In days gone by, attacking players were the most expensive and clubs could often buy top quality defenders on the cheap. Those days are long gone with fullbacks selling for 50 million pounds and centre-backs commanding enormous transfer fees too.
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With this in mind, Briefly.co.za surveys the top 5 centre-backs based on market value.
After all, the January transfer window is fast approaching and clubs with leaky defences and deep pockets may want to dip into the market to acquire a leader at the back.
All stats were sourced via Transfermarkt.
John Stones - Manchester City (€55million)
First on the list is the Englishman with great passing technique.
Eyebrows were raised when Manchester City paid Everton a king’s ransom to acquire the centre-back’s services.
Stones was still young and made numerous high-profile errors when he first moved to the Etihad.
However, Pep Guardiola insisted he wanted Stones to continue to play out from the back.
His decision has been vindicated as City now boast a rock-solid defence, conceding a mere 5 goals this season.
Kalidou Koulibaly - Napoli (€60million)
Koulibaly is a man-mountain at the back and described by many as a beast of a defender.
He combines his imposing physique with raw pace and great decision-making.
The Senegalese defender has been rated as 1 of the most expensive African players in terms of current value.
Koulibaly is the cornerstone of the Napoli defence but reports have emerged linking him with a host of clubs, including Chelsea under ex-boss, Mauricio Sarri.
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Samuel Umtiti - Barcelona (€70million)
The Frenchman helped France to World Cup glory earlier this year and his stock has risen ever since his move to Barcelona.
The Catalonians scouted Umtiti as a long-term successor to the likes of Carlos Puyol and Javier Masherano.
He is blessed with unbelievable pace but his passing ability really catches the eye.
That, along with his ball control, makes Umtiti seem more like a holding midfielder than a defender at times.
Virgil van Dijk - Liverpool (€75million)
Liverpool manager, Jurgen Klopp, targeted Van Dijk at the start of last season but a long, drawn out transfer saga emerged between the Reds and Southampton.
The Saints lost numerous key players to Liverpool in recent times and reported Liverpool for “tapping up” the Dutch colossus.
Eventually Southampton relented and sold Van Dijk to the Reds during the January transfer window.
While many were taken aback by the astronomical transfer fee, the player has vindicated Klopp’s faith as he has transformed a leaky defence into 1 of the most miserly in the English Premier League.
Van Dijk became the world’s most expensive defender upon his move to Anfield but he justifies that with his unbelievable physical presence, immense power, speed and leadership abilities.
Raphael Varane - Real Madrid (€80million)
Varane is arguably 1 of the hottest properties in football right now.
The Real Madrid centre-back is the only defender in the running to receive the Ballon d’Or due to his exploits for Madrid in the Champions League.
In addition to helping Los Blancos to 3 consecutive Champions League titles, he also led France to winning the World Cup earlier this year.
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