12 Defenders Who Are Primed for Transfers in the Summer Window
Here are 12 defenders playing for a European club that are primed for transfers in the summer window.
Whether it is lack of playing time coupled with an expiring contract like Ashley Cole or deciding to call it quits like Carles Puyol, these 12 defenders will be sought-after transfer targets, not just by rival European clubs, but by teams all around the world.
No list is ever exhaustive, so do not hesitate to comment below with your examples.
Ashley Cole, Chelsea LB, Age: 33
Prior to being ruled out of a 4-0 win against Tottenham Hotspur due to injury, per Garry Hayes at Bleacher Report, Ashley Cole had started and finished on the bench in seven successive Premier League games.
He has lost his starting position to Cesar Azpilicueta, a right-footed, makeshift left-back who was signed to play at right-back.
Cole has taken his place at Chelsea for granted, and the influence the senior members of the team wielded (pre-Jose Mourinho's second reign at the club) gave Cole a sense of entitlement.
Mourinho would not stand for Cole's mediocre performances and replaced him with a younger and more obedient player in Azpilicueta.
With Patrick van Aanholt on loan at Vitesse and set to return to Chelsea next season, Cole may end up leaving.
Bacary Sagna, Arsenal RB/CB, Age: 31
Last month, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger spoke of his concerns with Bacary Sagna playing hardball over a contract extension, which would avert the Gunners from the possibility of losing him on a Bosman (free) transfer in the summer window.
"I believe his future is here and any other decision would be wrong. Because he is a defender we are ready to give him more than one year," Wenger said, per Jeremy Wilson at the Telegraph. I would like him [Sagna] to sign just now but I have to accept it."
Sagna has allegedly told his teammates he will leave the Gunners, per the Sun (h/t ESPN).
Sagna is an experienced right-back who has shown he can fill in competently at centre-back.
Boukary Drame, Chievo Verona LB, Age: 28
Boukary Drame's career has been a roller-coaster ride.
He was once playing alongside Pauleta and Jerome Rothen at Paris Saint-Germain, only to never progress into an elite footballer.
Post-PSG, Drame has gone under the radar with stints at Sochaux and Real Sociedad.
Now with Chievo Verona, Drame has been a standout when Chievo face major Serie A clubs.
He created Alberto Paloschi's goal in a 1-1 draw against Inter Milan and provided Bostjan Cesar with a goal in a 2-1 defeat to Fiorentina.
Drame is an athletic left-back and strong going forward, but he is also an adept ball-winner (65 tackles and 41 interceptions in 21 games).
He is using Chievo as a stepping-stone, so do not be surprised if a notable European club decides to gamble on his ability.
Carles Puyol, Barcelona CB, Age: 35
Barcelona stalwart Carles Puyol has put the club ahead of his ego, as he has done throughout his career.
He believes he cannot perform at a world-class level, so he will be leaving Barca at the end of the season, per Barcelona's official website.
Puyol is a model professional. He is team-first, he is a leader of men and, when fit, he is a great defender.
Presumably, he will move to a developing league and has been linked with a potential transfer to a Major League Soccer franchise, per MLSsoccer.com.
Fabio Coentrao, Real Madrid LB, Age: 25
Real Madrid need a more dependable left-back than Fabio Coentrao, who is an elite player in his position but generally injured.
He has only started five La Liga games this season.
He didn't even last one half of football after coming on to replace Marcelo in a 4-2 win over Villarreal.
Coentrao had "agreed a deal to join [Manchester] United" in the January transfer window, per Jamie Jackson of the Guardian.
Joleon Lescott, Manchester City CB, Age: 31
Manchester City centre-back Joleon Lescott has accepted that he will not be part of the club next season.
"It's nice to play. They don't come as often as I'd like but when called upon I think I can do a job," Lescott said, per the Sun (h/t Sky Sports). "It's a shame it's going to come to an end."
City's attempt to sign Porto centre-back Eliaquim Mangala during the January transfer window, per Mark Ogden of the Telegraph, is an indication that Lescott is on borrowed time.
Micah Richards, Manchester City RB/CB, Age: 25
Fitness problems have plagued Manchester City right-back Micah Richards in recent memory.
He started seven Premier League games last season and has only appeared in two league games this season.
Last November, Richards said he would leave the club if he was not guaranteed regular first-team football, per Graham Chase at the Telegraph.
Nemanja Pejcinovic, Nice CB, Age: 26
Nice have conceded five goals in their last six Ligue 1 games, which is a better record than Monaco (eight goals conceded in six games).
One of the reasons for Nice's stable defence in recent weeks is centre-back Nemanja Pejcinovic, a late bloomer who has been superb this season.
While he is settled in Nice, he is thinking about testing himself by moving to a bigger team, which implies that he has received interest from major European clubs.
"Conditions [in Nice] are amazing, people are wonderful and after four years here, I must admit I feel like at home," Pejcinovic said, per Blic (h/t Jure Bohoric at Sky Sports). "But on the other hand, I think I have matured as a player and that I now need a great challenge in my career, maybe at a stronger European club."
Patrice Evra, Manchester United LB, Age: 32
Since Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra has been a predominant starter in David Moyes' team, an appearance clause has been activated in the Frenchman's contract, which has automatically extended his tenure, per Duncan Castles at the Sunday Times.
However, Castles is reporting that Evra retains his Bosman rights should another club make an offer for him.
My goodness, how sneaky are these contracts?
He should not be able to have it both ways and talk about playing with house money.
Stuart Mathieson at the Manchester Evening News believes Evra will leave United in the summer transfer window.
Rio Ferdinand, Manchester United CB, Age: 35
Manchester United manager David Moyes revealed that he is phasing Vidic out of the club, per Sky Sports, so it can be assumed the same process will happen with Rio Ferdinand.
Ferdinand is out of contract at the end of the season, and with United in sixth place, management should be focusing on the future.
If Puyol is willing to put the club ahead of himself and walk away from Barcelona, Ferdinand should do the same.
Roberto Rosales, Twente RB, Age: 25
Twente right-back Roberto Rosales is a solid footballer and has built up a great understanding with right forward Quincy Promes, who is enjoying his best season so far (11 goals and seven assists in 24 league games).
Rosales has registered 34 key passes (a pass that leads to a shot) and averages the second-most tackles at the club (2.6), behind Felipe Gutierrez (3.1).
If Rosales is ambitious, he will leave Twente in the summer transfer window and move to a stronger league.
Younes Kaboul, Tottenham Hotspur CB, Age: 28
There are pros and cons of Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Younes Kaboul's red card in the 4-0 defeat to Chelsea.
Pro: It was not just Kaboul, as his fellow teammates (Kyle Walker, Jan Vertonghen and Sandro) all made mistakes and gave the world an exhibition on how not to defend.
Cons: Kaboul's sending off does not help his aim to be a week-in, week-out starter.
Look, Kaboul has been unfortunate with his persistent injury problems (he has never played 38 Premier League games in a season for Spurs), but he has the potential to be a quality defender if he is not experiencing any pain and has match fitness.
It is a big "if," and Spurs may potentially opt to part ways with Kaboul, who has only started three league games this season.
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