Harry Maguire’s $80 million pound move from Leicester to Manchester United made him the most expensive defender in the world. This sparked some controversy with many considering the 26-year-old England defender to be somewhat overpriced.
His debut against Chelsea for Manchester United in the 2019/20 season went some way to proving his credentials, but how good is he compared to other defenders in the Premier League?
It’s an old adage in football you build a team from the back and so when it comes to winning the Premier League or any other major league, it’s as much about not conceding as it is scoring.
We have our top 5 below including their stats for the 2018-2019 season.
5. Willy Boly – Wolverhampton Wanderers
When it came to stats, Willy Boly was massively up there throughout the 2018/2019 season. The Frenchman had a great debut season after arriving from Porto on loan in 2017, helping the Wolves gain promotion to the Premier League. He was then signed by the club and matched those performances if not exceeded them last season. It was a solid season for Wolves last season and much of that can be attributed to the performances of Boly. You only need to check out his stats below to see why. He also seems to have been the busiest player on the list.
2018/19 Willy Bony – Key Stats:
Tackle Success: 61%
Duels Won: 256
Duels Lost: 134
Aerial Battles Won: 140
Aerial Battles Lost: 64
4. Toby Alderweireld – Tottenham Hotspur
The Belgian International Alderweireld has been an absolute linchpin for Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur since he signed from Athletico Madrid in 2015. The 30-year-old from Antwerp had a frustrating 2017-2018 season due to injury but returned last season in a positive fashion. Whilst his own goal in the last minute at Anfield was a disappointing moment, he was not to blame. He marshalled the defence with aplomb throughout the season, playing 34 of the 38 games. It is his tackle success rate which stands out the most when it comes to his key stat whilst he is involved in far fewer aerial battles than anyone else on the list.
2018/19 Toby Alderweireld – Key Stats:
Tackle Success: 65%
Duels Won: 93
Duels Lost: 68
Aerial Battles Won: 54
Aerial Battles Lost: 47
3. Aymeric Laporte – Manchester City
The youngest player on the list, Laporte is a 25-year-old Frenchman who signed for Many City for $57 million in January 2018. He was signed from Spanish club Athletic Bilbao for whom he became only the second Frenchman to appear for. He is a defender who is known for his power as well as his ability to play from the back, something crucial to any Pep Guardiola side. He played 35 of the 36 games in last season’s Championship winning side and he produced some impressive stats.
2018/19 Aymeric Laporte – Key Stats
Tackle Success 56%
Duels Won: 186
Duels Lost: 121
Aerial Battles Won: 107
Aerial Battles Lost 69
2. Harry Maguire – Manchester United
The aforementioned Harry Maguire has had a rapid rise since leaving Hull City to sign for Leicester in 2017. He picked up player of the season in his first there, a season which also ended with impressive performances in England’s run to the semi-final of the World Cup. He again put in some terrific performances for the Foxes last season in spite of the fact it was a relatively low key season for the recent Premier League champions. That earnt his big money move to Manchester United and only time will tell if he can justify his hefty price tag. One thing he can guarantee, tremendous performances aerially. Something that can be clearly seen in the stats below.
2018/19 Harry Maguire – Key Stats:
Tackle Success: 55%
Clearances; : 152
Duels Won: 181
Duels Lost: 68
Aerial Battles Won: 118
Aerial Battles Lost: 33
1. Virgil Van Dijk – Liverpool
We had little doubt in putting the Dutchman in at Number one. The 28-year-old who began his career at Groningen has since played for Celtic, Southampton and now Liverpool where he had a tremendous year last season. He was named PFA player of the year as well as of course winning the Champions League against Tottenham at the start of June. He was absolutely key to Liverpool pushing Manchester City so close in the Premier League and his performances were consistent, assured and match-winning. His tackle success rate of 74% sets him apart from anyone else on this list.
2018-19 Virgil Van Dijk – Key Stats
Tackle Success 74%
Duels Won: 244
Duels Lost: 78
Aerial Battles Won: 181
Aerial Battles Lost 63