Being a manager is a pretty simple job at times.
Just get the best players, put them all together, and hey presto, you’ve got yourself some trophies.
Right? Right. Well, that’s how it works on Football Manager at least!
If you’re new to the 2022 edition of FM, you’ll probably want to know who to look out for in the transfer market and who are the absolute top brass are to improve your side. Good news, you don’t need to look any further than the below to find the best of the best…
Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong’s career has been on an upwards trajectory for a good few years now.
The Dutchman is one of the finest midfielders around, and to make it even better, he’s not even close to living up to his potential.
Linked with most of Europe’s elite over the past five years, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is a unique type of midfielder.
He’s tall and powerful, yet agile and technically gifted. You won’t find many like the Lazio man.
Anchoring Liverpool’s midfield is Fabinho, who is undeniably one of the best defensive midfielders around.
The Brazilian boasts some excellent mental attributes and always knows how to sniff out danger.
Now plying his trade in Madrid, David Alaba is one of the few players on the planet who can genuinely claim to be world class in a number of positions.
On FM22, his base position remains a left-back, but you can slot him into centre-back or even midfield and you won’t be disappointed.
There aren’t many players on the game who can claim to have better vision, passing or technique than Liverpool’s Thiago.
He’s most comfortable pulling the strings from the base of midfield, but he’s just as happy a little further forward and you can even play him behind your striker if you’re feeling adventurous.
18 finishing for Ciro Immobile, who has been one of Serie A’s scariest strikers for a while now.
He’s regularly towards the top of the league’s scoring charts, failing to hit the 20-goal mark just once in his five full seasons with Lazio, and he’ll rack up similar numbers if you put him in the right system.
Since his move to France, Angel Di Maria has looked like one of the best playmakers around.
At 33 years old, the Argentine might not have long left at the highest level, but he’s still more than good enough to tear through any defence on his day.
Leon Goretzka is one of the most complete players on the planet. The Bayern Munich man can dominant at both ends of the field.
26 at the start of the game, there’s still a little bit of room for Goretzka to grow, but even if he doesn’t, he’ll remain an unstoppable force.
An elite ball-winning midfielder, you won’t find many who would argue with N’Golo Kante’s presence on this list.
Not only are his defensive attributes outstanding, but his mental stats are out of this world. He performs at a high level every week and can even step it up on the biggest stage.
One look at Raphael Varane’s trophy cabinet and you’ll understand why he’s heralded as one of the best centre-backs of the modern era.
A champion of Spain, Europe and the world, Varane is now plying his trade in Manchester after leaving Madrid in the summer.
Varane left behind Eden Hazard, who remains one of the best around even if injuries have slowed his progress in Madrid.
The Belgian’s 19 dribbling is among the highest you’ll find, while 16 passing and 15 finishing all help him stand out as one of FM22’s top wingers.
Whether you play him as a striker or an attacking midfielder, Paulo Dybala is capable of giving you some unreal performances.
19 first touch is Dybala’s top attribute, but add 18 dribbling, 17 passing and 15 finishing to the mix and you’ve got the recipe for a top player.
Goalscoring is Luis Suarez’s bread and butter. He brings 17 composure, 17 movement and 18 finishing to terrorise defenders across Europe.
He’s so good at putting the ball in the back of the net that it’s easy to forget about his 16 passing, so don’t be surprised to see his assist numbers rack up too.
You won’t find many better midfield anchors than Casemiro, who has been shining for club and country for the past six years.
The Brazil man is physically dominant and technically capable of holding his own in any midfield battle, and his 14 long shots are just an added bonus.
He might not always get the chance to show it at Manchester City, but Raheem Sterling’s quality is abundantly clear whenever he gets on the pitch.
England fans know all about his goalscoring heroics, but his standout stats are actually his 19 movement, 19 agility and 15 dribbling.
A move to Bayern Munich has really helped reignite Leroy Sane’s career, and he’s now back among the finest wingers around.
His agility and dribbling are both terrifying, but Sane also brings 14s for both passing and finishing to add to the fun.
