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Best Premier League defenders of 2021

Sun 09 May 2021 | 13:30

Football players keep amazing us by suddenly showing how impressive they can be, which leaves many wondering, who are the best EPL defenders of 2021? Follow us below as we take a look at some of the defenders who have surely gotten a lot of attention this season.

The English Premier League is obviously without a doubt one of the best football leagues in the world, and has always managed to attract the best of the best footballers from all other countries. We have seen many legends such as Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Eric Cantona and many more grace the pitch in the Premier League with their amazing talents, wowing the viewers with their impressive form and world-class techniques.

We have also seen many of the world’s greatest defenders keep a clean sheet in the Premier League, creating a solid and quite unbreakable wall in the backline of teams such as

Manchester United

, Arsenal (who won the league as The Invincibles) and now even

Manchester City

.

While we don’t have the opportunity to go to the Theater of Dreams to once again watch the likes of Rio Ferdinand hold off the opposition forwards from getting close to the goal, we have been lucky to watch some of the best

Premier League defenders of 2021

go on about their usual business and help create one of the most intense seasons of recent times.

But who are these in-form footballers and why are they on the list of Premier league best defenders of 2021? Well, follow us below as we unveil our selection for this season’s list and see how they have performed so far.

Greatest Premier League defenders of 2021

Obviously the list consists of players from all three parts of the defense, which includes left-backs, center-backs and right-backs. So without further ado, here are the

best Premier League defenders of 2021

.

Right-backs

Modern football relies heavily on the flanks providing wider cover for both their defense and offense, which means that both right-backs and left-backs get to rush up and down the pitch to implement their managers’ tactics. This has led to a lot more attention being paid to these positions and the players who currently serve as full-backs. The right-backs on the list of

best Premier League defenders of 2021

have not disappointed us yet, as we have seen some impressive performances from the players mentioned below. Let’s see who they are.

Tariq Lamptey

  • Age: 20

  • Market value: €18M

Brighton & Hove Albion

might not be doing so well in the Premier League this season, currently sitting 15th on the league table and struggling to keep off of the relegation zone. While they are somehow safe from being relegated to the Championship this season, their overall performance has not been much of an impressive one. But the club’s supporters are still hopeful of their club’s future, as they have found some diamonds in the rough this season. One such footballer, who has managed to gain a lot of attention throughout the 2020-21 season, is the 20-year-old Tariq Lamptey.

The English youngster plays mainly as a right-back for Brighton, and has already turned many heads towards him this season, despite suffering a hamstring injury and missing out on the opportunity to prove himself even more. Despite the lack of games this season, Lamptey is considered by many to be one of the

best EPL defenders of 2021

, a title which has single-handedly caused his market value to skyrocket and reach the €20-million mark.

Lamptey joined Brighton from Chelsea’s U23 side for reportedly €3 million in the January of 2020. Chelsea fans would surely kick themselves even harder if Lamptey does in fact manage to become a world-class player, since Chelsea have lost so many of their unrealized potentials to other clubs in Europe over the years.

Matty Cash

  • Age: 23

  • Market value: €20M

England is blessed with several world-class full-backs and the England manager Gareth Southgate might even suffer a headache trying to choose from all the options he has for the full-back position. With the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold already having their names written on the walls of the football halls of fame, there are other youngsters who are yet to win any major trophies, but are just as talented as the

Liverpool

right-back.

One such bright talent is the 23-year-old Matty Cash, who is one of the new arrivals at

Aston Villa

, joining the Premier League club from Nottingham Forest in September 2020. As one of the best Premier League defenders of 2021, Matthew Cash has seen his market value rise exponentially in recent months, which has attracted a lot of attention from many clubs both inside and outside of England.

While Cash is predominantly a right-back, he is immensely versatile and is able to play on a multitude of positions on the pitch. Aston Villa are quite lucky as they have a player who can play as a right midfielder, a central midfielder, an attacking midfielder or even a second striker if the need arises. But Villa manager Dean Smith will be wise to keep him on the right as the Englishman has shown to be much more effective as a right-back than in any other position.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka

  • Age: 23

  • Market value: €40M

Many were in shock when Manchester United splashed the cash and paid a whopping €55 million for a young right-back who had yet to prove himself on the big stage, but more and more of the doubters are coming to realize that the Red Devils have invested well in Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who has played a vital role in the club’s recent fine form.

