The most highly valued defenders in world football today

7) Kalidou Koulibaly – £54 million

The Senegalese was the subject of a prolonged transfer rumour throughout last summer as he nearly joined Chelsea. However, Aurellio De Laurentiis stood firm and Kouliabaly is still a Napoli player. He has developed into a world class centre half in his time in Naples with his ability to play out from the back and aggressiveness in tackling. He was prominent for Napoli last season as the club gave Juve run for their money in the Serie A. He was the one who scored in the all important game against Juve before Napoli fluttered in the final four games. How long does Kouliabaly stay on as Napoli player is worth watching given the strong interest from Manchester United.

6) Dani Carvajal – £54 million

While he may have had his injury problems over the last couple of seasons, when fit, Carvajal is a fixture in the side.  The Spaniard has been a part of the golden era of Real Madrid in a time when they have won 4 Champions league titles in last 5 years. His ability to make a difference on both ends of the pitch makes him an ideal modern day full back.

 

5)  Virgil van Dijk – £54 million

Liverpool have come a long way since the second half of the last season. Their defensive frailties have almost disappeared and Virgil Van Djik deserves all the credit in the world for that. The Dutchman has single-handedly organized and solved the Reds’ defensive conundrums. He has a strong authority on the pitch and some of his performances this season have suggested that he might just be the best centre half in the world at the moment.

 

4)Marcelo – £63 million

A player who has revolutionized the way football world perceived full backs, Marcelo is truly a legend of the game. Sometimes it is just startling to see how good Marcelo is with the ball at his feet. He allowed Ronaldo to go on his foraging runs with the Brazilian providing the cover. At times this season, Marcelo has been Real Madrid’s best attacking outlet.

 

3) Jordi Alba – £63 million

Alba proved in the El Clasico that he is truly back to his absolute best after a rough year under Luis Enrique. Valverde’s trust in the Spaniard has been repaid. Alba dominated the flank as Real struggled to keep him quiet throughout. He often goes underrated but a deep insight in the game will tell you just how crucial Alba is to everything Barca do.

 

2)Samuel Umtiti – £63 million

The Frenchman’s stock has continued to rise ever since making his breakthrough with the national team in the Euro’16. He joined Barca at the beginning of that season and became a key figure for the Catalans. In Russia this summer, Umtitiwas crucial as Les Bleus won the World Cup. His absence is being felt at the back too with Lenglet so far struggling to assert his place.

 

1)Raphaël Varane – £72 million

At 25, Varane has won 4 Champions league title, reached a European cup final and won the FIFA World Cup. The success Varane has had at this age is the kind of success great players fails to ever taste.  He is still not yet at the peak age and it is difficult to see just how Real keep the hunger in Varane alive. Sooner rather than later, Varane would be keen on trying something new. One thing he would not lack is the number of suitors.