Generally speaking, Dream Team Euros bosses should devote the majority of their budget to attacking threats.
That’s why the three most-expensive players in the game are Kylian Mbappe (£7.5m), Cristiano Ronaldo (£7.0m) and Harry Kane (£7.0m). Prolific goalscorers produce the most points – it’s as simple as that.
With this in mind, you don’t want to stack your defence with expensive assets. In fact, depending on the rest of your XI, you may only have enough budget for one big-name defender. Let’s analyse which of costly spoilers are actually worth their price…
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Raphael Varane (£5.5m)
A Rolls Royce of a centre-back for the tournament favourites? Seems like a relatively safe bet. The only marks against Varane’s name are his price – he’s the outright most-expensive defender in the game – and his fixture list.
The defending world champions make up one quarter of Euro 2020’s Group of Death, alongside Germany, Portugal and Hungary. Les Bleus should be able to progress to knockouts but their journey might not be totally smooth.
Ruben Dias (£5.0m)
Another Group of Death participant but one that starts his campaign against Hungary – most would pencil that in is as a Portugal clean sheet so the FWA Footballer of the Year looks a good option for the first week.
Clean sheets may be harder to come by against France and Germany but Dias is arguably Europe’s most in-form centre-back right now. He’s the most-popular defender in Dream Team Euros at the time of writing with an ownership of 37.7%.
Aymeric Laporte (£4.5m)
Stepping into Sergio Ramos’ blood-stained boots won’t be an easy task but the former Frenchman has the attributes to keep things tight at the back for Spain.
Laporte may even edge out Varane and Dias during the group stages as La Roja will feel confident of topping Group E above Sweden, Poland and Slovakia.
However, at this stage we’re only assuming the 27-year-old will be a guaranteed starter for his new country. He’ll probably make his international debut this Friday when Spain take on Portugal in a friendly.
Cheaper Spain defenders are available.
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Leonardo Bonucci (£4.0m)
Italy have kept seven clean sheets in a row and haven’t lost a game in any capacity since 2018.
At 34 years old, the Juventus centre-back may be slightly long in the tooth but he remains an excellent option for Dream Team Euros bosses with the Azzurri set to take on Turkey, Switzerland and Wales in Group A.
Toby Alderweireld (£4.0m)
Another very solid choice when consider his fixture list. The Belgian is a key figure in an ageing defence but has been blessed with arguably the most-favourable group of them all.
Roberto Martinez’s men will feel confident of at least a couple of clean sheets from match-ups against Russia, Finland and Denmark.
Harry Maguire (£4.0m)
Ankle ligament injuries are no joke and Gareth Southgate has admitted Man United’s skipper is ‘touch and go’ for England’s opener against Croatia.
Selecting Maguire seems like an unnecessary risk at this stage – there are safer options in his price bracket.
John Stones (£4.0m)
Maguire’s partner is guaranteed to start for the Three Lions and is therefore a relatively good option. He also scored two goals at the 2018 World Cup and was a constant threat from set-pieces.
However, you could opt for Kyle Walker (£3.5m) and save yourself a slither of budget to use elsewhere.
Lucas Hernandez (£4.0m) & Presnel Kimpembe (£4.0m)
We’ve lumped these two together because the same logic can be applied to both. They’re both good players who will almost certainly start for France and are considerably cheaper than Varane.
However, if that’s the thinking then why not go one step further and pick Benjamin Pavard (£3.5m) to save another £0.5m?
Joao Cancelo (£4.0m)
We finish with an echo of Ruben Dias – a Portuguese Man City defender who flourished during the 2020/21 campaign.
Whether Cancelo will be as influential for his country as he was at times for Pep Guardiola this season remains to be seen but his ability in possession is unquestioned.
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