It could be laborious to discover a soccer fan who didn’t view Virgil van Dijk because the Premier League’s finest defender this time final 12 months.
The Liverpool star led the membership to Champions League glory within the 2019/20 marketing campaign, earlier than taking part in each minute of the next Premier League season as they gained a primary top-flight title in 30 years.
Because the Reds appeared to defend their crown, Van Dijk suffered a critical knee harm after colliding with Everton’s Jordan Pickford final October.
The £75million Dutchman has not made a aggressive look since, however might return in Liverpool’s pre-season pleasant towards Hertha Berlin on Thursday, based on supervisor Jurgen Klopp.
A match once more Van Dijk can be a welcome sight and with Raphael Varane closing in on a transfer to Manchester United, the Premier League will quickly be dwelling to the world’s most interesting and most costly centre-backs.
Right here, talkSPORT have a look at the 5 finest, together with the soon-to-be Previous Trafford stopper.
5. John Stones – Man City (Value: £47.5million)
Stones’ turnaround at Man City has been exceptional.
Within the early phases of final season, the 27-year-old was struggling to make supervisor Pep Guardiola’s matchday squads.
Nevertheless, from November onwards, Stones fashioned a formidable partnership with Ruben Dias as City went on to win a 3rd Premier League title in 4 years.
Stones’ type additionally led to a recall to the England squad in March.
His consistency, which additionally noticed City attain a primary ever Champions League ultimate, resulted in him beginning each sport for the Three Lions at Euro 2020.
Stones seems to be fulfilling his potential as he enters the height years of his profession.
4. Raphael Varane – Manchester United (Value: £43m)
Varane is shifting ever nearer to finishing his £43m transfer to United.
The 28-year-old has gained three LaLiga titles and 4 Champions League trophy throughout a massively profitable profession to date.
And add a World Cup winners’ medal to his assortment with 79 caps for France.
Varane’s packed out trophy cupboard is why he’s thought to be one of many world’s finest defenders.
With only one 12 months left on his contract, Actual Madrid selected to cash-in on their star defender, who reportedly had little interest in signing contemporary phrases amid United’s curiosity.
The Premier League’s finest attacking gamers might discover it laborious getting previous a defensive block of Varane and Harry Maguire subsequent season.
3. Thiago Silva – Chelsea (Value: Free switch)
Silva has commanded round £55m in switch charges throughout his profession.
And Chelsea arguably pulled off one of many largest coups of the 2020 summer time switch window by touchdown the veteran defender on a free switch.
Silva had a Premier League debut to neglect, although, when his unfastened contact led to a aim from Callum Robinson in a 3-Three draw with newly-promoted West Brom.
As an alternative of letting that mistake get to him, Silva went from power to power and helped Chelsea win the Champions League in Might.
And within the Premier League, solely Man City conceded fewer targets (32) than Chelsea (36) final season.
The 36-year-old’s type earned him a one-year contract extension with Chelsea and he seems to be set to play one other pivotal position within the season forward.
2. Harry Maguire – Manchester United (Value: £80m)
Maguire has been some of the scrutinised gamers within the Premier League since changing into the world’s most costly defender when he joined Manchester United for £80m from Leicester in 2019.
He has been a daily starter for the Purple Devils since, however suffered his first critical harm for the membership in direction of the tip of final season.
In United’s ultimate 5 video games of the marketing campaign with out Maguire, they gained simply as soon as and suffered a Europa League ultimate defeat to Villarreal.
It highlighted Maguire’s significance to the workforce, one thing England boss Gareth Southgate knew as he included the injured centre-half in his Euro 2020 squad.
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Maguire missed the primary two video games of the match earlier than returning as England conceded simply two targets within the 5 matches he performed in.
The 28-year-old lastly appears to be getting the popularity he deserves.
Final month, Manchester United teammate Dean Henderson put Maguire in the identical class as Van Dijk.
He mentioned: “How will you doubt Harry Maguire? No person can doubt him.
“He performs each single sport for Manchester United, the largest soccer membership on the planet and it doesn’t matter what he offers his finest.
“Sadly you possibly can’t play excellent in each sport as a result of no one is ideal, however Harry is a high centre-half.
“I’d put him in the identical class as Virgil van Dijk, and I’ll be confirmed proper within the subsequent couple of years, as a result of he’s solely going to get higher and higher.”
1. Ruben Dias – Man City (Value: £61.2m)
Dias was comparatively unknown to most English soccer followers when he arrived at Man City for a giant charge from Benfica final summer time.
However he has justified his price ticket with Premier League and Carabao Cup winners’ medals in his debut season in England.
On high of that, Dias gained the Premier League Participant of the Season award and was named the FWA Footballer of the 12 months.
He was additionally listed within the Premier League and Champions League groups of the 12 months.
At simply 24 years outdated, Dias has the potential to be the Premier League’s finest defender for the subsequent decade.