The list includes some surprising names and huge amounts spent to sign them.
Football clubs are beginning to realise the importance of having solid defenders in order to achieve any form of success. Top clubs are paying premium amounts for top players who obviously come at a hefty price. The valuations of defenders have seen a meteoric rise over the recent years due to an inflated market and more significantly, their growing importance in a balanced lineup.
This summer’s transfer window has seen the record for the highest fees paid for a defender being broken after it was confirmed that Manchester United and Leicester City had agreed a whopping £80 million transfer fees for Harry Maguire.
Therefore, we have curated a list of the top 10 most expensive defenders of all time in order to grasp the rising valuations that the position has seen in recent times.
Please note, the actual transfer fee values may vary depending on the add-ons and performance related bonuses.
10. John Stones (Manchester City) – £47.5 millions
John Stones was one of England’s most talented and exciting prospects before signing for Manchester City. Thanks to his consistent performances for Everton, the Englishman caught the eye of several clubs who were lining up to sign him up.
Eventually, it was the Cityzens that secured his services in 2016 for a sum of £47.5 million, making him the most expensive English defender and the second most expensive defender in history back then.
9. David Luiz (Paris Saint-Germain) – £50 millions
David Luiz made his mark in his first spell at Chelsea and came out as a versatile player who could not only play in any defensive position, but also put in a shift in a deeper midfield role. Add to that, he also had exceptional skill on the dead ball.
Paris Saint-Germain made David Luiz the most expensive defender back in 2014
Paris Saint-Germain, with a heavy wallet and an eye to secure European silverware, secured the Brazilian’s services for £50 million ahead of the 2014/15 season, which was a world record fee for a defender back in those days. However, he returned to Chelsea after spending two years in France for a fee in the region of £34 million.
8. Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United) – £50+ millions
Aaron Wan-Bissaka exploded onto the Premier League scene in the previous season at Crystal Palace. His defensive awareness and pace makes him a well polished full-back. The Englishman is considered amongst the top full backs in England and has secured his dream move to Manchester United for the upcoming season.
To secure his services however, the Red Devils have had to shell out a hefty amount, close to £50 million plus add-ons, making him the second most expensive full-back in England. It must be noted that Wan-Bissaka is only 21-years-old and could make the right-back position his own for the next decade or more.
7. Kyle Walker (Manchester City) – £51 millions
Manchester City have spent heavily in order to shape their defence, this is the reason why one should expect them to feature frequently on this list. One of the recruits that arrived at the club in 2017 was Kyle Walker from Tottenham Hotspur.
Kyle Walker is the second most expensive full back in the world
The England international came with a heavy price tag after MCFC paid approx £51 million after bonuses to bring him to Manchester from London. This deal made Walker the most expensive full back in the world back then.
6. Benjamin Mendy (Manchester City) – £52 millions
Soon after setting the record for the most expensive fee for a defender by signing Kyle Walker, Manchester City broke it yet again merely 10 days after when they confirmed the signature of Benjamin Mendy for a reported fee in the region of £52 million on a five-year contract.
5. Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City) – £57 millions
Another Manchester City player to feature in the top 10 is the Frenchman, Aymeric Laporte. The center-back spent six seasons at Athletic Bilbao before catching the eye of the Manchester based outfit, who paid around £57 million for the defender in the 2018 January transfer window.
Aymeric Laporte cost a whopping £57 million that made him Athletic Bilbao’s most expensive player sale
Since his move to the Premier League, the 25-year-old has impressed and ensured a regular starting position in the lineup despite Pep adopting a rotation policy. It is safe to say that MCFC found an ideal replacement for Vincent Kompany.
4. Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus) – £67.5 millions
The Dutch international, Matthijs de Ligt was the hot topic in this year’s transfer window, until he eventually signed for Juventus FC. The Old Lady snatched the former Ajax captain from various other top European clubs like FC Barcelona and Manchester United among others who were lining up for the teen sensation.
The 19-year-old was one of the pillars behind Ajax’s sensational UEFA Champions League run where they knocked out heavyweights such as Real Madrid and Juventus themselves on course to the semi-finals. He has already shown leadership qualities and is only going to improve from here.
3. Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich) – £70 millions
German powerhouse, FC Bayern Munich, announced back in March of 2019 that they had secured the signature of Lucas Hernandez from Atletico Madrid for a fee in the region of £70 million, making him the second most expensive defender of all time back then.
Lucas Hernandez became the most expensive full-back when he signed for Bayern Munich
The Frenchman has now joined his employers before the new season and it will be interesting to see where he is utilised, since the 23-year-old can also perform as a center-back apart from playing as a left-back.
2. Virgil Van Djik (Liverpool) – £75 millions
Virgil Van Dijk was the missing piece in Liverpool’s squad and since his arrival from Southampton for a world record fee for a defender back in 2017, the Reds have gone through a massive rise and played in two Champions League finals in two years, winning the most recent one after prevailing against Tottenham Hotspur and also lost out to the league title by a single point last season.
The 28-year-old has been a consistent performer for the Merseyside outfit and has been the leader of one of the tightest defensive forces in Europe. Thanks to his contribution to Liverpool’s cause, the Dutch international is being touted as the favorite to the Ballon d’or.
1. Harry Maguire (Manchester United) – £80 millions
One of the biggest factors that led to Manchester United’s downfall in the 2018/19 season was the lack of quality in their defence. Recruitment in the backline was a must before the next season and the most ideal target identified was the England international, Harry Maguire.
Maguire. Is. A. RED ????
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) 5 August 2019
Although, the fees that has been agreed will make him the most expensive defender of all time and with it arrives the added pressure. The 26-year-old is Premier League proven and has all the qualities that can propel him and his new team to greener pastures.