Football’s Most Expensive Defenders!

With Southampton’s Virgil Van Dijk heavily linked with a move to Liverpool in recent days, not least by himself, it will almost certainly take a world record transfer fee (reportedly £60m) for a defender to make the the transfer happen.

But who’s record would he be breaking? And how have the other big-money moves for defenders fared out? We take a look.

1. David Luiz, £50 million
Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League - Stamford Bridge
Eyebrows were raised when Chelsea managed to wrangle a record £50 million from Paris Saint-Germain for the Brazilian defender in 2014. The 30-year old’s return to Stamford Bridge last summer for a reported £34 million was also surprising, but Luiz enjoyed a successful season – picking up a place in the PFA Team of the Year and a Premier League medal.

2. John Stones, £47.5 million
Sunderland v Manchester City - English Premier League  - Stadium of Light
Those who feel a potential fee of £60 million is quite steep for Van Dijk, should consider that it’s only 10 months since Manchester City shelled out almost £50 million for the relatively inexperienced John Stones.

He’s had a mixed debut season at the Etihad, but Pep Guardiola is clearly a fan and will be hoping that further defensive reinforcements this summer will help the 23-year-old’s progress at the club.

3. Shkodran Mustafi, £35 million
Arsenal v Bayern Munich - Champions League -  Emirates Stadium
For a man renowned for his close grip of the purse-strings, Arsene Wenger’s £70 million plus outlay on Mustafi and Granit Xhaka last summer was certainly out of character.

Both have failed to set the world alight during their debut season at the Emirates but Mustafi should play a pivotal role should Wenger persist with his three-man defence next season.

4. Thiago Silva, £33 million
French First League PSG vs Nancy Match - Paris
Luiz’s old PSG team-mate joined the Ligue 1 side from AC Milan in 2012. Once heralded by Franco Baresi as his ‘heir’, the Brazilian has been a cornerstone of PSG’s defence ever since, picking up four league titles and has been named in FIFA’s World XI in three consecutive seasons.

5. Eliaquim Mangala, £32 million
Real Madrid v Manchester City - UEFA Champions League - Semi Final - Second Leg - Santiago Bernabeu
Manchester City’s defensive problems seem absurd when you consider how much they’ve blown in recent years on central defenders.

Mangala joined from Porto three years ago for a fee in the region of £32 million, although it’s also been reported that the fee was closer to £42 million, but the Frenchman has struggled in the Premier League, and spent last season on loan at Valencia. His future seems uncertain at City, with Newcastle United the latest club to be linked with the 26-year-old.

6. Nicolas Otamendi, £32 million
Manchester City v Huddersfield Town - FA Cup Fifth Round Replay - Etihad Stadium
The Argentine is another recent, big-money defensive signing for City and another where the jury is still out. Upon signing him in 2015, Manuel Pellegrini declared he’d bought the ‘best defender in La Liga’, but he’s yet to display those credentials in a City shirt.

His best displays have been alongside Vincent Kompany at the heart of City’s defence, but with more defensive recruits expected at the Etihad this summer, his future at the club looks uncertain.

7. Rio Ferdinand, Mats Hummels & Eric Bailly £30 million
Soccer - Press Conference - Manchester United
Ferdinand became the world’s most expensive defender in 2002 when he signed for Manchester United from Leeds. Then 23, his fee was also a British transfer record, but it proved a shrewd investment by Sir Alex Ferguson.

Ferdinand went on to forge a formidable partnership with Nemanja Vidic and picked up six league titles and a Champions League medal at Old Trafford.

Manchester Utd vs Southampton - Premier League - Old Trafford Stadium
Bailly signed for the Red Devils for a similar fee last summer and had a relatively successful first season in England.

Arguably United’s first choice in central defence, he was at his best alongside Marcos Rojo although an injury-frought season at Old Trafford thwarted Jose Mourinho’s hopes of forging a stable partnership in central defence.

Germany v Italy - UEFA Euro 2016 - Quarter Final - Stade de Bordeaux
Hummels started his career with Bayern Munich and became the latest in a long line of players to leave Borussia Dortmund for the German champions when he rejoined last summer.

His fee of around £30 million would have been considerably larger, but the defender had just one year remaining on his contract at the Westfalenstadion.

10. Dani Alves, £28.5 million
Juventus v AS Monaco - UEFA Champions League - Semi Final - Second Leg - Juventus Stadium
One of the signings of last summer, when he signed for Champions League finalists Juventus on a Bosman from Barcelona, Alves’ big-money move to Barca from Sevilla in 2008 was equally good value.

The gregarious right-back won six La Liga titles and three Champions Leagues at the Nou Camp and could be on the move again this summer, with Chelsea linked with the 34-year-old.