Manchester United are currently scouring the world for one or two new centre backs and whoever they sign will have some big boots to fill.
The Red Devils, along with Arsenal and Chelsea, have been blessed with a long line of top quality defenders meaning any new recruits at these clubs will have their work cut out.
While the new era of dominating defenders is underway (think Shaw, Jones, Stones etc) here Ladbrokes News looks at five of the best to grace the Premier League.
Left Back – Ashley Cole – Arsenal, Chelsea
While special mentions are reserved for Denis Irwin and Patrice Evra – Ashley Cole is incomparable as a Premier League left back.
The former Gunner and Blue was named in the PFA Team of the Year four times and landed three Premier League titles, an unprecedented seven FA Cups, a League Cup and two European titles during his spell in London.
His ability to be both a supreme defender and fearsome attacking presence mark him out as the best of the best.
It takes a special player to keep Cristiano Ronaldo in their back pocket like Cole often did:
Right Back – Gary Neville – Manchester United
G-Nev was revered by United fans and loathed by pretty much everyone else but this is a testament to the man’s ability.
A six-time PFA Team of the Year representative, the one-club right back lifted the Premier League trophy eight times and won the Champions League twice.
Neville could never boast the pace of Cole but was marginally stronger in defence and boasted a right foot delivery that improved year on year – thanks in part to David Beckham.
Centre Back – Rio Ferdinand – West Ham, Leeds United, Manchester United
As composed a central defender as the Premier League is likely to see Rio was as comfortable building an attack as he was stifling one.
The record-breaking fee United shelled out to sign him 2002 raised more than few eyebrows but Sir Alex Ferguson was vindicated as Ferdinand led the defence in an era that saw him win six league titles and six placings in the PFA Team of the Year.
Check out Rio’s ‘silks’ in this montage:
Centre Back – Tony Adams – Arsenal
Adams’ comparatively meagre three showings in the Team of the Year merely highlight his age otherwise he would surely have outstripped his rivals.
Widely considered one of the best players in Gunners history he was the lynchpin of the famous back five for 19 years!
Another one-club man, Adams won four league titles – but only two came during the Premier League era.
Sub Centre Back – John Terry – Chelsea
His off-field antics and unlikeable demeanour make Terry a pariah anywhere other than Stamford Bridge but his talent is undeniable.
While it might be tempting to place Gary Pallister, Nemanja Vidic or Jaap Stam ahead of “JT” his longevity, never-say-die attitude and willingness to put his body on the line have made him one of the best defenders in world football over the past decade.
Three Premier League titles, five FA Cups and a Champions League triumph highlight the talent of the man known as Mr Chelsea.
And the former England man is still going strong if last season is anything to go by:
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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