Gaming

FIFA 21: Best centre-backs to sign on Career Mode for every budget

By Harry Edwards

Published: 14:08, 8 November 2020 | Updated: 16:26, 27 November 2020

FIFA 21 has been out for a month now and players are starting to get settled with the new game.

Ultimate Team is the most popular mode once more, but Pro Clubs is also getting some love. So too is Career Mode.

When it comes to it, 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 and playing on the counter-attack.

But what of the defence and, in particular, the centre-backs?

Let’s take a look at the real world for a second and Liverpool’s signing of Virgil van Dijk, the final piece of Jurgen Klopp’s puzzle. Had the Dutchman not joined, who knows if Liverpool would have won the Champions League or Premier League.

And it’s the same on FIFA 21. 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 available, to buy in your first window, across an array of transfer fees to make your job just a bit easier.

Values and presence of release clauses may vary per save, while availability may vary depending on strictness of transfers. All prices correct at the time of writing on 07/11/2020.

FIFA 21 best centre-backs to sign on Career Mode – Under £1m

Daniel Hoyo-Kowalski (Wisla Krakow)

FIFA 21 Career Mode CBs: Daniel Hoyo-Kowalski is a decent centre-back hidden in Poland.

Daniel Hoyo-Kowalski is a decent centre-back hidden in Poland.

Initial FIFA 21 overall: 59
Potential FIFA 21 overall: 81
Value: £600k
Wage demands: £650

We start our search in Poland and Wisla Krakow have an interesting centre-back in their hands in the form of Daniel Hoyo-Kowalski.

The Polish defender starts Career Mode aged 17 with a modest overall of 59. But his he is fairly strong for his age, and has good Agility and Jumping attributes, to go with his Standing Tackle. In the mid-60s to 70s, these attributes will only grow as Hoyo-Kowalski gets closer to his potential overall of 81, of course aided by the new development system.

Valued at £600k, Hoyo-Kowalski can be bought for around £520k with modest wage demands.

Emin Bayram (Galatasaray)

FIFA 21 Career Mode CBs: Emin Bayram can turn into a decent centre-back option.

Emin Bayram can turn into a decent centre-back option.

Initial FIFA 21 overall: 60
Potential FIFA 21 overall: 83
Value: £650k
Wage demands: £650

Another decent young player playing in a slightly less used league is Emin Bayram of Galatasaray.

The teenager is 60 rated to kick off FIFA 21 but is a pretty solid player, without having too many outstanding defensive attributes. That shouldn’t dissuade you from signing the Turkish defender, however, as his slightly above-average attributes will grow as he does, reaching his potential of 83.

Galatasaray don’t fight too hard in selling Bayram, allowing him to leav+e for his value.

Bright Akwo Arrey-Mbi (Bayern II)

FIFA 21 Career Mode CBs: Sign Bright Akwo Arrey-Mbi wherever you are.

Sign Bright Akwo Arrey-Mbi wherever you are.

Initial FIFA 21 overall: 60
Potential FIFA 21 overall: 86
Value: £850k
Wage demands: £650

No matter who you’re managing, from Harrogate Town to Liverpool, sign Bright Akwo Arrey-Mbi.

The German centre-back plies his trade in the 3. Bundesliga with Bayern Munich’s second team and has a good overall of 60 for that level. There’s nothing overly special about Arrey-Mbi at the start of Career Mode, unless you are starting from the bottom, but this signing is all about his potential. If developed correctly, Arrey-Mbi has the potential to grow to 86 overall. For reference, that’s Raphael Varane’s starting overall.

And he can be yours for just £900k and £650 per week wages.

FIFA 21 best centre-backs to sign on Career Mode for £1m-£10m

Lorenzo Pirola (AC Monza)

FIFA 21 Career Mode CBs: Lorenzo Pirola is a good centre-back for those happy to wait patiently.

Lorenzo Pirola is a good centre-back for those happy to wait patiently.

Initial FIFA 21 overall: 63
Potential FIFA 21 overall: 84
Value: £1.3m
Wage demands: £1.2k

Moving ever so slightly up in terms of funds, Lorenzo Pirola is a good centre-back for those happy to wait patiently.

The 18-year-old has an initial overall of 63 which will put some players off, particularly as you move into the millions for his transfer fee. But his defensive attributes aren’t all bad, with 67 Stand Tackle and 66 Slide Tackle, though his Defensive Awareness could do with some improvements. Those improvements will come too, with Pirola boasting a potential overall of 84.

And AC Monza will accept his value of £1.3m.

Josko Gvardiol (Dinamo Zagreb)

FIFA 21 Career Mode CBs: Josko Gvardiol is pretty solid across the board from early.

FIFA 21 Career Mode CBs: Josko Gvardiol is pretty solid across the board from early.

Initial FIFA 21 overall: 69
Potential FIFA 21 overall: 86
Value: £3m
Wage demands: £8k

Moving over to Croatia, there’s a good young centre-back in the form of Josko Gvardiol.

The teenager is pretty solid across the board early on with his initial overall of 69, boasting good strength, speed and passing attributes. These will all grow as Gvardiol does, with the potential to reach 86 overall.

Despite his promise, Zagreb do allow Gvardiol to leave for around £3.5m, slightly more than his value.

William Saliba (Arsenal)

FIFA 21 Career Mode CBs: If you've got a bit more money then William Saliba is your man.

If you’ve got a bit more money then William Saliba is your man.

Initial FIFA 21 overall: 74
Potential FIFA 21 overall: 87
Value: £8.5m
Wage demands: £29.5k

If you’ve got a bit more money for transfers and wages, then William Saliba is an excellent signing.

