Full-backs are increasingly influential in the final third with the very best crucial to their team’s chance creation.
We’ve decided to look at the full-backs who have been the most productive in Europe’s top five leagues this season, ranking the five players with the most goal involvements in 2023/24 to date.
Achraf Hakimi – Paris Saint-Germain (7)
Achraf Hakimi might just be the best right-back in world football right now, with the Paris Saint-Germain player certainly among the most influential. The Moroccan marauds forward with intent on a regular basis for the Parisians and has provided seven goal involvements (3G and 4A) so far this season.
Despite a recent absence to compete at the Africa Cup of Nations, he remains third in Ligue 1 this season for goal-creating actions and goal-creating actions per 90 minutes, while he sits sixth for assists per 90 minutes.
Full of pace and technical quality, he is perhaps the template for the modern full-back.
Federico Dimarco – Inter Milan (8)
Federico Dimarco has taken an unusual route to the top but a breakout season at Inter last term has cemented his place as an integral figure at the San Siro. After being sold to Swiss side Sion earlier in his career, he returned to Inter a year later as the Italians exercised a buy-back, before developing during loans at Parma and Hellas Verona.
Now 26, the left-back is one of the most productive defenders in European football and has followed a brilliant campaign last season with a better one in 2023/24. He has eight goal involvements for the campaign to date, which included a stunning goal from 56.08m out against Frosinone in November.
🚨 Goal of the Year candidate
— Lega Serie A (@SerieA_EN) November 13, 2023
Across the last 12 months, no full-back in Europe’s top five leagues can better Dimarco for shots and expected assists per 90 minutes, while he ranks in the 99th percentile of his positional peers for assists and shot-creating actions per game across the same period.
Kieran Trippier – Newcastle (10)
Kieran Trippier is in the midst of his most productive season in the Premier League, having reached 10 goal involvements.
Trippier recorded his first goal and ninth assist of the Premier League campaign against Luton last weekend, with the latter the second-highest total in the division.
The 33-year-old could become the first Newcastle player since Laurent Robert in 2001/02 to reach 10+ assists in a Premier League season, while Trent Alexander-Arnold’s record for a defender in a single campaign (13) is also under threat.
Kieran Trippier’s 9 Premier League assists this season is the best return of his career.
Impressive. 👏 pic.twitter.com/afd6EB7xsD
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 3, 2024
Jeremie Frimpong – Bayer Leverkusen (11)
Jeremie Frimpong is one half of a full-back pairing that has taken the Bundesliga by storm this season.
The Dutchman was named in the Bundesliga’s Team of the Season after recording 15 goal involvements last season and has produced another effective campaign from wing-back, with five goals and six assists for Bayer Leverkusen.
Frimpong’s forward forays are a feature of Xabi Alonso’s impressive side, who are unbeaten in 30 games in all competitions this season and chasing a maiden Bundesliga title. Leverkusen will face a fight to keep the former Celtic full-back in the summer when a reported release clause of £34m will become active. Given his impact in Germany, there will be a queue of clubs willing to meet that fee.
Alejandro Grimaldo – Bayer Leverkusen (16)
Europe’s top clubs certainly missed a trick in the summer.
Alejandro Grimaldo signed for Bayer Leverkusen on a free transfer from Benfica and has been a revelation since his arrival at the BayArena. Grimaldo’s talent was evident during a successful spell in Lisbon, but he has taken his game to a new level in the Bundesliga.
The Spanish left-back has seven goals and nine assists for the German table-toppers and leads a number of attacking metrics across Europe this season. No full-back has averaged more assists or non-penalty goals per 90 minutes, while Grimaldo is in the highest five per cent of full-backs for shots, expected assists, shot-creating actions, attacking penalty area touches and progressive passes received per 90 this season.
Grimaldo’s first @bayer04fussball goal isn’t one to forget 😳💥
— 433 (@433) September 19, 2023
Whether flying forward on the overlap or inverting into midfield to help Leverkusen assert control, Grimaldo has been one of the stars of their potentially historic season. A long-awaited, and deserved, Spain debut arrived for the 28-year-old in November.