Wan-Bissaka joined United from Crystal Palace in 2019, and while he hasn’t been able to see his market value rise to the price United paid for him, he is certainly on the right track and can become one of the best right-backs in the world. For now, however, he will have to settle for a place on the list of

greatest Premier League defenders of 2021

, which is still a pretty good achievement for a 23-year-old.

Manchester United are currently second in the Premier League only behind Manchester City and have also gotten through to the final of the Europa League. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s recent success in lifting the club to better heights in recent months would not have been possible if it weren’t for Wan-Bissaka’s brilliance in the right-back position.

He has made a total of 50 appearances this season, scoring two goals and providing four assists in the process. But while he doesn’t have as many assists as a modern full-back, he has much greater defensive abilities which have had quite a vital role in United’s recent success.

Joao Cancelo

  • Age: 26

  • Market value: €50M

Manchester City fans are blessed to have two of the best full-backs in the world serving their club week in week out. Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker have been battling it out for a spot in Pep Guardiola’s squad in recent months, but the Spaniard has found quite a simple and genius solution to make use of both of his players in defense. Guardiola either Walker for cup competitions and Cancelo for league games, or he deploys both of his players at the same time, switching Cancelo to a left-back rather than a right-back.

The Portuguese defender has not disappointed so far and has in fact excelled in both situations, which has earned him a place on the list of greatest Premier League defenders of the year 2021.  He joined Manchester City from

Juventus

for a record-breaking fee of €65 million back in 2019, having previously joined the Serie A side from Valencia for €40 million a year prior to his move to the Premier League club. So, not only is Joao Cancelo one of the

Premier league best defenders of 2021

, he is also currently the most expensive right-back in the world.

Left-backs

Left-backs are just as important as right-backs obviously, as they usually carry out the same orders but from the left side of the pitch. Once again we have in our hands some of the brightest talents one could ever see, gracing the pitch as young footballers with much potential to realize. Here are the left-backs who have made it on the list of best Premier League defenders of 2021.

Lucas Digne

  • Age: 27

  • Market value: €35M

Everton are quite lucky to have signed a contract extension with one of the greatest Premier League defenders of 2021, who has managed to show his class to the world since joining the Toffees in 2018. Digne actually spent a rather disappointing spell at Barcelona for a couple of years before moving to

Everton

for €20 million. Having graduated from

LOSC Lille

youth academy and joined Paris Saint-Germain in 2013, many believed that he would become one of the best full-backs in the world in no time.

But Digne didn’t become a world sensation from the very beginning and his terrible couple of seasons at Barcelona surely didn’t help him either. Having finally come out of Jordi Alba’s shadow in Spain, Digne managed to become a usual started for Everton since the very beginning of his stint at the club. Now after two and a half seasons, the French left-back has made more than 100 appearances for Everton, scoring 5 goals and providing 20 assists in the process, which has also made him one of the

greatest Premier League defenders of the year 2021

.

Kieran Tierney

  • Age: 23

  • Market value: €30M

Some of the most elite clubs in Europe were head over heels for the former Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney, who attracted a lot attention during his spell in Scotland, which led to him becoming a big signing in 2019. Tierney stole the Scottish and English headlines from the very beginning of his career back in 2016, when he first got promoted to a senior player after his graduation from the youth team. It didn’t take long for bigger clubs to come in knocking with a bag full of coins.

Amongst the suitors were

Arsenal

, who finally managed to seal the deal and sign Tierney from Celtic for reportedly €27 million in 2019. Since then the left-back has proven himself to be one of the best Premier League defenders of 2021. Even though he is dominantly a left-back, Tierney can be deployed as either a center-back or a left wing-back as well, which has given Mikel Arteta a lot more freedom in deploying the youngster wherever he desires.

Tierney has missed a significant number of games due to injury, but is slowly making his way up to the top with impressive performances both in England and in Europe. While he couldn’t stop Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal from losing out on a place in the Europa League final after a 2-1 defeat against Villarreal, he is certainly one of the best EPL defenders of 2021.

