Who is the best defensive midfielder in the world?

Man Utd are reportedly close to signing Real Madrid and Brazil star Casemiro.

According to Sky Sports, the Red Devils will pay Los Blancos £50.7m initially with a further £8.5m to be added later.

The signing would be a huge coup for Erik ten Hag and United who have seen numerous goals slip away this summer.

With Casemiro, however, they get one of the world’s best operators.

The no-nonsense Brazilian, now 30 and in the prime of his career, has been instrumental in Madrid winning a staggering five Champions League titles since joining in 2013.

But does that make him the best in his position? Assessing the best of the best can be a tough nut to crack, but we decided to give it a try to see if United really do get the cream of the crop of defensive midfielders.

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The 10 best defensive midfielders in world football

10. Wilfried Ndidi

Let’s just be clear that we’re only talking about defensive midfielders on this list, so players like Frenkie de Jong, Jude Bellingham and Luka Modric have not been included.

Ndidi, on the other hand, embodies what it means to be an anchor in front of defences.

When he’s on form, he’s almost impossible to get past and often tops the league charts for interceptions and possession regained.

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Leicester will be lucky to be able to hold on to him for much longer.

Wilfred Ndidi at Leicester
Wilfred Ndidi at Leicester

9. Sergio Busquets

The Spaniard is one of the best of his generation but now, at 34, there’s no denying his strength is fading.

Still, his mind works faster than any opponent and he fits perfectly with the Barcelona form of always being two steps ahead.

After all, he learned from the best in Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta so now it’s his turn to pass those pearls of wisdom on to Barca’s youth.

Sergio Busquets in action for Barcelona
Sergio Busquets in action for Barcelona

8th. Declan Rice

The Englishman’s rise to stardom has been so rapid that David Moyes slapped a £150million price tag on his head ahead of the summer transfer window.

While he’s certainly not worth anywhere near that number, Rice is fast becoming one of England’s best players and has improved his ball skills significantly over the past year – something we think has held him back in the past.

Declan Rice

7. Marcelo Brozovic

While many fans haven’t seen as much of Brozovic compared to the other stars on this list, the Inter Milan midfielder has been central to all the good things that have happened to the Nerazzurri of late.

Working in a coalition of experts with Nicolo Barella, the duo are successfully leading Serie A games on a regular basis and aim to reclaim the Scudetto in 2022/2023.

Marcelo Brozovic

6. N’Golo Kante

Okay, maybe he’s not a full-on defensive midfielder anymore, but we’d argue that he’s still very defensively oriented, even if he’s used more progressively.

While Kante traditionally tops this list, there’s no denying that his form has deserted him of late.

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Mistakes creep into his game and while we still think he’s among the best, the Frenchman could use finding some consistency again or dropping out of the top 10.

N'Golo Kante

5. Fabinho Tavares

Another prone to failure of late, Liverpool fans will be hoping Fabinho can stop the rot and become the monster he once was for the Reds.

Since joining the club from Monaco in 2018, the Brazilian has been the crowning glory of Klopp’s midfield.

The anchor that dictates the game and pauses it when needed. All in all, he’s a world-class player who just needs to find some consistency if he’s going to surpass someone like Rodri.


4. Rodri

The Spaniard slips under the radar in a City team littered with flashy stars, but that doesn’t mean he’s any less important to the cause.

In fact, alongside Kevin De Bruyne, he could be their number one asset.

He does the simple things perfectly and very rarely makes a mistake – two signs of a top, top player.

Rodri celebrates

3. Joshua Kimmich

Kimmich is the cog that keeps the FC Bayern Munich machine running. He’s like a modern-day Phillip Lahm with a little more panache for the future.

As well as being an exceptional defensive midfielder, he’s also a world-class right-back or creative outlet – in truth, he could probably play anywhere his talent is so refined.

A special player.

Joshua Kimmich

2.Marco Verratti

The diminutive Italian has spent over a decade managing the French division for Paris Saint-Germain as well as the Champions League on many occasions.

We think the next step in his career, whether it’s a move to the Premier League or another European giants, has to come sooner rather than later now that he’s 29 years old.

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He’s a world-class player, there’s absolutely no doubt about that – but one who needs to step out of the shadow of Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar so fans can see him in all his glory.

Marco Verratti
  1. Casemiro

So there you have it, we’ve settled on Man Utd potential man number one.

The success Casemiro has achieved on the pitch is unparalleled on this list and has lifted heinous amounts of silverware at Los Blancos.

He also regularly keeps Fabinho out of the Brazil team, which in itself is not an easy task.

And all in all, one has to imagine that Ten Hag can’t believe his luck at the prospect of the deal going through.

He could be a signer.

Real Madrid CF celebrate winning the 2021/22 UEFA Champions League final

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