Lautaro Martinez’s current ability is enormous, and he’s still got a little extra room to grow into a world-beater.
What makes Martinez is special is how well-rounded his stats are. He’s excellent at nearly everything in the final third and his mental attributes only make him scarier.
He’s at his best as a striker, but Antoine Griezmann can shine anywhere across the forward line.
The Frenchman is actually best-suited as a right winger, where you can make the most out of his 18 movement and 16 dribbling.
£100m man Jack Grealish is one of the best playmakers you’ll find thanks to his 17 dribbling and 16 vision.
He’s at his best on the left of midfield, but don’t be scared to stick him behind the striker and let him do his work centrally.
After a stellar season with Manchester City, Aymeric Laporte established himself as one of the game’s most-feared defenders.
Not only does he bring 16 marking, 16 heading and 15 tackling, but Laporte’s ability with the ball at his feet is what sets him apart from the rest. He’s one of the best ball-playing defenders around.
On the other side of Manchester, Paul Pogba is strutting his stuff as a do-it-all midfielder.
His contract is winding down, so if you’re going to sign him for your team, now is the time to pounce.
One of the greatest strikers in modern history, Sergio Aguero swapped City for Barcelona in the summer and now stands tall as the Catalan side’s top forward.
He’s got excellent movement and finishing, making him as deadly as ever in the penalty box.
Madrid’s midfield metronome, Toni Kroos is still going strong at the fine old age of 31.
The German is one of the best passers around and still has a good few years left at the top of the mountain.
Pep Guardiola’s desire to sign Ruben Dias was justified last season as he emerged as one of the most dominant centre-backs on the planet.
Statistically, he’s the third best centre-back on FM22. Stay tuned for the top two.
The man responsible for the raumdeuter role, Thomas Muller is every FM manager’s dream.
He slots perfectly into the attacking midfield spot, where you can make the most of his game-high 20 movement.
Bernardo Silva is so versatile in FM22. He’s primarily a right winger but can shine centrally, and you can drop him deeper into midfield and not even notice a difference.
Still only 26 years old at the start of the game, Silva can offer any team the best of a decade of elite service.
City stopper Ederson is the definition of a modern goalkeeper. He’s just as good with his feet as he is with his hands.
With 20 kicking and 18 passing, Ederson is undoubtedly a crucial weapon for City. There’s a reason Guardiola felt he was the missing piece.
Sergio Ramos took his talents to PSG in the summer in the search of yet more trophies.
He may well be 35 when the game gets going, but don’t rule out Ramos adding plenty more titles to his ridiculous trophy cabinet before he eventually calls time on his career.
Ramos’ former team-mate in Madrid, Modric is also 35 when you get going, but he’s still undisputedly one of the best playmakers you could ever dream of finding.
With 19 passing, 19 vision and 19 first touch, Modric can control any game with ease.
Son Heung-min’s greatness is no secret. He’s hit double figures for goals in each of his last five seasons and wasn’t far off hitting 20 last year. He’s just entering his prime.
You can actually get the most out of Son if you play him as a striker, but he’s just as dangerous on either wing.
Few players have managed the kind of instant impact that Bruno Fernandes has when he moved to England in January 2020.
Attacking midfield is his best position, and you’d be wise to play him there to make the most of his 17 long shots and 17 passing.
Narrowly ahead of Ederson is fellow Brazilian Alisson, who is just as happy taking on the role of sweeper keeper.
He’s 28 years old but actually still has a little room left to grow, so manage him well and you could have the best goalkeeper on the game in just a year or two.
Chelsea hitman Romelu Lukaku scores goals. It’s as simple as that.
He’s done it everywhere he’s gone, and when you see his 18 finishing and 20 penalty taking, you’ll understand why.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen is everything you could want in a goalkeeper. He has 19 kicking and 18 reflexes, so regardless of how you want to play him, you know you’re going to be impressed.
The 29-year-old isn’t going to be cheap to sign, but if you’ve got the bank balance, you won’t be disappointed with him.
El Clasico is full of dominant goalkeepers. This time, it’s Thibaut Courtois’ turn.
The towering Belgian is practically perfect when it comes to claiming crosses but is just as comfortable on the ground, where his 18 reflexes and 17 one-on-ones can shine.
Sticking with goalkeepers, Jan Oblak has spent years building a reputation as one of the greatest shot stoppers in the history of the Spanish top flight.
His 19 reflexes make him incredibly difficult to beat, while his 18 handling means you can pretty much forget about getting any rebounds off him.
Sadio Mane’s dribbling has always been feared, but since he’s added goals to his game, the Liverpool man is a different animal.
His physical stats remain some of the best you’ll find on FM22, while his dribbling skills are just scary. With 18 pace and 16 agility, he can wriggle his way around any defender.
The fact that Erling Haaland is still just 21 is mental. He’s already one of the best strikers in the world and has the potential to become an absolute legend in just a few years.
Borussia Dortmund are prepared to sell the towering forward, but you’re going to have to save up a huge transfer budget if you want any chance of winning the race for his signature.
He might be 35, but Manuel Neuer is still the gold standard when it comes to goalkeepers.
Dominant in every aspect of the job, Neuer is one of the few goalkeepers who is good enough to be played as an attack-minded sweeper. It’s like having an extra centre-back at times.
Neuer’s team-mate for both club and country, Joshua Kimmich is another of those who can genuinely claim to be world class in a number of positions.
Central midfield is his best role, but he’s at home playing a little deeper as well and can even do an unreal job in defence. Right-back is his go-to spot there, but if you ever need an emergency centre-back, you can call him as well.
The first of PSG’s superstar forward trio to make this list, Neymar’s 20 dribbling makes him incredibly fun to watch.
You want him to score goals? He’s got 16 finishing so that’s easy. More bothered about assists? Look no further than his 17 passing.
Now the star man in Madrid, Karim Benzema has taken his game to a completely different level in the past few years.
The 33-year-old is so well-rounded, with his 18 passing actually being his standout attribute.
Is it any surprise that Virgil van Dijk is the game’s highest-rated centre-back?
Even coming off the back of his nasty injury, Van Dijk remains absolutely dominant at the heart of Liverpool’s back line. 18 heading, 17 tackling and 16 pace ensure most attackers don’t have what it takes to beat him.
Cristiano Ronaldo is 100% a striker these days and you’ll want to play him up top if you want to make the most of his skills, which include 19 finishing and 18 movement.
He’ll still dominate if you play him out on the left wing, but that Ronaldo magic is reserved for a central role these days.
Harry Kane’s new-found love for a pass has been rewarded with a whopping 18 in that stat.
That’s higher than most playmakers on the game, and when you factor in his 19 finishing, you’ll see why Kane is heralded as one of FM22’s top talents.
FREE TRANSFER ALERT! FREE TRANSFER ALERT!
The summer of 2022 may be your only chance to pick up one of the game’s elite for absolutely nothing. There will be a lot of competition for his signature, but please, fight your way to the front of the queue.
If you’ve watched Liverpool over the start of the 2021/22 season, you’ll be in agreement with Mohamed Salah’s status as one of the world’s best.
The Egypt international’s 18 finishing and 17 dribbling make him perfect for his role out on the right wing, but you can even play him as a central striker without noticing a dip in his performances.
If you want a playmaker, you want Kevin De Bruyne. He’s the best FM22 has to offer in that role.
His 20 vision and 18 passing make him perfect for the attacking midfield role, but De Bruyne is also perfect for a spot deeper in midfield. There’s not a lot he can’t do.
If you could get higher than 20 finishing, there’s no doubt that Robert Lewandowski would be there. The Bayern striker is just out of this world.
With an expiring contract, he’s not actually as hard to sign as you might imagine. Definitely worth a try if you’ve got some hefty room in your wage budget.
No surprises here. Lionel Messi tops the list as FM22’s finest player.
Everywhere you look, there are 20s. Dribbling, finishing, passing, vision, decisions, technique, determination, flair… it’s just mental. He’s the best around and it’s not really close.