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FIFA 22: Best Defenders, Centre-backs, left-backs, and right-backs to sign in Career Mode

Grind out those clean sheets

With the January transfer window a distant memory and the tail end of European competitions beckoning, we're starting to nail down the top defensive talent in FIFA 22 Career mode.

Having an athletic defence is key to success in FIFA 22, whether you’re more into catenaccio or the gegenpress.

The rock in the middle of that defence is a powerful centre-back, capable of breaking up play and setting up counterattacks with ease. While full-backs and more often wing-backs are the most fashionable position in football, covering a huge amount of ground between offensive and defensive transitions.

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Across Europe’s top 5 leagues - and world football in general - it’s often said there’s a dearth of top-quality defenders, with the game currently in a particularly attacking strategic phase.

However, here are some of the best defenders in FIFA 22 including centre-backs, left-backs, and right-backs, capable of transforming your leaky back line into a bus parking lot Jose would be proud of.

First off we’ll list off the highest overall rated defenders in FIFA 22. Although these superstars will only fit the loftiest of budgets, with the likes of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane making big moves this Summer you can’t really say any transfer is unrealistic any more.

Next, we will round up the highest potential defenders who might not be first team ready, but have a lot of room to grow throughout Career Mode.

Finally, we’ll go through some suggestions of who to sign in your first season of career mode. No one likes being told their top target has “just moved and won’t move again”, but these gems are available straight away.

But first, here are some new names we've picked up since FIFA 22's release.

Best FIFA 22 defenders we've found since release

  • Josko Gvardiol - CB - RB Leipzig - £28m Value - 19 - I initially didn't mention Josko Gvardiol on this list because he's not available in the first window, but as he continues to go from strength to strength, he simply can't be ignored. With between 75-85 for literally any stat you could need right from the start of your save, and bags of potential to grow into, Gvardiol is easily the best defender you can sign in FIFA 22 Career Mode if you're playing multiple seasons.
  • Malo Gusto - RB - Lyon - £8.5m Value - 18 - With an incredible +11 to his starting overall since the start of FIFA 22, Malo Gusto is now one of the hottest young fullbacks in the game with great pace, stamina and crossing from the beginning of a new save. While his 70-ish defending leaves something to be desired, he has a starting potential of 84 to round it out.
  • Oumar Solet - CB - RB Salzburg - £4.9m Value - 21 - Tall with ridiculously good speed and strength - and not to mention mid-70s passing too - Ourmar Solet is an affordable gem who quickly grows into a formidable defender.
  • Marcus Pedersen - RB - Feyernoord - £6.5m Value - 21 - At 6ft tall with 90 pace and stamina, Marcus Pedersen is an incredible pickup for lots of teams even without his 84 starting potential. His defending, dribbling and crossing are all also around 70, so he has a lot of solid key attributes right from the beginning of career mode.
  • David Hancko - CB - Sparta Praha - £22m Value - 23 - Another one you'll have to wait until the second window for, but David Hancko is a solid choice for fans of realistic signings, looking like a natural fit for Premier League teams pushing for Europe and below. The Solvak is quick, strong and classy with great starting potential.
  • Bright Osayi-Samuel - RB - Fenerbahce - £4.5m Value - 23 - Ex-QPR man Bright Osayi-Samuel has absolutely incredible stats for his price. To have mid-90s pace, 82 stamina and 81 dribbling on a 73 starting overall is an exceptional deal however you swing it. Despite having just 79 starting potential, and mediocre defending around 70, that's very, very fixable with dynamic potential.
  • Goncalo Inacio - CB - Sporting CP - £21m Value - 19 - Portuguese defenders are having a bit of a moment, and one of the best emerging talents is Sporting’s Goncalo Inacio with 87 potential. With a high starting overall, good pace, and strong defending stats, he’s a great choice for a number of top teams looking to rejuvenate their aging back lines.
  • Alex Centelles - LB - Almeria - £12m Value - 21 - With decent stats across the board and a great stamina stat of 85, Alex Centelles also has a starting potential of 85 to quickly grow into a first-team quality left-back for almost any team.
  • Morato - CB - Benfica - £5.5m Value - 20 - A lower rated but still very high potential alternative to Inacio is Morato at arch-rivals Benfica. He’s cheaper, but slower, and relies more on his 87 starting strength to boss the defence. He’ll likely get upgraded even more throughout FIFA, so might finish this year a lot more expensive than he started.
  • Hugo Siquet - RB - Liege - £3.5m Value - 18 - Joined Freiburg in the winter transfer window, but if you're working with an earlier save snap him up before that goes through in FIFA too. Boasting a ridiculous crossing stat of 80 and dependable stats everywhere else at just 18, you can see why he’s a hotly tipped prospect.
  • Armel Bella Kotchap - CB - Bochum - £4.2m Value - 19 - Great pace, strength and tackling considering his overall rating and age. A real good value signing who should quickly develop into the cornerstone of your defence.
  • Micky van de Ven - CB - Wolfsburg - £3m Value - 20 - In later seasons with lower league teams, Micky van de Ven is a decent cheaper option with good Sprint Speed and Stength as well as starting potential in the mid 80s.
  • Noah Mbamba - CB - Club Brugge - £2m Value - 16 - Not available in the first window, but one to keep an eye on in Road to Glory saves. Despite a starting overall in the 60s with a few decent stats, Noah Mbamba has the highest potential gap of any young defender in the game, with a starting potential of 88 despite his cheap fee.

