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Ranking the defenders with most goals and assists in Europes top 5 leagues

The modern-day defender is now almost equally as proficient at scoring or creating goals as he is at preventing them, with having a creative defensive asset a pivotal part of a successful side.

With ever more onus on the attacking full-back/wing-back, providing goal contributions is now an integral part of their game and an important marker of how to separate the best from the rest.

With that in mind, here’s a look at who the most productive defenders in Europe’s Top 5 leagues have been so far this season, in all competitions.

Jonathan Clauss – 5 Goal Contributions (1 Goal, 4 Assists)

An unfamiliar name to many, the RC Lens defender has enjoyed a fine start to the new season, having registered a goal and four assists thus far – with only Nantes’ Moses Simon and Strasbourg’s Ludovic Ajorque having registered more assists in Ligue 1.

The 29-year-old right-back is something of a late bloomer having spent much of his career in the lower divisions of French football, as well as enjoying a brief stint at German side Arminia Bielefeld, where he helped them secure promotion to the Bundesliga after winning the second division title in the 2019/20 campaign.

He departed the club at the end of that season, however, after two years in Germany, in order to make the move back to France, linking up with newly-promoted Lens who he helped to secure a remarkable seventh-placed finish last season.

That campaign saw Clauss score three goals and register six assists in all competitions as he was named in the Ligue 1 Team of the Year, with the full-back already looking set to better that tally this time around.

Achraf Hakimi – 5 Goal Contributions (3 Goals, 2 Assists)

Another full-back flourishing in French football, Paris Saint-Germain’s Achraf Hakimi has settled quickly in his new surroundings, having made the switch from Inter Milan for an initial fee of around €60 million over the summer.

The Morocco international had been integral to the Italian side’s Serie A triumph last season in what was his solitary campaign at the San Siro, with the versatile youngster thriving under Antonio Conte and netting seven league goals after having joined from Real Madrid in the summer of 2020.

Still only 22, Hakimi already boasts an impressive CV having previously spent two years on-loan at Borussia Dortmund, after enjoying a brief stint in the first-team at the Bernabeu during the 2017/18 season.

Now at the Parcs des Princes under Mauricio Pochettino, he has continued to shine among a star-studded crop of talent, despite returning to a more conventional full-back role after previously impressing as a wing-back for both Dortmund and Inter.

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Caio Henrique – 6 Goal Contributions (6 Assists)

The Brazilian defender is another full-back catching the eye in Ligue 1, with the Monaco man having already registered four league assists thus far, while also laying on two further assists in the Europa League for Niko Kovac’s side.

While it’s been a poor start domestically for Henrique and co, with the French side currently tenth in the table, they have fared better in the Europa League where they are currently top of a tough-looking group that includes La Liga high-flyers Real Sociedad and Dutch giants PSV – with the left-back notching two assists in the recent 2-1 win in Eindhoven.

The 24-year-old had originally risen through ranks at Atletico Madrid and enjoyed stints out on-loan in his native Brazil with the likes of Parana, Fluminese and Gremio, before departing for Monaco in 2020 after failing to make a first-team appearance under Diego Simeone.

While he is yet to score in 49 games for the club, he has caught the eye with his creative abilities – as well as his versatility in both defence and midfield – and is seemingly edging ever closer to a first senior international call-up.

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Jeremie Frimpong –  6 Goal Contributions (1 Goal, 5 Assists)

Jeremie Frimpong’s decision to trade Celtic Park for the Bay Arena has seemingly paid off, with the Dutch full-back thriving in Gerardo Seoane’s youthful Bayer Leverkusen side.

In a team littered with talent, namely teenage sensation Florian Wirtz and France international Moussa Diaby, Frimpong has more than held his own and has quickly developed into a key attacking outlet from right-back.

The 20-year-old had begun his career as part of the Manchester City youth set-up, before making the move north of the border in the summer of 2019 and going on to help the Hoops secure the treble in his debut campaign.

After leaving Scotland in January, the youngster has since returned to help inflict a 4-0 thrashing on his former side in the Europa League, while he also registered two assists in the opening group game against Ferencvaros to add his three Bundesliga assists.

His solitary goal of the campaign so far – and his first for his new side – came in the recent DFB-Pokal clash with Karlsruher, although it ultimately proved in vain as the second division side ran out shock 2-1 winners.

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Domenico Criscito – 6 Goal Contributions (5 Goals, 1 Assist)

The veteran defender has enjoyed a fine start to the season from left-back having already bagged five goals in all competitions, including four Serie A goals, while also registering an assist in the league 17th-placed Genoa.

The 34-year-old is now in his fourth spell with the Italian side, having rejoined in 2018 after a seven-year stint in Russia with Zenit St.Petersburg – who he joined following a four-year spell with his current side.

The Italy international – who has made 26 appearances for his country – has enjoyed a particularly impressive spell this time around, notably notching career-best figures of eight league goals and ten in all competitions during the 2019/20 campaign.

That tally was aided by his role as the regular penalty taker for his current club, with all five of his goals this season having also come from the penalty spot.

Reece James – 7 Goal Contributions (4 Goals, 3 Assists)

Top of the pile is Chelsea’s Reece James, with the young Englishman having added goals to his game so far this season, after netting just once in all competitions last term.

Thriving in a right wing-back role, the versatile defender has already netted four Premier League goals thus far, having scored in the wins over Arsenal and Norwich, as well as firing in a brilliant brace in the recent 3-0 victory over Newcastle United.

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Those two strikes showcased his exquisite ball-striking ability, as he netted almost replica efforts with both his left and right boot to help Thomas Tuchel’s side secure yet another victory, with the west London side currently three points clear at the top of the table as a result.

He’s added to those goals with a further three assists – including teeing up Romelu Lukaku for his first goal for the club against the Gunners – meaning he has now been involved in more goals than any other Chelsea player so far this season, while only Lukaku can match him for goals scored.

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