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The Top 10 centre-backs in the Premier League 2023-24

Who are the best defenders in the top flight?

The Premier League is home to some of the greatest talents in world football, and there are several world-class defenders among them.

From Dias to Dunk, it is among the strongest crop of centre-backs that has ever been seen in the top flight, with modern defenders often required to be incredible footballers as well as athletes.

Here are who we think the top 10 are.

10. Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace)

That he has been linked with Tottenham, Arsenal and Chelsea already this summer speaks plenty about Marc Guehi’s ability. Still just 23-year-old, the English defender is a standout performer for Crystal Palace and has already been entrusted with the captaincy.

The right-footed defender can play on either side of central defence, and has struck up an excellent partnership with Joachim Andersen in south London.

9. Lewis Dunk (Brighton)

Now 31-years-old, it is easy to assume that Dunk’s best years could be behind him. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth and the Brighton defender continues to improve and impress onlookers.

Did you know: No-one managed to make more passes than Dunk across last season’s Premier League campaign. His 3208 were almost 300 more than second-best Rodri.

8. Sven Botman (Newcastle United)

A key cornerstone of Newcastle’s impressive defence last season, Botman helped Eddie Howe’s side qualify for Champions League football for the first time in the last two decades.

Still just 23-years-old, the former LOSC Lille defender has a long career at the top ahead of him, and is only likely to get better in the years to come.

7. Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United)

Despite concerns over his height when he signed for the Red Devils last summer, Martinez enjoyed a strong first season at Old Trafford. The Argentine, who also helped his country lift the World Cup, helped Erik ten Hag’s side to a Champions League spot last season as well as some much needed silverware, though there will be a few games (the 7-0 defeat to Liverpool among them) that he will want to forget.

6. Ibrahima Konate (Liverpool)

The future of Liverpool’s defence, Konate can sometimes be a bit rash but has all the attributes to become the next Virgil van Dijk at Anfield. A major threat in the air, the Frenchman is quick across the ground and strong in the challenge while also possessing an excellent eye for a line-splitting pass. At just 24-years-old, he is bound to improve.

5. Gabriel (Arsenal)

One of the more underrated players in Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side, Gabriel enjoyed an amazing campaign in 2022-23 and continued his excellent development in north London.

The left-footed defender missed just five minutes of the Premier League campaign, and appears to have begun putting his rash moments behind him to blossom into an excellent and reliable defender.

4. Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

A behemoth at the back for Manchester City, Dias may lack some of the crisp passing of his fellow defenders but he more than makes up for that in his defensive ability. The Portuguese international and Manchester City skipper won footballer of the year in his first season of Premier League football and hasn’t looked back since, making himself a mainstay in the top-flight’s top side.

3. William Saliba (Arsenal)

A year ago, it was unclear whether William Saliba would ever play for Arsenal, now he is undroppable.

Nicknamed the Mbappe of centre-backs during his time in France, the Frenchman was a major part of Mikel Arteta’s side and their title charge last season, with it only falling away after he picked up an injury that ruled him out for the season.

Back fit again, the young defender is set to continue his massive upwards trajectory this season.

2. Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

Van Dijk had a poor season by his own exceptional standards last time out, but remains an excellent central defender and a key part of Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side. A man mountain who is a threat in both boxes, the Dutchman was the best defender in the division for several seasons and will be coming for his crown again this time around.

1. John Stones (Manchester City)

At times ridiculed following his £50m move from Merseyside to Manchester, Stones has become the best defender in the Premier League and was a key part of Manchester City’s historic treble-success last season.

Deployed in central defence, at right back and even as an inverted fullback pushing into midfield, the Englishman fulfilled all three roles to a World Class level, while his range of passing is second to none in football at present.

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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