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Van Dijk no longer Prem’s best defender with Maguire, Silva and Dias leading him. Here are top 5.

Van Dijk no longer Prem’s best defender with Maguire, Silva and Dias leading him. Here are top 5.

It would be difficult to find a football enthusiast who did not view Virgil van Dijk as the Premier League’s best defender this time last year.

The Liverpool player led the club to Champions League honor in the 2019/20 campaign, before playing every minute of the following Premier League season as they won a first top-flight title in 30 years.

As the Reds seemed to defend their crown, Van Dijk suffered a severe knee injury after clashing with Everton’s Jordan Pickford last October.

The £75million Dutchman has not made a competitive debut since, but could return in Liverpool’s pre-season friendly against Hertha Berlin on Thursday, according to manager Jurgen Klopp.

A fit-again Van Dijk will be a welcome sight and with Raphael Varane closing in on a move to Manchester United, the Premier League will soon be home to the world’s most exquisite and most expensive center-backs.

Here, look at the five best, including the soon-to-be Old Trafford stopper According to talkSPORT

5. John Stones – Man City (Cost: £47.5million)

Stones’ turnaround at Man City has been exceptional.

In the early scenes of last season, the 27-year-old was grappling to make manager Pep Guardiola’s matchday squads.

However, from November onwards, Stones formed a fearful partnership with Ruben Dias as City went on to win a third Premier League title in four years.

Stones’ form also led to a recall to the England squad in March.

His consistency, which also saw City reach a first ever Champions League final, resulted in him starting every match for the Three Lions at Euro 2020.

Stones appear to be fulfilling his potential as he begins the peak years of his career.

Van Dijk no longer Prem’s best defender with Maguire, Silva and Dias leading him. Here are top 5.

4. Raphael Varane – Manchester United (Cost: £43m)

Varane is moving ever closer to making his £43m move to United.

The 28-year-old has won three LaLiga titles and four Champions League trophies during a hugely successful career so far.

And add a World Cup winners’ medal to his acquisition with 79 caps for France.

Varane’s packed-out trophy cabinet is why he is considered as one of the world’s best defenders.

With just one year left on his deal, Real Madrid chose to cash-in on their star defender, who reportedly had no interest in signing fresh terms amid United’s interest.

The Premier League’s best attacking players could find it hard getting past a defensive block of Varane and Harry Maguire next season.

3. Thiago Silva – Chelsea (Cost: Free transfer)

Silva has commanded around £55m in transfer fees during his career.

And Chelsea arguably pulled off one of the greatest coups of the 2020 summer transfer window by settling the veteran defender on a free transfer.

Silva had a Premier League debut to forget, though, when his loose touch led to a goal from Callum Robinson in a 3-3 draw with newly-promoted West Brom.

Instead of making that mistake get to him, Silva went from strength to strength and helped Chelsea win the Champions League in May.

And in the Premier League, only Man City allowed fewer goals (32) than Chelsea (36) last season.

The 36-year-old’s form made him a one-year contract extension with Chelsea and he looks set to play another pivotal role in the season ahead.

Van Dijk no longer Prem’s best defender with Maguire, Silva and Dias leading him. Here are top 5.

Van Dijk no longer Prem’s best defender with Maguire, Silva and Dias leading him. Here are top 5.

2. Harry Maguire – Manchester United (Cost: £80m)

Maguire has been one of the most scrutinized players in the Premier League since becoming the world’s most prized defender when he joined Manchester United for £80m from Leicester in 2019.

He has been a consistent starter for the Red Devils since, but suffered his first serious injury for the club towards the end of last term.

In United’s final five matches of the campaign without Maguire, they won just once and suffered a Europa League final loss to Villarreal.

It highlighted Maguire’s value to the team, something England manager Gareth Southgate knew as he included the injured center-half in his Euro 2020 squad.

Maguire missed the first two matches of the tournament before returning as England conceded just two goals in the five matches he played in.

The 28-year-old finally seems to be getting the credit he deserves.

Last month, Manchester United teammate Dean Henderson put Maguire in the same category as Van Dijk.

He said: “How can you doubt Harry Maguire? Nobody can doubt him.

“He plays every single game for Manchester United, the biggest football club in the world and no matter what he gives his best.

“Unfortunately you can’t play outstanding in every game because nobody is perfect, but Harry is a top centre-half.

“I’d put him in the same category as Virgil van Dijk, and I’ll be proven right in the next couple of years, because he’s only going to get better and better.”

1. Ruben Dias – Man City (Cost: £61.2m)

Dias was relatively unknown to most English football supporters when he arrived at Man City for a big fee from Benfica last summer.

But he has proved his price tag with Premier League and Carabao Cup winners’ medals in his debut season in England.

On top of that, Dias won the Premier League Player of the Season award and was nominated the FWA Footballer of the Year.

He was also listed in the Premier League and Champions League teams of the year.

At just 24 years old, Dias has the potential to be the Premier League’s best defender for the next decade.

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Van Dijk no longer Prem’s best defender with Maguire, Silva and Dias leading him. Here are top 5.

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