Manchester United said to be on the trail of Harry Maguire this summer

Manchester United are expected to make a £50 million offer for Leicester City and England defender Harry Maguire this summer, according to reports which surfaced from the Daily Mail on Thursday evening. It has been well reported this summer that United manager Jose Mourinho is keen to add a new defender to his squad this summer with Toby Alderweireld the man linked with the Old Trafford club for the majority of the summer.

Maguire signed for Leicester City last summer for £12 million (potentially rising to £17 million with add-ons) from Hull City, who were relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2016/17 season and last season playing in the Championship, where they will continue this coming season. He started his playing career at Sheffield United, his hometown club, playing there for four seasons before moving to Hull. During his first season at Hull, he was loaned to Wigan Athletic, leaving for Leicester a year ago.

In 2017, Maguire was called up to represent England, making three appearances for his country that year, making a further eight appearances in 2018, playing for his country in the FIFA World Cup in Russia, with England making the semi-finals but losing to Croatia but contesting the third-place play-off against Belgium on Saturday afternoon. Maguire scored his first goal for England during the World Cup, the opening goal in the 2-0 victory over Sweden in the quarter-finals of the tournament.

It is his performances for England this summer that has seemingly earmarked him as a potential replacement for either Chris Smalling or Phil Jones at the Old Trafford club. The 25-year-old  was selected by England manager Gareth Southgate because of his ‘mental toughness’, which has shown he could handle the pressures at a club the size of United. The main problem for United this summer is the closure of the transfer window ahead of the first Premier League match this summer, on Thursday 9 August with United facing Leicester at Old Trafford the following evening.

With England making the semi-finals of the World Cup and contesting the third-place play-off against Belgium on Saturday, Maguire and his teammates will be on holiday for the majority of the time remaining, putting pressure on United to sign a player to strengthen their defence this summer with Mourinho having reservations on the strength of his back line. This summer, United have signed Lee Grant from Stoke City, as the third-choice goalkeeper, Diogo Dalot, a right-back from FC Porto, and Fred, a central midfielder from Shakhtar Donetsk.

Former Leicester teammate Riyad Mahrez, who signed for Manchester City earlier this week, endorsed Maguire stating that he deserved to play at the highest level, seemingly before the reports of United’s interest in the 25-year-old. After his unveiling at City, Mahrez spoke to Sky Sports about Maguire, saying:

“I have always believed that ‘H’ (Harry Maguire) is a very good player, he has shown that since the day he came to Leicester and the season he had last year. It doesn’t surprise me to see how he has done at the World Cup. Of course, he deserves to play higher but Leicester are a good club as well, so it’s him who has to decide and we will see.”

It will remain to be seen as to whether these reports are something or nothing. United are still seeking to sign a number of players for certain positions at the club which are considered weaker than others. Mourinho said last season that he could sign three or four players this summer. Three have arrived but I am discounting the fact that Grant was planned, based on the fact Dean Henderson has left the club on loan and Sam Johnstone has left the club permanently, also that Joel Pereira could leave on loan at some point this summer, after the early pre-season matches.

Dalot’s signing could be discounted too as it seemed that there was no urgency to reinforce the right-back position this summer with Mourinho opting for a 19-year-old instead of a player with years of experience. I believe Fred is the only signing that United had planned this summer with one or two others seemingly in the pipeline. It has been suggested that United were nearing a deal for Alex Sandro, but in a week since those rumours, despite the player not being involved in the World Cup this summer, nothing has developed.

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copyright: JW

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