You can score all the goals you want, but without a good defence, you won't win anything in Football Manager 2023.
Regardless of the sort of money you've got to play with, there are plenty of smart signings out there which could make the difference for your side.
Here are the best centre-backs to sign in FM23.
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If money is tight, turn to Musacchio. The 31-year-old is still a good option and won't cost you a penny.
Romo was a real gem last year. He's more expensive this time around at £3.6m but that's about right for a player of his ability.
Montes is perhaps the superior option in Monterrey's defence but you'll have to stretch the budget up to £5m to bring him in.
At £60,000, you won't find better value for money than Escobar.
Marcano is 35 and clearly not one for the future, but if you need some immediate help, his £700,000 price tag is pretty reasonable.
The next gem in the Mexican league, Foria is an excellent pick-up at just £1.4m. The former Marseille man is one of the top players at this price tag and should be your go-to option without much thought.
The only superior player to Doria at this price point in terms of current ability is Ruiz. He's top-tier material and available for £3.75m, but at 33, time is not on his side.
D'Ambrosio is on the transfer list at Inter and can be signed for a cool £1.2m. For someone with his versatility, that's a no-brainer.
£150,000 will get you Sigali. The 35-year-old is a monster with 16 heading and marking, but make sure you're looking for a replacement soon enough.
Comfortable at centre-back or midfield, 23-year-old Jaeckel is a smart buy at £2.4m. You've got a long-term squad option with a little room left to grow.
A star at centre-back and a real force on both sides of defence, Nacho is a smart buy at £11.25m. Move quick before he signs a new contract.
He's just signed so you can't sign Romagnoli just yet, but his £14.5m price tag is excellent value for a player of his quality.
If you're happy working with a smaller centre-back, Dakonam at £8.5m is a steal.
Sure, he's 39, but Pepe can give you a year or two of elite centre-back service, and at £3.6m, you can't really complain.
Hummels is yours for a cool £18.5m. Just make sure you take a look at his 8 pace before you consider whether or not to sign him.
Otamendi is one of the best centre-backs on the game but the combination of his age (34) and expiring contract leaves him available at £3.5m. You'll need to offer him a sizeable salary but the overall price of the deal is a major bargain.
£7.5m will get you Djimsiti, and while we're on the subject of Atalanta, Jose Luis Palomino would be another top buy at £6.25m but he's serving a one-year suspension which has actually been rescinded and will be removed in the next update. One to watch.
Atleti are looking to trim their wage budget and will hand you Felipe for as little as £9m. For a player of his quality, you can't argue.
Evans might be getting on in years but his asking price of £4m is a great deal, particularly if you're an English side looking for a homegrown player.
Rounding out this section is Palmeiras man Gomez, who is a nice signing for around £13.75m.
With his contract winding down, Inter will offload Skriniar for £44m. He's the ninth-best defender on the entire game and the top option that won't decimate your bank account.
Kim comes with a £39m release clause but you can't sign him immediately as he's just moved to Naples. Give it a few months and then you'll want to lodge a bid.
Smalling actually boasts some elite stats in FM23 and his price tag of £37m seems more than reasonable.
A bargain from last year, Felipe's £19m price tag isn't a steal anymore but it's still very affordable. He's still got a little room left to grow as well.
The towering Rrahmani, who brings 16 heading and 15 tackling, looks like a smart buy for £23m.
Stefan de Vrij
De Vrij is on an expiring contract when you start the game, so you better move quick. He's yours for just £14m, which is outrageous value for a player of this quality.
Inter teammate Bastoni is the superior defender and boasts the potential to become an all-time great, but you'll have to stretch up to £51m to get him over the line.
For £17.5m, you can bring in Verissimo, but you'll probably have to wait a few months for him to pass a medical as he's coming back from a cruciate ligament injury.
Another player worth waiting for, Sule has just joined Dortmund but if he's anywhere close to £37m when he eventually does become available, don't hesitate.
If you want to recruit the legendary Ramos before he eventually hangs up his boots, it'll cost you £19m. A great price if you can look past the fact he's 36.
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