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The best defensive midfielders to sign on Football Manager 2023

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Most of the world’s top teams play with a defensive midfielder – somebody decided to stay back and do the dirty work while your creative players shine in attack.

Plenty of tactics in Football Manager 2023 include a DM and so it’s important to make sure you’ve got a reliable one, and there are plenty of options out there for teams with any sort of transfer budget.

Here are the best defensive midfielders to sign on FM23.

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David Lopez
Girona

Comfortable both in midfield and defence, Lopez is one of a few top-tier options that you’ll find at this price tag. The 32-year-old brings 14 tackling and 14 marking for his £3.7m price tag.

Saphir Taider
Free agent

If you’ve got no money to spare, take a look at Taider. He’s one of the top free agents available and brings a wealth of European experience with him.

Agus Medina
Ponferrada

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27-year-old Medina is more of a playmaker than a defender but, if that’s your style, look to him for around £3m.

Paul Jaeckel
Union Berlin

23-year-old Jaeckel looks like a smart buy with his 15s for both tackling and marking. He still has a little room left to grow too.

Gary Medel
Bologna

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On an expiring contract, the veteran Medel is available for as little as £240,000. He could be a smart buy for a smaller side looking for short-term cover.

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Souza
Besiktas

As far as top-tier talents go, Souza is the finest you’ll find for cheap. The Besiktas veteran is available for as little as £2.1m but is good enough to start for a mid-table side in an elite division, thanks to his 16 tackling.

Andres Guardado
Real Hispalis

A valuable squad player due to his versatility, Guardado is another who is more of a passer than a tackler. He’s yours for £700,000.

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Lucas Leiva
GRE

Leiva has just joined his new club so can’t be swayed to leave immediately, but keep an eye on him because his £750,000 is more than fair for a short-term option.

Julian Baumgartlinger
Augsburg

£660,000 is all you’ll need to sin Baumgartlinger, whose 18 stamina means you shouldn’t worry about the fact he is 34 years old.

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Pedro Bigas
Elche

A midfielder, centre-back and left-back all in one, Bigas is a nice squad option at £2.3m.

Renato Tapia
Vigo

£6m for Tapia is a steal. He’s one of the best midfielders you’ll find at this price point, but also one of the cheapest. There are plenty of sides sniffing around him as the game starts, so you better move quick.

Daley Blind
Ajax

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Blind comes in at the top of this price point at £14m, but he is good enough to cover for an elite side. For any team in need of help, he could be your guy.

Axel Witsel
A. Madrid

Atletico are in a rush to lower their wage bill and so they’ll sell you Witsel for a cool £11m. For a top player who can also fill in at the back, you really can’t argue with that.

Charles Aranguiz
Bayer 04

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A penalty specialist, 33-year-old Aranguiz is available for just £7m. With his 15 passing, he’d make a great deep lying playmaker.

Lucas Torreira
Galatasaray

Torreira has just joined Galatasaray but keep an eye on him because he remains more than good enough to feature for a top side. His price tag at the start of the game sits at £8.5m.

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Mateus Uribe
Porto

Also our favourite signing for central midfield, Uribe is in his element defensively. His 16 tackling and his unreal mental stats make him an excellent candidate for the role and his price tag of just £10m is a steal when you consider the fact his stats match up to those of players in the expensive bracket.

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Nemanja Maksimovic
Getafe

Serbian enforcer Maksimovic has plenty of interest in him early on, with numerous sides looking to meet his £7.25m asking price.

Oriol Romeu
Girona

Another recent signing, don’t hesitate to move for Romeu when he does hit the market. The former Southampton man is valued at £10.5m early on.

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Nemanja Matic
Roma

£5.25m is enough to convince Roma to part with Matic, although the man himself is reluctant to leave just yet after only recently joining.

Sergi Darder
Espanyol

There are a lot of ways to use Darder, who brings 16 passing and 15 tackling. He’s best suited to a playmaker role but you can limit him to defending if you need to, and he’s yours for £14.5m.

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William Carvalho
Real Hispalis

Carvalho at £20m is a great price. He’s got all the stats you need to be an elite defensive anchor and is about as cheap as they come for that sort of quality.

Andre-Franck Zambo Anguissa
Parthenope

Despite a misleadingly low initial value, Zambo Anguissa is actually available for £38m, which is still a fair price for a player of his current ability.

Sergio Busquets
Barcelona

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Statistically the best DM you’ll find without breaking the bank is Busquets, who is on the last year of his contract and available for a cool £21.5m.

Ismael Bennacer
Milan

Bennacer comes with a £43m release clause which is well worth triggering if you’ve got the money. The 24-year-old is great now and comes with the potential to grow into a real monster if you play your cards right.

Geoffrey Kondogbia
A. Madrid

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At £19.5m, Kondogbia is sensational value for money. He’s a superb tackler and passer, with 15s for both, so there are plenty of different ways for you to use him in your team.

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Guido Rodriguez
Real Hispalis

At £20m, this is a no-brainer. Rodriguez is among the top DMs on the entire game – just look at his 18 tackling and 18 positioning – and plenty of top teams will try to sign him because he’s such good value. Without a doubt, he’s your man for the role (and Carvalho is a close second).

