Terry, Ferdinand, Vidic, Adams, Carragher and Kompany. The Premier League has had some of the best centre-backs to ever grace the game. And whilst defending isn’t as big of a part of the modern game, there are some truly outstanding centre-halves in England’s top flight currently.
So, without further a do, let’s take a look at the six best centre-backs in the Premier League right now! Quick disclaimer, I am not including these players on cleans sheets and statistics alone, and whilst form is a contributing factor, I am assessing them as an overall package.
6. James Tarkowski
Starting off my list with the a rather controversial pick, I have Burnley’s James Tarkowski.
When you think of great defenders, you might think of the likes of Beckenbauer and Maldini; but James Tarkowski might not come to mind. I would argue, however, that because Burnley’s style of play is a lot more defensive, Tarkowski is tested significantly more than most other top defenders and he frequently comes out on top when called upon.
Tarkowski has 43 cleans sheet and a very impressive five Premier League goals to his name. He also has won an outstanding 658 aerial duels and has cleared the ball off the line no less than four times in his Premier League career. But probably the biggest sign of his quality is the fact that with him at the back, Burnley appear to be a more than comfortable Premier League outfit. No wonder he is constantly being linked with moves away from Turf Moor.
5. Toby Alderweireld
Whereas Tarkowski plays for a defensive minded team so he can easily show off his defensive prowess, Alderweireld has the complete opposite situation. He plays for a very attacking minded team but there is no doubt his defending ability still shines through.
Alderweireld has 67 clean sheets along with nine goals and four assists which shows he can more than help out at the other end. It would be unwise not to included the big Belgian on this list.
4. Caglar Soyuncu
Whilst Caglar Soyuncu’s Premier League career is still in it’s infancy, there is no denying that Soyuncu has already made a name for himself as one of the most underrated Premier League centre-half’s. He has all the features of a great defender like the fact he is big, strong and quite comfortable on the ball to boot. He is one of the best defenders in the league and he is only 24.
3. Harry Maguire
Next on my list, we have the Manchester United captain. Maguire’s form at times might be very spotty but you can’t deny he is rock at the back. Most fans tend to forgot that he is one of the best centre-backs in the league, this might be because there is a record £80 Million price tag lofted over his head which often, rather unfairly I might add, leads fans to compare him to another certain centre-back, who might make an appearance on this list.
All this a side, he has won 605 aerial duels, made 1,023 recoveries and has a 67% tackle success rate. Very impressive!
2. Ruben Dias
When Vincent Kompany left Manchester City, many wondered just how City would replace their former captain. However, it seems as though Man City have found the perfect solution in Ruben Dias. Dias came to Manchester City with a strong reputation but since joining the Premier League, many have quickly lorded him as one of the league’s best.
In just 25 games, Ruben Dias has kept 13 clean sheets and he has only conceded 13 goals. Whilst this is is impressive, I have decided to include Dias over the likes of Laporte and Stones for Manchester City as, since joining, Man City look like a completely different team with Dias in the side. He is the one to truly fill Kompany’s shoes. He even improves the players around him, helping make Stones look world class, which only a few months ago would have seen very unlikely. I am sure we will be hearing much more about Dias for years to come.
1. Virgil Van Dijk
Whilst he has barely played this season due to injury, Virgil Van Dijk isn’t just the best defender in the Premier League but probably the best defender on the planet. This is further showcased by the fact that Van Dijk was very nearly (and arguably should have been) the first defender in decades to win Ballon d’Or.
The Dutchmen has a 70% tackle success rate; he has won almost 1,100 duels and he has 61 clean sheets to his name. He also has 14 goals and 3 assists in the Premier League, which for a defender, it none to shabby. Since joining Liverpool, he has helped propel them to a Champions League and a first league title in 30 years. No wonder he is a fan favourite. A true Rolls Royce of a defender!
There we have it. The six best centre-backs in the Premier League. If you think I missed any other great centre-backs, let me know in the comments. As always for all things football, keep it on FanHub.