Highest overall defenders in FIFA 22

These defensive stalwarts with improve the quality of any back line on the planet. While a few of them may be past their very best, their talent is indisputable.

Highest Overall FIFA 22 Defenders - Centre-backs, Left-backs, Right-backs
Player Name Age Team Overall Potential
Virgil van Dijk 29 Liverpool 89 89
Sergio Ramos 35 PSG 88 88
Ruben Dias 24 Man City 87 91
Trent Alexander-Arnold 22 Liverpool 87 92
Andrew Robertson 27 Liverpool 87 88
Marquinhos 27 PSG 87 90
Milan Skriniar 26 Inter 86 88
Aymeric Laporte 27 Man City 86 89
Joao Cancelo 27 Man City 86 87
Raphael Varane 28 Man Utd 86 88
Kalidou Koulibaly 30 Napoli 86 86
Jordi Alba 32 Barcelona 86 86
Mats Hummels 32 Dortmund 86 86
Giorgio Chiellini 36 Juventus 86 86
Matthijs de Ligt 21 Juventus 85 90
Achraf Hakimi 22 PSG 85 88
Dani Carvajal 29 Real Madrid 85 85
Stefan de Vrij 29 Inter 85 85
Kyle Walker 31 Man City 85 85
Leonardo Bonucci 34 Juventus 85 85
Thiago Silva 36 Chelsea 85 85
Theo Hernandez 23 Milan 84 90
Marcos Acuna 29 Sevilla 84 84
Jose Maria Gimenez 26 Atletico Madrid 84 88
Ricardo Pereira 27 Leicester 84 84

Highest potential defenders in FIFA 22

With some of the most recognisable defenders entering their peak years or the twilight of their career, the next generation is getting ready to take the world by storm.

Highest potential Defenders in FIFA 22
Player Name Age Team Overall Potential
Trent Alexander-Arnold 22 Liverpool 87 92
Ruben Dias 24 Man City 87 91
Matthijs de Ligt 21 Juventus 85 90
Theo Hernandez 23 Milan 84 90
Dayot Upamecano 22 Bayern 82 90
Marquinhos 27 PSG 87 90
Jules Kounde 22 Sevilla 83 89
Pau Torres 24 Villarreal 82 89
Eder Militao 23 Real Madrid 82 89
Alessandro Bastoni 22 Inter 80 89
Alphonso Davies 20 Bayern 82 89
Nuno Mendes 19 PSG 78 88
Edmond Tapsoba 22 Leverkusen 81 88
Achraf Hakimi 22 PSG 85 88
Milan Skriniar 26 Inter 86 88
Joe Gomez 24 Liverpool 82 88
Jose Maria Gimenez 26 Atletico Madrid 84 88
Josko Gvardiol 19 RB Leipzig 75 87
Marc Cucurella 22 Brighton 81 87
Cristian Romero 23 Spurs 82 87
Aaron Wan-Bissaka 23 Man Utd 83 87
Niklas Sule 25 Bayern 82 87
Goncalo Inacio 19 Sporting 76 86
Ronald Araujo 22 Barcelona 77 86
Jurrien Timber 20 Ajax 75 86

