Deep lying playmakers can make or break a team. More often than not, they will initiate your team’s attacking moves from the back while offering defensive stability for your backline.
Most deep lying playmakers tend to hit their prime towards their late twenties and early thirties, including the likes of Toni Kroos, Thiago and Fabinho.
As you begin your FM23 save, I have rounded up the best deep lying playmakers you can sign early up in the game to give you a solid platform to build upon your team.
However, I have intentionally avoided naming those deep lying playmakers approaching the age of 30 to ensure you get at least five years of service out of your signings, or a nice transfer fee should one of the richer clubs come calling.
Without further ado, here are the best deep lying playmakers you can sign in FM23;
- Declan Rice
- Sandro Tonali
- Franck Kessie
- Frenkie de Jong
- Joshua Kimmich
- Aurélien Tchouameni
- Nicolas Seiwald
- Rodrigo Bentancur
1. Declan Rice
Long touted for a big move to one of the Premier League’s big hitters, Declan Rice is a hot commodity in FM23 and for good reason.
His talents, however, are best used just in front of the defence, protecting the backline as a deep lying playmaker.
He has the passing range and technique needed for the role, as well as being solid out of possession.
However, being young and British, be prepared to fight it out against the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool for his signature. He will not come cheap.
2. Sandro Tonali
Sandro Tonali is not a new name among football manager veterans.
He has long been touted as one of the bigger talents to come out of Italy in the recent past.
At only 22, should you convince him to leave AC Milan, Tonali is as close as you are going to get to a perfect deep lying playmaker.
Having only joined Milan at the start of last season, he still has a long contract and will take a sizeable transfer fee to convince the Italian club to let go of his services.
Comfortable as a deep lying playmaker in the defensive midfield, you can also deploy the young Italian as a regista in the same position to take advantage of his passing range and vision for the game.
Rodri is a key cog in Pep Guardiola’s Man City team.
However, with Kalvin Philips arriving in the summer, Rodri might find game time a little hard to come by, creating the perfect scenario for you to swoop in and sign him for your team.
At 26, he is very much in his prime years and will command a big transfer fee and wages to match.
The Spanish midfielder can operate as a deep lying playmaker in the defensive midfield, a half back or even as an anchorman in the same position.
Should you manage to sign him, Rodri can comfortably operate at his high level for the next 7 years, well into his thirties.
4. Franck Kessie
Kessie has not exactly lit the world on fire, having traded AC Milan for Barcelona in the summer.
A combination of Gavi and Pedri playing extremely well, as well as trying to adapt to a new style of play at the Spanish club, has made it impossible for him to get into a rhythm.
However, he still very much possesses the talent that made the Catalan club go after his signature.
Often deployed as a box to box midfielder, Kessie can also comfortably play as a deep lying playmaker in central midfield or further back in the defensive midfielder position.
Trying to lure him from Barcelona will depend on how much game time he gets, as well as his wage demands.
If you are lucky, you can sign him for relatively cheap if he does not start enough matches for his liking, prompting him to ask for a transfer.
5. Frenkie de Jong
A transfer to Manchester United did not materialize in the summer, with Frenkie being unwilling to leave Barcelona until his wage issues had been sorted out.
He might not be getting the game time that he deserves at the Catalan club, but Frenkie still remains a world-class player and would walk into the starting eleven of most clubs in the world. Sounds like a familiar story, eh?
Equally capable as a box to box midfielder, a deep lying playmaker and even a libero in central defence, Frenkie is an exceptional talent.
You should be able to sign Frenkie for a relatively small fee compared to his talents. His wage demands, however, are going to be absolutely huge.
6. Joshua Kimmich
Kimmich has been around for a long time and is absolutely world class in both the right fullback position and in defensive midfield.
His deliveries from corners and free kicks are alone worth the transfer alone, which is going to be extremely huge should you try to lure him from Bayern Munich.
Having joined the German champions from VfB Stuttgart back in 2015, he initially played as a right back before transitioning into central midfield, where he has made it his personal home.
Should you manage to sign him, Kimmich also offers exceptional leadership skills and professionalism, which are useful for your developing youngsters breaking into the first team.
7. Aurelien Tchouameni
Tchouameni is an exceptional young talent brought in by Florentino Pérez to take after when Toni Kroos and company hang up their boots in a season or two.
Just like his partner in crime, Camavinga, Tchouameni is playing at a very high level, and it will not be a surprise seeing both of them start for France at the World Cup.
He has the right attributes for a box to box midfielder, but he can also play a more reserved central midfield role like a ball winning midfielder and also much deeper as deep lying midfielder on defend duty.
He will definitely cost quite a lot, but with Real Madrid hoarding some great midfield talents, you might get him at a bargain if he lacks the required game time at Los Blancos.
8. Nicolas Seiwald
At only 21 years old, Seiwald is a talent for the future, as you can mould him to play different roles in your team.
Right off the bat, he can play in the right midfield position, central midfield and defensive midfield.
His attributes, however, make him a good candidate for a deep lying playmaker role, mezzala or advanced playmaker to make runs into the opposition’s final third
As he currently plays for RB Salzburg, he will also not cost as much as the other names on this list.
9. Rodrigo Bentancur
Bentancur joined Spurs in January 2022 and transformed their midfield for the rest of the year.
Together with Kulusevsky operating in the wider areas, the two played a critical role in the team securing a top-four finish and a place in the Champions League.
Bentancur can play a few different roles in both the defensive and central midfield, his physical traits, however, together with decent technique and passing make him a viable deep lying playmaker candidate.
He is still only 25, and has a long contract at Tottenham Hotspurs, therefore securing his signature will likely cost a tidy sum, not to mention the huge wages he will also demand from you.
Zaire-Emery is very much an unknown talent in FM23 compared to the other names on this list.
He is only 16 years old at the start of this year’s football manager edition, and very much a talent for the future.
If you are unable to pry him away from the French champions, getting him on loan to your club when he turns 18 is a solid way of getting the services of a wonderkid central midfielder.