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 won and lost 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 defensive midfielders?
Almost every popular formation in FIFA 20 utilises at least one CDM, who will be needed to sweep up in front of the defence, start the attacks, or both.
That makes it vital for the right defensive midfielder to be bought early on. But who is the right CDM for you and your budget?
We’ve taken a look at some of the best CDM options across an array of transfer fees to make your job just a bit easier. We only ask for a thank you in your press conferences after the league has been won.
Best cheap CDMs on FIFA 2020 (Under £1m)
Andres Balanta (Deportivo Cali)
When looking for cheap, but good, options at CDM in FIFA 20 Career Mode it’s best to turn your attentions away from Europe and search for younger players you can grow.
Perhaps the best option for this is Deportivo Cali midfielder Andres Balanta, currently playing in Colombia’s top flight. At just 19 years old, the CDM has an overall of 61 with decent stamina (71), standing tackle (63) and short passing (64). Valued at around £450k, you won’t have to pay too much for the teenager who has the potential to grow to 81 overall.
Andres Perea (Atletico Nacional)
Another Colombian teenager who would prove to be useful addition to your squad without costing too much money is 18-year-old Andres Perea.
The Atletico Nacional CDM is slightly better than his compatriot Balanta, possessing an initial rating of 63 despite not turning 19 until November in-game. Both his standing and sliding tackle are admirable at 64 and 63 respectively, while his acceleration of 74 and stamina of 72 could be dynamite. Although he does come with a release clause of £1.55m, Perea can be signed for around £720k, though you may be able to get that a bit lower with his initial value at £575k.
James Garner (Manchester United)
One European option you could go for without breaking the bank is Manchester United’s CDM James Garner.
The 18-year-old has decent all-round stats for his overall rating of 65, including 65 short passing and 63 standing tackle. The biggest point of interest on the Englishman’s profile is his potential of 84, meaning he can turn into a gem if you get him early on. Garner is initially valued at £850k and Man Utd won’t take that, but you can still persuade them with around 950k, just shy of the £1m mark.
Best lower mid-range CDMs for FIFA 20 Career Mode players (£1m-£10m)
Oliver Skipp (Tottenham Hotspur)
Moving into a lower mid-range for teams who can afford slightly more, but still want to keep it low, Tottenham Hotspur’s Oliver Skipp could be a valuable signing.
The 19-year-old has featured for Tottenham’s first team this season but will likely be out of it on FIFA 20, and this is where you can capitalise. Coming in with an initial rating of 67, Skipp boasts 73 short passing and 69 standing tackle, while also rising as high as 84 in Career Mode. He’s valued at £1.3m and it won’t take much more to make him yours; Spurs should accept around £2m.
Orel Mangala (Stuttgart)
Even more impressive than Skipp is Stuttgart CDM Orel Mangala, who should really cost more than he does given how good he can become.
With a rating of 74, the Belgian midfielder has three-star skill moves and four-star weak foot to add to 77 short passing and impressing dribbling stats. Mangala also has decent strength at 72, which will only improve if you help him reach his potential overall rating of 83. He’s valued at £7m, which Stuttgart waste little time in accepting given their status as 2. Bundesliga-dwellers.
Ludovit Reis (Barcelona)
Barcelona are full of midfield talent and most of them will be out of reach for all but the biggest teams. But one you could lure away easily is Ludovit Reis.
Starting with a rating of 70, the Dutch midfielder is certainly one to cut out opposition attacks; his interceptions rating starts at 75. The 19-year-old is also pretty good in the air, with jumping rating of 82 while his standing tackle’s 70 shouldn’t be ignored. Reis has an initial value of £2.8m, but it might just be worth triggering his £7.5m release clause to avoid any hassle.
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Best upper mid-range CDMs (£10m-£20m)
Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United)
Moving onto the slightly more expensive CDMs, you shouldn’t overlook Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips.
He is being linked with a big move in actual reality, so it should come as to no surprise to see art imitating life on FIFA 20. Starting with a rating of 76, the Englishman won’t be bullied in the middle of the pitch with an 83 physical rating, including 82 strength and 84 aggression. Very much a defence-minded midfielder, Phillips’ standing tackling of 76 will be useful. He is initially valued at £8.5m but Leeds won’t budge lower than £10m, eventually settling for around £12m.
Marc Roca (Espanyol)
A passing maestro, Marc Roca can be key in your attacking play at CDM if you manage to lure him from Espanyol.
The Spaniard starts with a rating of 79 but has short passing of 83 and long passing of 84 in addition to 80 vision. But not only capable of spraying balls around the pitch, Roca also has 76 standing tackle and 74 sliding tackle, meaning he is good at both ends. With a potential overall rating of 86, Roca does have a release clause of £33.3m but you can get him for a lot closer to his value (£14.5m) with Espanyol accepting around £17.5m.
Sander Berge (Genk)
Another already-established CDM who can continue to improve is Genk’s Sander Berge.
The Norwegian starts FIFA 20 with a rating of 79, boasting 91 strength and 82 short passing among other seriously impressive stats. But the biggest drawing point for the 21-year-old is his potential rating of 87. Sign him early and you could end up with a top drawer CDM. Berge’s initial value is £15.5m and while Genk won’t accept that you can still get him for around £19m with good negotiation.
Expensive (£20m and above)
Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City)
For some players, £20m won’t be considered expensive, but not every team is blessed with a high budget and might want to spread their finances. That’s where Wilfred Ndidi could come in.
Everyone knows how good the Nigerian is, but his FIFA 20 rating of 81 doesn’t do him justice. Neither does his potential of just 84. This is all despite his defensive rating coming in at 84, including 84 marking and 85 standing tackle. Ndidi will also rarely tire in a match with 92 stamina. And his 90 jumping helps stop attacks in the air or on the ground. As a result of his low rating, Ndidi is valued at £18.5m and can be yours for around £25m.
Lucas Torreira (Arsenal)
Another Premier League CDM who could represent a good addition to your team if you have the funds is Lucas Torreira.
The Uruguayan is slightly better than Ndidi overall with a rating of 82 and also has the potential to rise to 87 in Career Mode. Torreira is a very good all-round CDM with impressive passing, dribbling, defending and physical stats including 87 aggression and 83 short passing. He’s valued at £24.5m, and although Arsenal will be demand much more than this, you can get them to do business for around £35m with good negotiation.
Now, if you’ve got big money to play with then there’s only one CDM for you: Fabinho.
Boasting an initial rating of 86, the Brazilian CDM is capable of adding to both defensive and attacking sides of your game. He has 84 short passing and 87 standing tackling, and can be crucial in a penalty shootout with 91 penalties. Fabinho also has the potential to rise to 89, making him potentially the best defensive midfielder in Career Mode. Naturally, he won’t come cheap. Valued at £45.5m, Liverpool won’t budge on Fabinho unless you offer around £75m, though it could be more depending on your luck.