As part of the build-up to FM15’s “official release” on 7th November, many of us have been looking through the beta database for potential future signings. There have been a series of YouTube videos highlighting people’s favourite prospects and one of the more prolific Youtubers, Statistical Approach, asked me to provide a shortlist of Austrian prospects for a series he was doing.
You can find that video here and it’s well worth a look but I felt I should do a blog piece on the Austrian prospects in the game, particularly as my opinion on the best prospects is very different to that of SA.
First of all, this is the video that Statistical Approach did, well worth a look:
If you are interested, you can find the amended shortlist here – this contains what I consider to be the 32 best Austrian prospects in the save along with the best Rapid Wien youngsters who were accidentally missed from the list I provided to SA.
The shortlist includes only Austrian players under 22 but does not include the really obvious names like David Alaba. There’s really very little point in recommending a Champions League winner that everyone has heard of. There will be players who suit every level, rather than just those who may make it in the top leagues. So hopefully, there’ll be someone in there who suits you.
Before I move on to some of the potential bargains for smaller teams, though, here are a few I consider to be the best Austrian prospects:
NOTE – I never look at a player’s CA/PA values as I think this is more or less cheating. So my thoughts below are based on my interpretation of their in-game ability and what I’ve seen of players in real life. Please don’t quote CA/PA numbers to me as I am not interested. Thanks.
Sandi Lovric – Sturm Graz – 16 – DM/M C
I would fully expect to see Lovric listed in all of the “best 100 youngsters in football” lists you’ll see appearing shortly from the likes of In Bed With Maradona. He’s seen as a huge prospect in Austria and this is reflected in his FM15 profile.
His attributes are already impressive for a 16 year-old, although with obvious room to develop – particularly in his mental attributes.
With a market value of £175k at the start of the game, he should be something of a bargain. His starting attributes appear balanced enough that you can mould him into whatever sort of midfielder you like although my immediate thoughts are to use him as a deep creator. He looks like he’s got the makings of a great deep-lying playmaker with the defensive attributes to screen the defence whilst providing a creative outlet.
Sascha Horvath – Austria Wien – 17 – MC / AMCLR
Another midfield prospect for Austria who looks like he could become very good. In fact, at the start of my beta game some of the biggest clubs in world football are chasing Horvath – Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, Real, Juve, Barca… so he’s clearly got pedigree.
Another player who has been given positions I don’t agree with, Horvath is capable of playing anywhere in midfield and up-front in FM – although I’ll be editing my game to remove the capability of playing as a striker or in the wider positions.
For me, he’s a classic number 10 – his technique, flair, passing ability, vision… bit of dribbling to go past a player. He’s really very good and at £245k shouldn’t break the bank either.
Valentino Lazaro – RB Salzburg – 18 – MC / AMCLR
Another whose natural positions are mis-represented in the game, Lazaro really plays from deeper positions and even, on occasion, right back – and I will be editing it to become more accurate for my game.
What is better covered, though, is his potential although even here I think there may be some underestimation. Lazaro is generally seen as a real prospect in Austria and I think he should be a little better in game.
Having said that, he’s still clearly a very good young player – one that I think should be playing in a “central winger” type role somewhat akin to Angel Di Maria.
Given RBS’ wealth and relative large reputation in Austria, it may be difficult to attract him unless you are a very big club but certainly worth keeping an eye on.
Cican Stankovic – SV Grödig – 21 – GK
Goalkeeper used to be a real problem position for me in club and country saves but there are a number of young promising Austrian goalies these days – Lucic, Kriedl, Leitner, Schierl – but Stankovic is the cream of the crop for me.
He’s already agreed a deal to sign for RB Salzburg at the end of the first season but keep an eye on him as I think he’s going to be excellent.
Will need a little work if you prefer to use a sweeper-‘keeper but as a shot stopper he’s going to be superb.
Martin Hinteregger – RB Salzburg – 21 – CB/LB
Statistical Approach highlighted fellow centre back Kevin Wimmer from the shortlist I provided and I can’t really disagree that he will also be a great prospect but SA pointed out one problem with Wimmer – he already plays in Germany at Köln and may cost you a pretty penny.