The French centre-back is just 19 at the start of Career Mode but has a good enough overall of 74 to slot into most teams (excluding the European giants perhaps). His Defending attribute already stands at 74, while his Jumping (75) and Strength (80) will make him a match for most in the air. But that doesn’t mean he’s bad on the ground, with 75 Stand Tackle and 73 Short Pass.

As always, his selling point is the potential to reach 87 and for around £9.8m, it’s definitely worth it.

FIFA 21 best centre-backs to sign on Career Mode for £10m-£20m

Ben White (Brighton & Hove Albion)

FIFA 21 Career Mode CBs: Ben White can be a solid pick for your back line.

Ben White can be a solid pick for your back line.

Initial FIFA 21 overall: 75
Potential FIFA 21 overall: 85
Value: £10.5m
Wage demands: £55k

As you move up the rankings, it’s a lot harder to get cheap centre-backs, particularly on good wages, which sums up how important the position is. But Ben White is a good option.

The Brighton man is slightly older than those on the list so far, starting Career Mode aged 22, but with his age comes experience and his already decent overall of 75. This is thanks, in part, to his 76 Defending, which includes 75 Stand Tackle and 77 Slide Tackle. Also boasting strength in his arsenal, White has the potential to rise to 85 and can be a solid pick for your back line.

Available for around £12.5m, the one downside to White is his wage demands, limiting a number of clubs.

Perr Schuurs (Ajax)

FIFA 21 Career Mode CBs: Perr Schuurs will be a good passer of the ball for your team.

Perr Schuurs will be a good passer of the ball for your team.

Initial FIFA 21 overall: 75
Potential FIFA 21 overall: 84
Value: £10.5m
Wage demands: £35.5k

If you want someone similar in ability to White but don’t want to pay as much when it comes to wages, Perr Schuurs could be your man.

The Ajax centre-back is slightly younger than White too, aged 20, but joins him with an initial overall of 75. His Defending is also 75 but where Schuurs differs is in his passing, being more than capable at the start with 72. However, his overall does only rise to 84, still a good option but that could sway some decisions.

His value is £10.5m, but Schuurs can be bought for a bit more, at £13m.

Fikayo Tomori (Chelsea)

FIFA 21 Career Mode CBs: Fikayo Tomori is another young English centre-back worth taking a look at.

Fikayo Tomori is another young English centre-back worth taking a look at.

Initial FIFA 21 overall: 76
Potential FIFA 21 overall: 85
Value: £14m
Wage demands: £60k

Another young English centre-back worth taking a look at is Fikayo Tomori who, at the start of FIFA 21 Career Mode, only has 12 months remaining on his contract.

The 22-year-old is out of favour at Chelsea this season but his Defending attribute comes in at 76, mirroring his overall. Tomori is also pretty pacy for a centre-back, which can be quite important if FIFA 21 continues the way it has started. He’ll also improve if you develop him right, with a potential overall of 85.

Given his contract situation, Tomori can be bought for his value, but again the wages may be a problem.

FIFA 21 best centre-backs to sign on Career Mode for £20m and above

Ozan Kabak (Schalke)

FIFA 21 Career Mode CBs: Ozan Kabak is a good centre-back option for his price.

Ozan Kabak is a good centre-back option for his price.

Initial FIFA 21 overall: 77
Potential FIFA 21 overall: 87
Value: £19.5m
Wage demands: £60k

Moving into the big money signings, you can still get a good centre-back for close to £20m in Ozan Kabak.

The Turk starts FIFA 21 with an overall rating of 77, modest, but not low enough to make him unusable for the bigger teams. Kabak has good Defensive and Physical attributes, including his Stand Tackle of 80, which goes well with his Strength (85). And he can grow to 87 overall, becoming one of the top tier centre-backs.

His potential is the main reason why, despite his value of just under £20m, Schalke want around £25m for the defender.

Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)

FIFA 21 Career Mode CBs: The cherry on top of Dayot Upamecano is his 90 potential.

The cherry on top of Dayot Upamecano is his 90 potential.

Initial FIFA 21 overall: 80
Potential FIFA 21 overall: 90
Value: £40m
Wage demands: £70k

He was one of the most-wanted centre-backs in the world last summer, but for now, Dayot Upamecano remains at RB Leipzig. Unless you buy him.

The Frenchman is still only 21 but already has an overall rating of 80, good enough to fit into most teams without completely harming the back line. He’s okay on the ball, with 77 Short Pass and 73 Long Pass, but Upamecano’s all about the tackling (84 in Stand Tackle will make him tough to beat). And to wrap it all up in a nice bow, Upamecano has a potential overall rating of 90.

It’s because of this that RB Leipzig want more than his value, roughly £60m to be less vague, but it’s worth it.

Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus)

FIFA 21 Career Mode CBs: If you've got the funds, Matthijs de Ligt is a must.

If you’ve got the funds, Matthijs de Ligt is a must.

Initial FIFA 21 overall: 85
Potential FIFA 21 overall: 92
Value: £89m
Wage demands: £120k

Now this will only be for the select few, those who have money to burn both in transfer funds and wages, but Matthijs de Ligt will be a must for those.

The 20-year-old has a starting overall of 85 and is already one of the best centre-backs in the game with 80+ in all of his defensive and physical attributes, with the exception of his stamina. De Ligt is able to pass the ball, too, for those who like to play the ball around the back. But the biggest reason to sign De Ligt, and exactly why he costs so much, is his potential overall of 92.

Becoming the best centre-back in the game doesn’t come cheap, as we’ve said, and Juventus want around £135m for him on top of his big wages.

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