tolisso for his base value is an absolute steal. It would usually be ours 90min recommends, but we have promoted Tolisso enough. Let someone else have fun.

Adrien rabiot

Next up in Juventus’ flash sale is Rabiot. Since she’s 25, you’ll have to pay for French, but it’s definitely worth it. There aren’t many players with his unique combination of size and technical ability.

Marten de Roon

More of a defensive midfielder than his teammate Freuler, De Roon is the more expensive of the two, but he’s also the better option if you’re looking for a DM. If you can splash that little extra, feel free to pull the trigger.

Marcelo brozovic

With a £ 45.5 million release clause for foreign clubs, Brozovic is one of the easiest players to sign in this section of the list. The Inter man can do everything apart from scoring goals, and you probably won’t mind that if you’re looking for a defensive midfielder.

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Jordan veretout

Usually sought after for a couple of big sides at the start of any salvage, Veretout can be lured away from Rome for much cheaper than you might expect. He’s flirting with that elite caliber, and while there are better options, you’ll have a hard time finding one at his price.


For a player with his potential, you will have to fork out a good amount of money to get Fabian, but it is a deal that will pay only in trophies if you handle it well enough. It is already one of the best and it still has a lot of room to grow.

Rodrigo Bentancur

The final inclusion of Juventus on this list is without a doubt the most exciting. Bentancur is by no means cheap, but it is affordable anywhere with £ 50 million lying around. In today’s market, you won’t find many players of your age, skill, and potential who are available for that fee.

Manchester city

Salaries are once again the sticking point for Fernandinho, who remains one of the best defensive midfielders in the sport at 35. If you are in a club that can meet your financial demands, this is one that you should consider.

Joshua Kimmich
FC Bayern

Kimmich should be a lot more expensive than him. This is one of the best players in world football, and Bayern are open to letting him go if he adds a little more to his base value. That still makes him the most expensive player on this list, but he’s also the best player.

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