While that may have been slight hyperbole, you get the former England defender’s point.
A confident and reliable No.1 isn’t easy to find – especially in the modern era as there is now an increasing emphasis on a goalkeeper being just as good with their feet as they are with their hands.
Finding the complete package is rare. But finding the complete package that is also young and available? That’s the holy grail.
It’s why fees for goalkeepers have skyrocketed in the past 12 months. Liverpool went big to sign Alisson in the summer and it’s paid off. Chelsea went bigger for the younger Kepa and he’s made an impressive start at Stamford Bridge.
But what of the wonderkid goalkeepers? There are certainly a few around if you know where to look on Football Manager 2019. But who has the time?
Well we do. Which is why we put together the below list of the best young stoppers on FM19. Yet we didn’t stop there. Make sure to check out the best wonderkid defenders, best wonderkid midfielders and the best wonderkid wingers.
Titas Krapikas (Sampdoria)
A good goalkeeper isn’t easy to find, which is why making an early move for Krapikas will serve you well.
The Lithuanian international isn’t a first-choice at Samp and the Serie A side are willing to accept an offer of around £4million for the young stopper.
While is isn’t yet ready to be first-choice his wage demand reflects that; £9,000-a-week isn’t going to break the bank. But develop him carefully and he should blossom into one of the best stoppers in Europe.
Alban Lafont (Fiorentina)
The French goalkeeper has been playing first-team football since the age of 16, so it’s little wonder he’s been regarded as a wonderkid for several years.
He left Toulouse this summer and joined Serie A side Fiorentina, which is why you won’t be able to convince him to leave the Viola even if they accept an offer.
However, in the summer of 2019 you’re more likely to be able to seal Lafont’s signing. Keep in mind though that it will require a fee of around £55million and wages in excess of £100,000-a-week.
Christian Früchtl (Bayern Munich)
The German teenager is seen as the long-term replacement for Manuel Neuer at Bayern and the Bundesliga giants are understandably unwilling to part easily with Früchtl.
But an offer close to £30million does convince the German side to sell, although they’ll likely insist on a buy-back clause being added into the deal.
The 18-year-old will want big money despite not being ready for first-team football; around £40,000-a-week. And while you can knock that down a little he still won’t come cheap.
Mile Svilar (Benfica)
Svilar made a high-profile error in that fixture, however, he remains a goalkeeper with huge potential and is one of the stoppers to pursue on FM19.
He starts in the Portuguese club’s Under-23s but despite not being first-choice it will take a lot of work to convince Benfica to sell.
They will let him leave for around £10million, though, and he won’t command a big salary. With plenty of improvement to come, there is certainly a big Svilar lining to parting with such a fee.
Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan)
Perhaps the most obvious example of a wonderkid goalkeeper. Donnarumma became a regular for Milan aged just 16 years old and remains the club’s No.1.
He is also his country’s first-choice, taking over the mantle from Gianluigi Buffon so it takes big money to convince the Serie A side to part with the teenager.
They will accept, though, an offer around £75million. But that’s just the first hurdle. Donnarumma’s agent will demand his client be paid around £200,000-a-week as well as taking an £8million fee for his services.
It makes any deal for the 19-year-old a costly one. However, you wouldn’t need to sign another top class stopper for over 15 years.
Alessandro Plizzari (Milan)
The second Milan goalkeeper on this list and one who isn’t as costly as Donnarumma.
Of course, that is because Plizzari isn’t as developed as the 19-year-old. But if you aren’t after a goalkeeper for the here and now then signing Donnarumma’s understudy should prove a wise move.
He will only cost you around £5million and will demand a modest salary of just £6,500-a-week.
While Plizzari isn’t yet ready to be a No.1 goalkeeper for any side with ambitions of claiming silverware, a couple of years development – which may include a loan spell – should see you have a stopper who is capable of performing at the highest level.
Florian Müller (Mainz)
Many believe Neuer to be the alpha of sweeper keepers. So it’s little surprise that young stoppers in Germany have modelled themselves on Bayern Munich’s No.1.
Mainz first-choice Müller is no different and he has the ability to become one of the best in this year’s Football Manager.
And that’s why Mainz will want a fee of around £35million – preferably upfront – if they are to allow the 20-year-old to leave before a ball is kicked in the 2018/19 campaign.
Fortunately Müller’s wage demands, around £18,000-a-week, make the deal more manageable for those outside of the Champions League.