THE BLOG

Eight Defenders That Top Premier League Clubs Should Look to in January

31/10/2014 17:46 GMT | Updated 30/12/2014 10:59 GMT

An exciting trend seems to have emerged in the Premier League over the last couple of years - defences have been forgotten about while attacks are lavishly spent upon.

Just think, did Manchester United need Falcao at the expense of a good centre-back? Did Liverpool need Markovic? Did Arsenal need Sanchez? The list goes on.

While of course this is all very good news for the neutral (see the likes of Leicester City 5 - 3 Manchester United) it surely isn't for the club's manager.

Arsene Wenger has already promised to invest in the defence in January and it would be mindless if Louis van Gaal and Brendan Rodgers did not do the same.

There are plenty of accomplished defenders out there and here are eight names that could fit the bill for any top Premier League club looking to strengthen at the back in January:

8. Inigo Martinez

Martinez was linked with a number of major clubs over the summer after helping Sociedad to a seventh placed finish in La Liga last season.

Although he decided to stay, his side's form has now dipped, causing him to consider looking for a way out in January.

Though Sociedad have been unable to replicate their form of last term, Martinez's talent is still undoubted and he would improve the defence of many a Premier League outfit.

7. Maicon

Not to be confused with the right-back, the 6ft 3in centre-half is a throwback to the defenders of old. For that very reason he may be a perfect fit for the Premier League.

His disciplinary record so far at Porto this season reads four yellow cards and one red in nine appearances, just if you were still unsure as to the sort of defender he is.

Clearly that sort of record is something that would have to be cleaned up, though many fans of top Premier League clubs would argue that he is the exact sort of character that their back-line currently needs.

6. Ryan Shawcross

With 212 Premier League appearances to his name, Shawcross would not have to deal with adapting to English football, just the step up in expectation if he moved to a top-six club.

Originally a Manchester United youth product, his style of play is often criticised as being thuggish, however, his physicality and leadership qualities would add something extra to United's defence that they have sorely lacked this season.

5. Benedikt Howedes

Although it seems like he has been around forever already, Schalke 04 captain Benedikt Howedes is in fact still only 26 years old.

He has been impressing at the highest level of European football for years now and has as many as 30 caps for the German national side.

If a top Premier League side were to come calling then his head would almost certainly be turned by exorbitant wage offers, though so far his loyalty to his current club seems genuine.

4. Ron Vlaar

After raising his stock immensely at the 2014 World Cup, it seems almost incredible that no Premier League side signed a cut-price Ron Vlaar from Aston Villa.

Given the defensive woes of Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool so far this season, it would not be a surprise if any of these sides looks to take Vlaar on in January, especially given his Premier League experience.

3. Virgil Van Dijk

Playing at Celtic has given young Virgil van Dijk extensive experience of football at Europe's highest level at the age of just 23.

Nowadays, however, you would imagine that the Dutch defender will realise the need to move away from the SPL if he is to further his career ambitions.

He has already been heavily linked with Arsenal, however, nothing has been made official by either club.

2. Simon Kjaer

Simon Kjaer was at the heart of a Lille defence that only conceded 26 goals in 38 league games last term and the French club have started well this time around too, having surrendered just nine times out of 11.

Lille have been dubbed the French league's 'clean sheet kings' and Kjaer has played no small part in that.

He recently shut out both Samuel Eto'o and Romelu Lukaku in the Europa League against Everton, showing he can mix it amongst some of the Premier League's best already.

1. Winston Reid

At the age of 26, Reid has over 100 Premier League appearances to his name - the sort of experience that would be of great help to many failing Premier League defences.

Although he is not the sort of big name signing that many fans crave, he would be available for a bargain fee as he is out of contract in the summer.