Should Manchester United Be Targeting Harry Maguire?5 min read
With the transfer window now coming into full swing, Manchester United announced last week their newest signing in Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace for an initial £45 million.
It has been clear since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stepped foot in the building that he was looking to revert in some ways back to the era of Sir Alex Ferguson. One of those ways is clearly targeting young and hungry British players.
Daniel James, from Swansea, was the first player brought in – an electrifying left-sided winger that promises excitement when he receives the ball, but is not yet the finished article nor a player, currently, good enough to take United to Champions League glory.
However, the premise behind recruiting from the British market has been evident: signing players that actually want to be at the club for the right reasons. For too many years in the post-Ferguson era have Manchester United been focussed on ‘big name’ signings that have continually failed.
Bastian Schweinsteiger, Angel di Maria, Radamel Falcao, Memphis Depay and Alexis Sanchez are just a few that spring to mind when dissecting the Red Devils’ transfer policy. Players who are, quite clearly, over the hill and looking to pick up one more pay day is not what the Red Devils need, and they have suffered for it.
And so reverting back to younger players with perhaps a point to prove could work in the Norwegian manager’s favour. Wan-Bissaka and James are two exciting prospects that have many more gears to churn through first in order to develop into the players they have the potential to become, but also good enough to make a difference in the intermittent years.
However, it is also important for the club not to be totally single-minded in approaching this summer. With talk of Manchester United offering £70 million for England and Leicester City’s Harry Maguire, fans have, quite rightly, been critical of a move for that amount of money.
The Red Devils evidently need a central defender to become the number one mainstay in the defence, but with that amount of money offered, it raises questions over whether Maguire has the quality and temperament to bring this United team forward.
There is no denying that Maguire is a grounded and reliable centre back, but with the Foxes asking for a world-record £90 million, it seems extortionate for a player with one Europa League game to his name and is also turning 27 this season.
At Leicester City, the Englishman plays in a stable side who have known their identity for several years, and so to come to United, who are still going through a turbulent period, could truly turn Maguire’s performances inside out and not be a roaring success as it would need to be for that price.
When looking abroad and in Europe, Benfica’s Ruben Dias has enjoyed a stellar season in Portugal last year and will also cost less than half of what Leicester are asking for.
Dias, who is four years younger than Maguire, might not be as mature in his game as the Englishman is, but he is more adventurous on the ball as well as having vital European experience in both the Europa and Champions League at a young age. He has been moulded into a leader and has taken responsibility in Benfica’s defence.
Going abroad has its own difficulties from time to time, and there are adaptability concerns when assessing those players, but Manchester United also have to be realistic about finances this summer considering the other positions they need to recruit in for.
While the Red Devils are cash rich, spending the required asking price for Maguire seems one step forward two steps back in their transfer policy this summer. They have signed two new and impressive British recruits, but it is crucial that they do not obsess and waste time trying to bring Leicester’s valuation down.