Best FIFA 22 centre-backs to sign in the first season

  • Lucas Veríssimo - Benfica - £23m Value - 26 - 26 years old and threatening to be the next big defender to breakout from Liga NOS, Lucas Verissimo is an option you might not have heard of with great physical stats - including 80+ pace. What’s more, his major defensive stats are all around 80 as well, so with 84 potential to grow into, a defending focussed training program can quickly turn him into a total beast.
  • Lucas Klostermann - RB Leipzig - £26.5m Value - 25 - Despite the high-profile departures of Upamecano and Konate, there’s plenty of defending talent left in Leipzig ripe for the plunder. Capable of playing at centre-back or on the right of a back 4 or 5, Lukas Klostermann has great pace and defending stats as well as enough stamina to play 90 minutes week in and week out. He also has better than average short passing for stepping into midfield, while you can further improve with his +4 potential growth.
  • Maxence Lacroix - Wolfsburg - £33m Value - 21 - Already destined to be the bane of FUT players the world over, for teams with the budget to afford him Maxence Lacroix looks like an incredibly overpowered centre-back. With a whopping 93 sprint speed, 83 strength, and standing at 6ft 3, only the quickest or most towering forwards are going to get anywhere near the ball against Lacroix. While his raw tackling stats aren’t the best, this can easily be fixed with a defensive training regime and his +7 potential growth.
  • Jeremiah St. Juste - Mainz - £9.5m Value - 24 - Lacroix without the pricetag, Jeremiah St. Juste is incredibly fast with decent strength, defending, and height to back it up. At 76 overall and a lower value and release clause, St. Juste is more attainable for clubs with more modest budgets, but still has +4 potential growth to build up his tackling and strength with training.
  • Becir Omeragic - Zurich - £2.5m Value - 19 - If you’re working with a lower budget or want a younger understudy to an already established pairing, Becir Omeragic has decent physicals and passable defending stats for his 67 overall. Put the training in to make use of his 83 potential for a cheap price.
  • Leonidas Stergiou - FC St. Gallen - £2.5m Value - 19 - Another cheap option with a lot of room to grow is Leonidas Stergiou from the Swiss league. His stats aren't the best to begin with, but he'll grow quickly with 86 starting potential.

Best FIFA 22 left-backs and right-backs to sign in the first season

  • Liberato Cacace - LB - Sint-Truidense VV - £4.9m Value - 20 - New Zealander Liberato Cacace has awesome physical stats, including around 80 for pace, jumping, stamina, and most impressively strength. With a relatively cheap price tag and 83 potential to grow into to improve his defensive stats, Cacace is a great addition to any squad either as a starter with potential or on the bench.
  • Pervis Estupinan - LB - Villarreal - £26m Value - 23 - With Unai Emery preferring Pedraza at left-back, Pervis Estupinan is a reasonably realistic, if expensive, option for top teams thanks to his high pace, stamina, strength, and defensive stats. While he’s pretty good from the start of career mode, 85 potential means he’ll get even better quickly.
  • Fabien Centonze - RB - FC Metz - £13m - 25 - Highly rated in France for the last couple of seasons, Centonze teams good physicals with decent technical ability and sky-high stamina to get up and down the pitch in a wing-back role.
  • Felix Agu - RB/LB - Werder Bremen - £3.8m - 21 - For what you pay, Felix Agu looks like a fantastic pickup for pretty much any team. With 83 potential and both LB and RB in his listed positions, Agu has good dribbling, but awesome movement and power stats. His strength and defending definitely leave a lot to be desired, but at just 21, he has time to bolster his rating with intensive training.
  • Devyne Rensch - RB - Ajax - £7m Value - 18 - With a 5 star weak foot and 85 potential, Devyne Rensch is a solid all-rounder already at a young age, and can be had for a reasonable fee.
  • Josha Vagnoman - RB/LB - Hamburger SV - £3.9m Value - 20 - Taller than your average full-back, but with pace to burn and 87 strength, Josha Vagnoman is another player that can slot in at both LB and RB, while improving his passable defending stats with 82 potential.

To complete your defensive line, here are the best goalkeepers in FIFA 22.

Then you need to turn your attention to further up the pitch with the best Strikers and Wingers in FIFA 22. Or if it's the middle of the park that needs work, here are the best CAMs, CDMs and central midfielders in FIFA 22.

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About the Author
James Billcliffe avatar

James Billcliffe

Guides Editor

With 7 years' experience, James (he/him) suffers so you don't have to, creating expert guides for the toughest games and reviews for the biggest blockbuster releases. He has a Master's degree in Journalism and a BA in Linguistics that he never got a chance to flex until Wordle came along.