Hinteregger, on the other hand, still plays in Austria at RBS and is likely to be looking for a move to a bigger club before long. And as you can see, there’s not much to choose between the pair:
Personally, I hope they both develop well and, along with Aleksander Dragovic, I’ll have myself a formidable set of centre backs for the national side.
Alessandro Schöpf – 20 – Nurnberg – MC/AMC
The former Bayern midfielder has just moved to Nurnberg and so is unlikely to be available in season one but you should keep an eye on him if you’re looking for a creative midfielder who can score a few.
He’s a bit lightweight and he’s not the quickest but, other than that, he’s another central midfield option that should develop well.
Ylli Sallahi – Bayern Munich – 20 – D/WB/M/AML
You might think a 20 year-old in the Bayern Munich squad would be out of reach for the vast majority of managers in FM but with Alaba and Bernat sure to dominate the left back position for quite some time, it is entirely possible that someone could pick up a real deal in Sallahi.
He’s clearly very, very good and I will be capping him almost immediately in my game to ensure he doesn’t “defect” to his second nationality – Albania.
Capable of playing anywhere on the left flank, he looks like he’d be most comfortable in one of the more advanced positions to me. If I were to use him as fullback or wingback, I’d probably try to work on his marking, tackling and positioning which are all a little low for a top end player. Nevertheless, a real prospect.
Louis Schaub – Rapid Wien – 19 – MC – AMCR
I think Schaub appeared in last year’s top 100 on IWBM and with good reason. I watch a lot of Rapid Wien games and Schaub is clearly one of the best prospects at the club, if not the league.
I tend to agree with FM that his best position will be at AMC as a natural number 10 but Rapid tend to use him from the right-flank and I think, with Austria’s strength in the centre (as seen above), he’ll end up playing from right-mid for me too. Naturally left-footed, he has the “cuts inside” PPM and is capable of being both a creative influence in the middle and a goal threat in his own right.
His mental attributes are excellent and keeping a hold of him will be a real priority for me in my save. If you fancied trying to buy him, I reckon somewhere between £1-1.5m should convince the Rapid hierarchy to part with him.
And now for those who are prospects but probably not for the top echelon teams…
Tobias Pellegrini – 18 – LASK Linz – ST (C)
I’ve only seen Pellegrini myself for the national side’s U-19s where I thought he was pretty average from right wing. The game has him as a striker, though, and he seems like he could turn into a bit of a bargain.
His mental attributes are very handy for his age and although his physicals may need some work he should become very handy indeed. With LASK in Austria’s second tier, I doubt he’ll cost a lot more than his £50k listed value.
Philipp Lienhart – Rapid Wien (on loan at Real Madrid) – 17 – CB
Real Madrid took Lienhart on loan from Rapid this summer and he’s been putting in some great performances for the national unders squads so he obviously has real potential but I’m not convinced this is mirrored in the game so I’ve put him in the “potential bargains” section.
There is no option in the loan deal for Real to take Lienhart permanently so he’s likely to be available after season one. He’s not the quickest and his Concentration of 5 would worry me if it doesn’t increase but, other than that, he’s got potential to be handy.
There are a number of other prospects in the Rapid youth setup such as Thomas Steiner, Christian Ehrenhofer ,Maximillian Wöber and Philipp Schmiedl; but I think their attributes may be randomised at the start of the game so I would be loathe to recommend them.
Marco Djuricin – Sturm Graz – 21 – ST (C) / AMRLC
At 21, it’s unlikely Djuricin is going to develop enough to be a real top striker but he’s “pretty good” across the board and would be a very handy signing for a Championship or 2.Bundesliga side looking to make a promotion push.
He’s also capable of playing anywhere behind the main striker and would do a decent job as an inside forward.
He’s probably one of those players who is “just okay” across the board and doesn’t excel at any particular role but having a versatile player like that in your squad can be very helpful.
And that’s your lot. If you want to see the full shortlist, it is available for download here. As stated, not all of these players are going to be good enough for the really top sides but I doubt that many people playing as the top sides will be looking for youth talent anyway!
I hope some people find this helpful and if you want to see how some of these players develop, then I suggest checking back on this blog every now and again as I hope you’ll see them all develop to their maximum potential in my Club and Country save.
If you think I’ve missed any prospects, please let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading.