When it comes to FIFA 20 Career Mode, most players might look to build their attack first and worry about the rest of the squad later.
It’s a system that makes sense with virtual title races often won and lost depending on how big strikers perform in tight games.
Others may look to fill the wings with pace, getting the better of their opponents by steering clear of challenges, playing on the counter-attack.
But what of the defence?
If we take a look at real life for a second, Liverpool’s growth under Jurgen Klopp only reached the level it has following the signing of Virgil van Dijk in January 2018. Had the Dutchman not joined, who knows if Liverpool would have won the Champions League or be so close to the Premier League title.
And it’s the same on FIFA 20. If you do not have a solid centre-back, your defence will leak potentially costly goals. But who is the right centre-back for you and your budget?
We’ve taken a look at some of the best centre-back options across an array of transfer fees to make your job just a bit easier, picking only those available in the first transfer window. We only ask for a thank you in your press conferences after the league has been won.
Values and presence of release clauses may vary per save. All prices correct at the time of publishing on 29/04/2020.
FIFA 20 best centre-backs to sign on Career Mode – Under £1m
Nathan Wood (Middlesbrough)
If you want to sign a good young centre-back with room for growth but are hindered by a small budget, take a look at Nathan Wood.
The 17-year-old has an initial overall rating of 61, with fairly good defensive stats including 64 marking and 62 standing tackle – to go with 67 strength. At 6’2″ he won’t be pushed off the ball too easily and has the potential to grow to 82. Wood starts Career Mode with a value of £475k but his contract ends in 12 months time so you can low-ball Boro and get the young centre-back for around £320k.
Nathan Collins (Stoke City)
Another Championship centre-back that can grow with your team without breaking the bank is Irishman Nathan Collins.
The 18-year-old starts FIFA 20 with 72 strength and 67 aggression, decent stats for his 63 overall rating – not to mention his 6’4″ frame. Collins also has decent defensive stats but the biggest selling point for him will be his growth, with the Irishman having the potential to reach 84. If you strike early, you should be able to get Collins at value for £700k.
Nicolo Armini (Lazio)
Moving away from the Championship, there is another impressive young centre-back at Lazio in the form of Nicolo Armini.
The 66-rated centre-back, aged 18, has strength of 67 and impressive tackling stats at 70 and 68 for standing and sliding tackles respectively. Like the others in this section, Armini also has high growth with a potential Career Mode rating of 84. He is valued at £1.1m at the start of the game but you can get Armini for around £950k with good negotiation.
FIFA 20 best centre-backs to sign on Career Mode for ££1m-£10m
Eric Garcia (Manchester City)
Turning towards the slightly more expensive centre-back options – though still achievable for teams with smaller budgets – Eric Garcia represents a solid signing.
The young Man City defender kicks off with an initial rating of 69, filled with decent attributes including 69 standing tackle and 73 jumping. He’ll also be capable of playing out from the back if you so wish, with 68 short passing that will grow if he reaches his potential of 85. Garcia is valued by Man City at £1.8m and they won’t put up too much of a fight if you offer that.
Benoit Badiashile (AS Monaco)
If you have a little more money to play with but still want a young centre-back with promise, Benoit Badiashile is a good option.
Another teenager blessed with height, the Frenchman stands 6’4″ and as a result boasts 81 strength and 71 jumping. But he is also good with his feet, with 74 standing tackles and decent short passing of 70 – perhaps one to build out from the back. Badiashile starts FIFA 20 Career Mode with a rating of 72 but can rise as high as 86 if used right, owing partially to his young age of 18. If you want to make Badiashile yours, he is valued at £4.6m but you’ll have to fork out a little more, closer to £5.5m.
Saul Salcedo (Club Atlético Huracán)
Jumping away from Europe momentarily, it might be wise to look into signing Paraguayan Saul Salcedo if you want a decent centre-back.
Playing for Huracán, Salcedo starts FIFA 20 Career Mode with an overall rating of 73 thanks, in part, to his 90 jumping and 81 strength. But he also has 74 reactions, 73 marking and 77 standing tackle – which will only improve if he reaches his potential rating of 84. Valued at £5.5m, you’ll have to pay closer to £8m for his services.
FIFA 20 best centre-backs to sign on Career Mode for ££10m-£20m
Luiz Felipe (Lazio)
Another Lazio centre-back worth looking into on FIFA 20 is 22-year-old Luiz Felipe.
The Brazilian starts with an initial rating of 78 but does have 81 interceptions and 81 marking, meaning he can cut out attacks before they start to trouble your defence. And when he is taken on, 79 standing and sliding tackles will give him a good chance of coming out on top. Luiz Felipe does also have the potential to rise to 87 meaning he can be one of your top players. Despite having 12 months remaining on his contract, you will have to pay Lazio just over his value of £15.5m – but it is certainly worth it.
Dan-Axel Zagadou (Borussia Dortmund)
If you want man mountain at the back, look no further than Dan-Axel Zagadou.
The 20-year-old stands at 6’5″ and weighs 90kg which, understandably, adds up to 92 strength with an initial rating of 79. Zagadou also boasts standing tackle of 86 and short passing of 75, turning him into a solid all-round option – while he can potentially rise to 86 overall. The Frenchman can come with a release clause of £26.8m, but you can get him for closer to £17m.
FIFA 20 best centre-backs to sign on Career Mode for £20m and above
Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)
After the summer transfer window, everyone now knows who Dayot Upamecano is, and he’s a very reliable centre-back on FIFA 20.
Despite his initial rating being a moderate 80, the 21-year-old already boasts 88 jumping and 88 strength, being a real mean presence at the back. His standing tackle of 85 will also make him hard to beat, like a rock at the centre of your defence – though a moving one with 76 pace. Did we mention his potential rating of 88? His value is £19m and if you strike early on FIFA 20 Career Mode you can get Upamecano for a slightly higher price of £22m.
Joe Gomez (Liverpool)
For some players, £20m won’t be considered expensive but not every team is blessed with a high budget. And that’s where Joe Gomez could also come in.
The young English centre-back has a decent initial rating of 82, which includes 85 standing tackle and 83 interceptions – a solid option at the back. Gomez also boasts 82 pace and 77 short passing, so potentially work well in a back three should you wish to go down to the Chris Wilder route. With potential to grow to 89, it will be near-on impossible to sign Gomez at his value of £25.5m, but with determined negotiation he can be yours for around £30m.
Alessio Romagnoli (AC Milan)
If you want a centre-back that is established but can still improve with age, without completely blowing your budget, there may be no better option than Alessio Romagnoli.
The Italian is rated 83, so will immediately slot into most top teams, with 85 defending comprised of 88 tackling, 86 standing tackle and 82 slide tackle. His physical rating of 78 is also worth noting, with 85 aggression. And these will only improve if he reaches his potential overall of 89. Romagnoli is valued at £29m but you’ll have to fork out a little more, around £45m, for his services.
Milan Skriniar (Inter Milan)
Finally, the bank-breaker. The big man you should 100% sign if you have the funds: Milan Skriniar.
One of the best centre-backs in the game, Skriniar has an initial rating of 86 but that can rise to 90 if you use him right in Career Mode. The Slovakian has outstanding defence stats including 92 marking and 87 standing tackles, while his strength and aggression will also be key. Naturally, he’s valued high at £46.5 but Inter won’t take anything close to that. Instead they will push closer to his release clause of £82.5m, and he can be bought for around £75m if you’re lucky – worth it for possibly the best centre-back on FIFA 20 Career Mode.