FIFA 23: Best centre-backs to sign on Career Mode for every budget

By Harry Edwards

FIFA 23: Best centre-backs to sign on Career Mode for every budget

Published: 9:30, 21 March 2023

Right now, FIFA 23 players are mostly focused on Ultimate Team, but there are still a lot whose main path on the game is Career Mode.

Career Mode remains an elite mode for those who want a long-term challenge not affected by metas or other players’ financial abilities (not to mention needing a good internet connection).

Sometimes there is nothing better than pushing a team to glory, whether that’s a new club or one created, with your own manager or an already-established name thanks to the new addition. But, whether you’re starting at Real Madrid or Fake Madrid, as Graham Potter or Harry Potter, who should you be signing?

Attack is very important on FIFA but Career Mode title races, as in real life, can be won and lost on the defence. What’s the point on scoring boatloads of goals if you cannot keep them out at the back? The biggest example of that in recent years is how Virgil van Dijk’s arrival at Liverpool transformed them into Premier League and European champions – and how shaky they look at the moment with the Dutchman not at his best.

So who is the best centre-back for you and your budget? We’ve taken a look at some of the top 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 accurate at the time of publishing.

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FIFA 23 best centre-backs to sign on Career Mode – Under £5m

Nnamdi Collins (Borussia Dortmund)

FIFA 23 Career Mode centre-backs: Nnamdi Collins

Initial FIFA 23 overall: 61
Potential FIFA 23 overall: 81
Value: £725k

If you’re managing a big club you’ll want to scroll down a bit but we know some players like to bring a smaller team up through the ranks, and that’s where a centre-back like Nnamdi Collins comes in.

Rated 61 at the start of the game, Collins is a 6’3″ teenager with naturally good jumping and strength to go with his decent defensive stats across the board. But the real selling point at the early stage of Collins’ game, especially as a centre-back, is that Pace of 85 which will keep him up with a lot of the top attackers especially at the lower levels as he improves. Collins then has the potential to grow to 81 rated overall, a nice guide to get you up the system. He’s not end game, but he’ll get you there.

The German is valued at £725k and if you strike early you can get him for just under that as his contract expires at the end of the first campaign. Grab him before he signs a new deal at Borussia Dortmund.

Giorgio Scalvini (Atalanta)

FIFA 23 Career Mode centre-backs: Giorgio Scalvini

Initial FIFA 23 overall: 71
Potential FIFA 23 overall: 86
Value: £3.5m

Another centre-back for those not looking to break the bank, but with a bit more at their disposal, is Atalanta’s — sorry, Bergamo Calcio’s — Giorgio Scalvini.

The Italian has risen through the ranks at Atalanta and in real life he’s already made over 30 appearances, while being linked with a move to Inter Milan and Liverpool. On FIFA 23, he has a starting overall of 71 with 72 Defending. That Defending includes 73 interceptions, 71 marking and 74 standing tackle, which works well when combined with 71 jumping and 72 reactions at 6’4″. The main problem right now is his pace, but you can get that up as he grows and pair him with a faster partner as he reaches his 86 potential overall.

Like Collins, Scalvini has 12 months left on his Atalanta contract so if you get in there early you can get him for around £3m – saving a bit on his £3.5m initial value.

FIFA 23 best centre-backs to sign on Career Mode – £5m – £15m

Tanguy Nianzou (Sevilla)

FIFA 23 Career Mode centre-backs: Tanguy Nianzou

Initial FIFA 23 overall: 73
Potential FIFA 23 overall: 84
Value: £5.5m

Tanguy Nianzou said goodbye to Bayern Munich in the summer and his recent move to Sevilla would have rendered him unavailable in the first transfer window in FIFAs past but that all changed last year and the Frenchman can be a target.

Still only 20, Nianzou is rated 73 overall at the start of FIFA 23 and has good defensive and physical stats including 74 standing tackle, 79 strength and 78 heading accuracy. One downside is that Nianzou is a little slow and won’t be moving too fast with his 6’3″ frame, but as you improve his defensive stats that won’t be as much of a problem, especially as he gets closer to his potential of 84.

Despite being a new signing Nianzou is only valued at £5.5m and Sevilla will accept around £7.5m, though you can get him for slightly lower if you’re happy to include add-ons into the deal.

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Micky van de Ven (Wolfsburg)

FIFA 23 Career Mode centre-backs: Micky van de Ven

Initial FIFA 23 overall: 76
Potential FIFA 23 overall: 85
Value: £13.5m

Another centre-back for those not looking to break the bank, but with a bit more at their disposal, is Wolfsburg’s Micky van de Ven.

The Dutchman has been a big part of real-life Wolfsburg this season, which sees his initial overall rise from 69 to 75. That 75 now includes 84 strength, 78 heading accuracy and 76 sliding tackle, and he is 6’4″ so could be an absolute monster as he grows. There is also pace in Van de Ven, though his 81 Pace is quite skewed with 72 acceleration but 89 sprint speed. Van de Ven also has the potential to rise to 85 overall and wouldn’t look out of place among the bigger teams.

Van de Ven is valued at £13.5m and Wolfsburg will push high but with some shrewd negotiating you can get him for just under £15m likely with a sell-on clause.

FIFA 23 best centre-backs to sign on Career Mode – £15m and above

Castello Lukeba (Lyon)

FIFA 23 Career Mode centre-backs: Castello Lukeba

Initial FIFA 23 overall: 76
Potential FIFA 23 overall: 86
Value: £13m

Your centre-back needs may depend on what kind of football you plan on playing. Are you looking for powerhouses, or do you begin your attacks from the back? If it’s the latter, Castello Lukeba could be your man.

The Frenchman starts FIFA 23 with an overall of 76 and he isn’t the tallest of centre-backs at 6’0″ but as Lisandro Martinez is showing at Manchester United, height isn’t everything. Lukeba still has good defensive stats including 79 standing tackle and 76 interceptions and his strong in the air with 75 jumping and 73 heading accuracy. The Frenchman is also good with the pass including 76 short passing and can grow to 86 overall.

Despite the promise and higher overall rating, Lyon are still happy to let Lukeba leave for around £16m, just a tad more than his value.

Nico Schlotterbeck (Borussia Dortmund)

FIFA 23 Career Mode centre-backs: Nico Schlotterbeck

Initial FIFA 23 overall: 81
Potential FIFA 23 overall: 87
Value: £32.5m

Of course, there are better centre-backs in the game with Ruben Dias, Alessandro Bastoni, Fikayo Tomori and Marquinhos all entering the 90s for potential, while the likes of Ronald Araujo, Josko Gvardiol, William Saliba, Pau Torres, Jules Kounde, Eder Militao and Matthijs de Ligt will all reach 89. But they will cost you absolute fortunes, and are probably already on your list anyway. Here we’ve gone for a slightly more under-the-radar option that will still be great.

Nico Schlotterbeck is 81 rated at the start of FIFA 23 and is still young at 22, meaning you’ve got at least 10 years with him at his best. Standing at 6’3″, the German centre-back already has 83 Defending with all five relevant attributes at 80+ including 86 standing tackle, and he’s a good passer too. Schlotterbeck isn’t exactly slow either with 76 Pace meaning he’ll be tough to beat both on the floor and in the air.

Valued at £32.5m, Dortmund know what they’ve got in Schlotterbeck so won’t let him go unless you fork out around £45m.