Ben Chilwell

  • Age: 24

  • Market value: €50M

Those who weren’t acquainted with Ben Chilwell were definitely introduced to the English left-back after he put himself on the radar with phenomenal performances against world-class giants such as Real Madrid and Manchester City. Chilwell is one of the brightest talents in England who has the potential to become one of the greatest left-backs in history. The 24-year-old joined

Chelsea

from Leicester City for a whopping €50 million in the 2020-21 season summer transfer window, and has since become a vital part of the team’s tactics.

While club legend and former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard did not get to reach the required results after having spent literally hundreds of millions of Euros, all it took was the arrival of Thomas Tuchel to boost Chelsea’s spirits and turn Chilwell into one of the greatest Premier League defenders of the year 2021. The Englishman’s market value is currently estimated to be around €50 million, which will surely skyrocket in the coming months if he continues performing in the same fashion.

Center-backs

Having gone through our picks for the best full-backs on the list of best Premier League defenders of 2021, it is only natural we name the best center-backs of this season as well. From Harry Maguire to his city rival John Stones, these four defenders have certainly created some of the strongest defenses in world football in recent months.

Wesley Fofana

  • Age: 20

  • Market value: €30M

Leicester City have acquire sharp eyes for finding the best young talents in the world, turning themselves into somewhat of an English Ajax of sorts. One of the latest exciting prospects to have joined the Foxes is the 20-year-old Wesley Fofana, who joined the English club from

Saint-Etienne

for a reported fee of €35 million.

Having signed a contract with Leicester in October 2020, Fofana has quickly turned himself into one of the best Premier League defenders of 2021. He has since made more than 30 appearances and is clearly on the verge of becoming a world sensation. Of course there is quite a long road ahead of Fofana if he wants to reach the same heights as the likes of Sergio Ramos and Gerrard Pique, but that certainly doesn’t stop him from aiming high for his future.

Ruben Dias

  • Age: 23

  • Market value: €70M

Pep Guardiola and Manchester City are finally in the final of the Champions League, and have the chance to win the prestigious trophy for the first time. Of course while Guardiola has won it before with Barcelona, it will be quite an impressive feat to do so with City as well.

Having spent millions of Euros on world-class players over the years, the Spaniard finally found his main center-back in Ruben Dias, who has been absolutely phenomenal for Manchester City. The Portuguese center-back joined the Cityzens from

Benfica

for reportedly a whopping €68 million in September 2020, and has managed to become one of the best Premier League defenders of 2021 ever since.

The €70-million-rated center-back has already made more than 40 appearances for Manchester City and is undeniably one of the most vital parts of Guardiola’s squad this season. He currently has a contract with City until 2026 and is surely going to be one of the greatest center-backs ever if he continues performing like this every season.

Harry Maguire

  • Age: 28

  • Market value: €40M

The entire world mocked Manchester United for splashing the cash on

Leicester City

’s Harry Maguire and paying an eye-watering €87 million to acquire his services back in 2019. But few could have expected that Maguire would turn things around and become the defender that United saw him to be. He is currently one of Premier league’s best defenders of 2021 and has helped United reach and stay on the second spot behind Manchester City.

The 28-year-old is obviously in his prime years and has still got so much more to offer. The only question remaining is, will he ever be able to challenge for the Premier League title itself? Will he finally end the era of Manchester City domination? The way that things have been going, United fans will surely be hopeful to see the Premier League title back at their home stadium once again, the same trophy that they haven’t had the chance of seeing since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.

John Stones

  • Age: 26

  • Market value: €30M

Manchester City are blessed with having not one, but two great defenders in their ranks. While Ruben Dias is certainly the hot topic of the market, John Stones has also managed to earn the praise of many in the world by creating a solid wall alongside Dias.

Stones started his career at Barnsley way back in 2012 and was acquire by Everton for €3.5 million a year later. His impressive performance led to many clubs inquiring about his availability in 2015, which paved the way for him to join Manchester City in 2016. While City paid a hefty price of €55 million to Everton for his signature, Stones’ market value has dropped to around €30 million in recent years.

But don’t let the market value fool you, the 26-year-old English center-back is without a doubt one of the best Premier League defenders of 2021 and will surely be looking forward to add to his fame and glory by winning the Champions League with City against Chelsea.

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