The best full-backs on the transfer market this summer

  • Some big-name full-backs could be on the move during the 2024 summer transfer window
  • Alphonso Davies widely linked with Real Madrid; Theo Hernandez could replace him at Bayern
  • Forgotten Arsenal and Tottenham defenders could be shrewd signings
Could Davies and Hernandez be on the move this summer?
Could Davies and Hernandez be on the move this summer? / Stefan Matzke - sampics / Contributor / Paul Kane / Stringer

Full-backs are increasingly recognised for their contributions to successful teams in Europe and throughout the world in the 2020s.

Premier League title-winning managers like Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp have redefined what is expected of the modern wide defender. You need only look at the contributions of the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson and Kyle Walker to see how top sides now rely on unlikely sources of creativity and goal-threat for success in England's top flight.

Full-backs are now seen as marquee signings in the transfer market, with the right player capable of locking down one side of defence and providing width and quality delivery from the flank. But which stars could be on the move this summer, both in the Premier League and further afield?

Here are the best full-backs on the transfer market this summer, both of the left and right persuasion.

10. Sergio Reguilon

Sergio Reguilón
Reguilon hasn't played for Spurs since 2022 / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Signed in 2020 after winning the Europa League with Sevilla, Sergio Reguilon has never quite managed to settle at Tottenham Hotspur.

The Spanish left-back has played under four managers during his time at north London but is yet to make it five, having been sent out on loan to both Manchester United and Brentford by Ange Postecoglou during the 2023/24 season. Injuries here and there have also prevented him nailing down a spot at Spurs, with Destiny Udogie now in possession of his favoured position.

A lively though sometimes erratic figure on the left, Reguilon's appetite and desire would be of benefit for most top-half sides around Europe.

9. Kieran Tierney

Kieran Tierney
Tierney spent the past season on loan at Real Sociedad / Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/GettyImages

Once thought of as a game-changing signing for Arsenal, Kieran Tierney has faded into obscurity having previously emerged as one of the modern game's top full-backs at Celtic.

The Scotland international spent the past season on loan with Real Sociedad and, while he may not have the technical acumen to thrive under Mikel Arteta, can still offer drive and defensive diligence from left-back.

Tierney may well end up being a snip of a signing for a mid-table Premier League side and would surely be worth a punt for any team on the lookout for a new left-back.

8. Leonardo Spinazzola

Leonardo Spinazzola
Spinazzola starred at Euro 2020 / Claudio Villa/GettyImages

Leonardo Spinazzola isn't as dynamic a full-back as he was during Euro 2020, having suffered a significant injury during the tournament as Italy claimed the silverware.

That fitness record might be enough to deter some potential suitors this summer, but his contract with Roma expires this year and his versatility and quality in the attacking third are certainly distinguishable qualities that mark him out from other options on the market.

The 31-year-old has spent his whole playing career in Italy and a move abroad may not materialise. In fact, it's a saga that has Inter's name written all over it, but fans will have to wait and see.

7. Rayan Ait-Nouri

Rayan Ait-Nouri
Ait-Nouri is a regular for Wolves / Nathan Stirk/GettyImages

Rayan Ait-Nouri has been a dependable member of Wolves' backline for a good four seasons now, making a loan move from Angers permanent.

The Algeria international is catching the eye more these days with his forays forward from a wing-back role and was reported to be interesting Chelsea towards the end of 2023.

Ait-Nouri has also been scouted by Liverpool, Man City, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain in the past few years and a summer move could be on the cards if the Wanderers receive a hefty proposal.

6. Lutsharel Geertruida

Lutsharel Geertruida
Geertruida is in the Netherlands' Euro 2024 squad / BSR Agency/GettyImages

There's plenty of buzz around Lutsharel Geertruida, who is already attracting rumoured transfer interest from Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham.

The Feyenoord star is a versatile defender and could be signed on the cheap given his current contract expires next year.

New Reds boss Arne Slot has been linked with several players from his former club and Geertruida's arrival would add depth to his defensive options, especially if he is keen to push Alexander-Arnold further forward like Klopp was.

5. Jeremie Frimpong

Jeremie Frimpong
Frimpong was one of Bayer Leverkusen's stars in their Bundesliga title win / Stuart Franklin/GettyImages

Playing a prominent role for a flying double-winning Bayer Leverkusen side, Jeremie Frimpong is now a right-back admired by giants all around Europe.

The 23-year-old rattled in nine goals and seven assists in the Bundesliga, playing in an advanced role on the right, and that devastating efficiency has seen speculation over his future increase.

He spent time in Man City's academy as a youngster and a return shouldn't be ruled out, while he's also the type of player who would thrive for Real Madrid's new age Galacticos.

4. Joao Cancelo

Joao Cancelo
Cancelo is keen to return to Barca / Alex Caparros/GettyImages

Joao Cancelo was once incredibly important in every wondrous Manchester City performance with his exquisite delivery from wide and eye for a spectacular strike.

A somewhat moody exit from the Etihad Stadium saw the Portugal international join Bayern Munich on loan before making another temporary switch to Barcelona for 2023/24.

The cash-strapped Catalans will rely once again on the loan market to sign Cancelo for next term but City boss Guardiola has offered optimism that the switch will go through this summer.

3. Ian Maatsen

Ian Maatsen
Maatsen was a Champions League runner-up / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Chelsea's current recruitment means several young stars sign and are then close to being surplus to requirements. That was the case this past season for Ian Maatsen, who moved to Borussia Dortmund on loan having not gotten much of a sniff under Mauricio Pochettino.

A damning mistake in the Champions League final aside, the Netherlands international was a net positive at Signal Iduna Park and could relocate there permanently if Dortmund can reach an agreement with his parent club.

New Blues boss Enzo Maresca might want a decent look at him but expect Maatsen's future to be a topic of discussion all summer.

2. Theo Hernandez

Theo Hernandez
Hernandez is a major goal threat from left-back / Image Photo Agency/GettyImages

If one of Europe's elite sides end up departing with a top left-back, Milan star Theo Hernandez could quickly be targeted to fill that void.

The Italy international is one of the more adventurous and attacking wide defenders around today and would surely thrive in the Premier League should any team come calling in the future.

He's a reported target for Bayern and has even been linked with a return to former side Real Madrid.

1. Alphonso Davies

Alphonso Davies
Davies is expected to sign for Real Madrid / BSR Agency/GettyImages

Real Madrid are building a monstrous team and the latest piece of the jigsaw looks to be coming at left-back, with Bayern and Canada star Alphonso Davies lined up as their latest marquee signing.

The 23-year-old became renowned worldwide for his role in Bayern's victorious 2019/20 Champions League campaign, providing great width out wide and a killer final ball.

Whether it happens this summer or next year is still up in the air, but it looks like the speedster will be flying up and down the wing at the Bernabeu sooner rather than later.