Six things we all do after signing a wonderkid
There are few feelings in Football Manager like when you manage to sign a young player who’s labelled as a wonderkid. It’s the FM equivalent of winning the lottery or finding water in the desert.
These players mean more to you than any normal signing; these are the players that you’ll rave to your mates about, the players you’ll remember in years to come. Here are the six things we all do after signing a wonderkid.
1. Totally buy into the hype
“This is it. This is it. This boy is going to change everything. He’s going to put FC Dordrecht on the map.”
He hasn’t even unpacked his bags yet and you’re already on the phone to a sculptor, getting a quote for how much a statue of him is going to cost. It doesn’t matter that he’s only got a seven for First Touch or that his personality is down as ‘unambitious’, the media have described him as a wonderkid and that’s good enough for you.
2. Wrap him up in cotton wool
We’ve all heard those stories of players who would have made it if it wasn’t for their dodgy knee/ankle/little toe. You tell yourself that you’re not going to let that happen to your wonderkid, so you spend 20 minutes creating a bespoke training schedule for him and invest a small fortune in your medical team. You even try to ban anyone tackling him in training until your assistant talks you out of it.
3. Pin your entire team's hopes on him being a success
Get rid of that prima donna striker who’s been angling for a move to one of the big boys. Rip up your successful tactic so you can get your new wonderkid into the starting XI. Promise the board a top four finish even though you’re only predicted to finish 12th. Your new signing is going to tear this league apart and cement your legacy as a managerial genius.
4. Get way too excited after every decent performance
He gets an 8.00 match rating? Cue wild celebrations. He gets an assist? You create a chant about him. His current ability goes up by half a star? You crack open the champagne. It’s very easy to get carried away every time a hot prospect shows any sign of living up to their high potential, especially if you’re managing in the lower leagues and have been waiting for years for someone like him to come along.
5. Miss him when he's gone
No-one wants to sell a wonderkid, especially if he’s started to live up to his potential, but sometimes it has to be done, whether that’s because of a pesky release clause or the player trying to force a move. It can be gutting to see them walk away and into the arms of another manager. But, just like when you’re up at 1:00am scrolling through your ex’s Instagram feed (and accidentally liking their photos from three years ago… we’ve all been there, right?) you can’t resist checking up on how they’re getting on once they’ve left you.
Yes, he might be off winning major club and international honours and you’re facing the sack, but you can still win him back. Honest.
6. Do it all over again
The beauty of FM is that it’s never-ending, so you can repeat this process again and again, getting that familiar wave of optimism every time you stumble across a player with massive potential. Wonderkids will come and go, but your career will carry on regardless and you’re going to be the one who’s really responsible for your team’s glory. Wait, hold on… does that say five-star potential? This really is it. This is the one.