On Monday, Manchester United smashed the record for the most expensive defender in the world after completing the signing of England international defender Harry Maguire from Leicester City for £80 million.
United’s deal for Maguire eclipsed the £75 million Liverpool paid Southampton for Dutch captain Virgil Van Dijk’s services in January 2018.
Below, we profile the men at the back who have cost a sizable amount of money for clubs with deep pockets.
Harry Maguire – Leicester City to Manchester United: £80 million
The English first-choice centre-back played for Hull City in the English Championship just three years ago, and has seen his value rise since after helping the Three Lions reach the semi-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
United will hope that the 26-year-old goes on to emulate club greats like Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic, who formed the Red Devil’s rock partnership at the back for a good number of years.
Virgil Van Dijk – Southampton to Liverpool: £75 million
The Netherlands skipper has already helped his side reach two consecutive UEFA Champions League finals – the latter of which they won in Madrid, beating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0, to claim their sixth European cup.
Van Dijk was also voted the PFA Player of the Year last season, and is now hotly tipped in the running for the prestigious Ballon d’Or, which was last won by a defender in 2006 (Italy’s Fabio Cannavaro).
Lucas Hernandez – Atletico Madrid to Bayern Munich: £68 million
At just 23, Hernandez is one of Europe’s brightest talents and has already won the UEFA Europa League title with his former club before capping that off with the World Cup trophy for France after being the first-choice left-back for their triumphant campaign.
In July, the Bavarian giants announced they had snapped up the French international on a five-year deal.
Matthijs de Ligt – Ajax Amsterdam to Juventus: £67.5 million
The 19-year-old former Ajax captain has been a marvel to watch at such a tender age, and caught the attention of Europe’s biggest clubs during the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League campaign, as they reached the semi-finals, booting out sides like Real Madrid and Juventus.
Despite being linked with the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona, it was the Old Lady that won the race for De Ligt’s signature after his leadership qualities shone, aiding Ajax to a league and cup double last season.
Aymeric Laporte – Athletic Bilbao to Manchester City: £57 million
Though he’s yet to land a cap for the French national team, Laporte has been an important figure for the Citizens since making the switch from Spain, and was this past season City’s best defender as they won a rare domestic treble.