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Five best Serie A defenders money can buy

Since the glory days of Paolo Maldini and Franco Baresi, Serie A has been a factory of defensive talents, producing some of the best defenders in recent football history. 

From Alessandro Nesta, Fabio Cannavaro and Thiago Silva to Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, Italy’s elite competition has developed numerous elite defenders in the 21st century. 

Nothing has changed over the years, with Serie A continuing to grow and nurture top-class centre-backs, some of which could leave the Apennines in the coming months. 

The summer transfer window is just around the corner as we look at the five most exciting defensive prospects in the Italian championship the money can buy. 

Fikayo Tomori

From a marginal figure at Chelsea to a Serie A winner at AC Milan, Tomori has become one of the most reliable defenders in Europe since swapping Stamford Bridge for San Siro in January 2021. 

The 25-year-old’s outstanding form for the Rossoneri earned him a place in the England national team during November’s international window last year.

Although Gareth Southgate omitted Tomori from his 2022 World Cup squad, the versatile defender is still flirting with another international call-up after cementing a regular starting berth at Milan. 

He has reportedly attracted interest from Arsenal and Manchester United, despite pledging his future to Milan to 2027, putting last season’s Serie A champions in a strong bargaining position. 

Kim Min-jae

While prising Tomori away from Milan will likely require lengthy talks and crafty negotiating skills, given the Italians’ firm stance on their star centre-half, Min-jae’s future lies far away from Napoli

Although he only joined the Partenopei last summer as a replacement for Kalidou Koulibaly, who left for Chelsea, the 26-year-old is on the verge of leaving the Diego Maradona Stadium after one year.

He played a prominent role in Napoli’s first Serie A triumph since 1990, becoming one of the most in-demand defenders in European football, with several Premier League sides keeping close tabs on him.

Perennial Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain have recently joined Man United in the race to sign the former Fenerbahce man, who has a €40 million release clause in his contract. 

Alessandro Bastoni

After helping Inter end a decade-long Scudetto wait in 2020/21 under Antonio Conte, Bastoni has established himself among the most exciting defensive talents in Serie A.

Alongside PSG-bound Milan Skriniar, the Italian star has been a crucial component of the Nerazzurri’s recent domestic and continental success, helping his side reach the Champions League final this season.

Interestingly, Simone Inzaghi’s men will meet non-other than Manchester City in the Istanbul final on June 10, with Pep Guardiola emerging as a keen admirer of the 24-year-old. 

Bastoni’s defensive prowess and impressive technical skills caught the Spaniard’s eye last summer, but Inter refused to sell. Given the club’s precarious financial status, everything could change this summer.

Nikola Milenkovic

Milenkovic has been one of the most coveted Serie A centre-backs for years, but despite constant rumours linking him with a big-money move, he’s still loyal to Fiorentina. 

After missing out on Coppa Italia glory to Inter, the Partizan Belgrade youth academy graduate could wrap his hands around the Europa Conference League trophy next week. 

La Viola will take on West Ham United in the Prague showpiece next Wednesday, which could prove Milenkovic’s last game for the Florence outfit. 

Chelsea and Man Utd were interested in landing the 25-year-old last year

Giorgio Scalvini 

At just 19 years of age, Scalvini already carries a reputation as a generation talent following a phenomenal breakthrough season at Atalanta. 

Closely followed by Inter, the Italian prodigy displays exceptional positional awareness and a natural ability to anticipate and intercept passes like a senior player.

One of Scalvini’s notable traits is his calmness and composure. Despite his young age, he rarely panics in tight situations, proving capable of maintaining control in challenging defensive scenarios. 

Comfortable with the ball at his feet and adept at initiating attacks from the back, he has found himself playing as a defensive midfielder on multiple occasions this season. 

His defensive attributes and versatility will likely earn him a lucrative contract outside Bergamo this summer. 

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