Over the last few campaigns, several top clubs have dipped into the transfer window to sign left-footed centre-backs to bolster their defences. Many managers have preferred to field a left-footed defender alongside a right-footed one in the heart of defence for a number of reasons.
One of the most interesting aspects of a left-right combination in central defence is that it opens up more passing angles during the first phase, allowing players to find their teammates with better precision while pushing higher up the pitch.
Pep Guardiola has been known to deploy this combination in central defence, and explained why left-footed defender Aymeric Laporte plays an important role in his Manchester City side. He explained;
"There are many actions to build up — to make our play quicker, better — but we can’t do them. Not because the other players are not good but because [Aymeric] Laporte is the only left-footed central defender."
While there aren't too many left-footed centre-backs available in the market, there are some currently plying their trade at the highest level of European football. On that note, here are the five best left-footed centre-backs in the world.
#5 Aymeric Laporte | Manchester City
Manchester City and Pep Guardiola dropped a massive €65m to sign Aymeric Laporte in the 2017/18 season's winter window to fulfill Pep Guardiola's request for a left-footed central defender. In subsequent campaigns, he's managed to drastically improve a struggling defence, proving why he was brought in for such a big fee.
Although he's been sidelined due to injuries and has played second fiddle to John Stones this season, Laporte's ability on the ball has been a massive addition to Manchester City. He's a rock in defence who is comfortable bringing the ball out from the back and spraying it around the pitch with ease.
It remains to be seen if he will continue to play a second-choice role at the Etihad, but Laporte remains one of the most gifted left-footed defenders in Europe.
#4 Pau Torres | Villarreal
Pau Torres is one of the most in-demand centre-backs heading into the transfer season this summer. The 24-year-old Villarreal man, a full Spanish international, has had an excellent couple of campaigns at the Estadio de la Ceramica and has improved even further under Unai Emery.
Torres has emerged as one of the best ball-playing defenders in LaLiga Santander. This season, he's averaged over 60 passes per game for the Yellow Submarine, completed 25 of his 29 dribbles, and ranks third for progressive carrying distance with the ball, only behind Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Frenkie de Jong.
His ability on the ball, coupled with his monstrous physique (he's 6'3") make Torres one of the most sought-after players in the transfer market, with the likes of Manchester United, Real Madrid, and other clubs queueing up to sign him.