With the likes of Radamel Falcao, Edinson Cavani, and Willian moving to major clubs for major money and the pending record transfer of Gareth Bale to Real Madrid, this summer is without a doubt the one where clubs opened the checkbooks the most.
If you have not noticed yet, all of the names mentioned above and the majority of the attention in the media this summer has been pointed towards the attacking players. The real bargains for clubs have been solid center backs, whether it is bringing in someone new or keeping the one they have.
Odds are that the Champions League winner this season will have the best defensive pairing in football. Last year saw Bayern Munich defend solidly with Dante, Daniel van Buyten and Jerome Boateng in central defense. This year will be much of the same as the top teams will prioritize not letting goals in over scoring them.
The only big money signing for a defender this summer was the business done by Paris Saint Germain for young Brazilian defender Marquinhos, formerly of AS Roma. This signing was done with the intention of acquiring potential rather than experience.
A rather large sum of money for someone that won’t provide goals, right? Well, the idea was to solidify a strong back line that has subliminally helped win games this past season for the Paris side.
Many teams have noticed that the center back position has increasingly become more important in winning games and although there has not been many defensive signings to date, it could be because teams are valuing what they currently have in their back lines and striving to keep their star defenders happy.
A lot of transfer rumors surrounded top defenders this summer. Thiago Silva of PSG was heavily linked with FC Barcelona, who are currently desperate for a center half. The Parisians immediately saw their leader and a big part for their success slowly slipping away. Their reaction was to kill these rumors with a contract extension and public announcement of his commitment to the Ligue 1 champions.
Silva’s international partner David Luiz was also a Barça target not only because of his strong defending displays for club and country, but mostly due to his exceptional ball-handling skills and ability to bring the ball up front rapidly. Luiz’s manager at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho, shot down the rumors by simply claiming that his defender was not for sale.
With an aging John Terry and injury prone Gary Cahill, the Portuguese manager sees the Brazilian at his peak as too valuable to let go.
Barcelona is not the only club in the market for a defender. The likes of Manchester City and Liverpool are also suffering from a similar dilemma.
City have suffered from the injury spells of Matija Nastasic, Vincent Kompany and Micah Richards, leaving only Joleon Lescott as the only senior center half on the squad. Their pursuits of Pepe from Real Madrid have been unsuccessful and still leaves them looking to add depth to their defense before the window closes.
Last season, Liverpool suffered from the shaky performances of Martin Skrtel. Club veteran Jamie Carragher stepped in and added stability for the second half of the season, but his retirement has raised doubts about the security in that position this season.
The free transfer of Kolo Toure has provided assurance and experience to the squad but in reality, his age and immobility will be insufficient if they aspire to challenge in the Premier League. Their offense seems stable, now they should focus on keeping the goals out of their own net.
As the transfer window comes to a close in the next few days, keep an eye out for the movement of several defenders as impulse purchases are destined to occur, some good and some not so good.
Alejandro de Jesus is a contributing Soccer writer for RantSports.com. You can follow Alejandro on Twitter right here @GeograFOOT