Danilo Pereira
PSG

A capable centre-back and an elite midfielder, Danilo can be yours for just £22m, making him a viable alternative to somebody like Rodriguez.

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Edson Alvarez
Ajax

Alvarez is a top talent now and still has room to grow into an elite midfielder. His £31m price tag is a little high compared to others of his current ability but you’re paying extra for the resale value and longevity.

Teun Koopmeiners
Atalanta

Another young prospects, Koopmeiners is a great player who is perhaps a little under that elite bracket at this point, but he’ll grow into an excellent player and is a low risk at £20m.

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Stanislav Lobotka
Parthenope

An excellent all-round midfielder with 17 tackling and 16 passing (and 6 finishing), Lobotka is perfectly suited for so many different tactical styles and is absolutely worth his £26m price tag.



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Lionel Messi reacts to Argentina reaching World Cup knockouts

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Argentina superstar Lionel Messi has claimed that his missed penalty in Wednesday night’s crunch World Cup win over Poland ended up galvanising the team and was on course for victory as soon as Alexis Mac Allister broke the deadlock.

La Albiceleste, one of the pre-tournament favourites, were in danger of a shock group stage elimination ahead of kick-off and had it all to play for against Robert Lewandowski’s Poland.

When Lionel Scaloni’s team were awarded a first half penalty and Messi stepped up, it looked as though it would be business as usual. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner was looking to score in a seventh consecutive Argentina appearance, something he had never done before. But Poland goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was equal to his spot-kick and confidently palmed the ball away.

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“Having missed the penalty, the team came out stronger from that,” Messi told TyC Sports.

“The team was convinced that we were going to win, it was a matter of the first one coming in. Once we scored the goal, the game was going to be played the way we wanted.”

After Mac Allister found the key first goal, Julian Alvarez eventually got the second.

Neither Alvarez nor Enzo Fernandez, who assisted the second goal, had started either of the first two games. Yet they came in to make a critical impact. Mac Allister, meanwhile, hadn’t featured in the opening defeat to Saudi Arabia, before starting back-to-back wins.

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Messi went on to praise the ‘strength of this group’ which makes that possible.

“We said it from the beginning. The players who come in know what they have to do and are always fully prepared. It is the strength of this group, the union and that when a player has to, he responds,” the 35-year-old explained.

With the group stage now over, Argentina will face a plucky Australia side that qualified from a very challenging Group D ahead of Denmark. That game will be played on Saturday.

“We know it’s going to be very tough,” Messi assessed.

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Harry Symeou hosts Jack Gallagher and Toby Cudworth to look back on Germany ’06 as part of the ‘Our World Cup’ series. We take a trip down memory lane – join us!

If you can’t see the podcast embed, click to download or listen to the episode in full!



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Minnesota United make Joseph Rosales loan permanent

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Minnesota United have announced the permanent signing of midfielder Joseph Rosales from Panama’s CA Independiente.

Rosales returns to Allianz Field following a loan spell starting in August 2021, with the Honduras international notching five primary assists in 35 appearances so far across all competitions.

MNUFC have signed Rosales on a deal through the 2023 MLS season with further options on 2024 and 2025.

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Rosales returns to a Minnesota United side enjoying a four-year in the MLS Cup Playoffs under Adrian Heath, though the Loons have exited in the first round three times.

The 22-year-old will continue to compete for a starting spot in the MNUFC midfield alongside the likes of Kervin Arriaga and Wil Trapp.

Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.



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Atlanta United sign former Columbus Crew forward Derrick Etienne Jr via free agency

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Atlanta United have bolstered their attacking options with the signing of winger Derrick Etienne Jr via free agency, the club announced Wednesday.

As reported by 90min, the Five Stripes have been pursuing a deal with Etienne since mid-November, with the forward having already spent time at the club’s training facilities.

That deal was finally completed on Wednesday as Etienne was unveiled on a contract through the 2025 MLS season with further options on 2026 and 2027.

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“Derrick is a versatile winger who fits the profile of a player we were looking to bring in,” Atlanta United vice president and technical director Carlos Bocanegra said in a club press release.

“We’re excited to secure his services as he was a top free agent coming off an excellent season and heading into the prime of his career. Derrick has a great mentality, knows the league well and we are looking forward to him being a big part of the team going forward.”

Etienne is entering his eighth season as an MLS player, notching 17 goals and 17 assists in 148 appearances so far for the New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew so far.

His spell with the latter was particularly fruitful, winning MLS Cup and Campeones Cup titles, while the 26-year-old enjoyed a career-best return of nine goals and six assists in 33 regular season appearances in 2022.

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Etienne – who is also capable of playing through the middle – will now compete for places in Atlanta United’s forward line alongside the likes of Luiz Araujo and Edwin Mosquera as the club look to return to the MLS Cup Playoffs in head coach Gonzalo Pineda’s second full season in charge.

Watch the story of Charlotte FC’s journey to MLS in 90min’s The Making of Charlotte FC, presented by DoorDash, on 90min channels now. Subscribe to our new US YouTube channel.



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