Manchester United are thought to have got a step closer in their pursuit of Leicester City’s Harry Maguire this summer, as The Sun are reporting that an £80million transfer fee has been agreed.
The centre-back is expected to head to Manchester imminently to have his medical and could become the club’s third signing of the transfer window after Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James.
It is claimed Leicester would be paid £60m upfront before potentially earning an additional £20m in bonuses and add-ons.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be desperate to improve on last season’s rather poor sixth-placed Premier League finish and keen to rebuild his defence as they conceded 54 goals last season in the top-flight and ultimately missed out on a place in the Champions League.
Their backline has come in for scathing criticism on numerous occasions throughout last year’s campaign, with Gary Neville suggesting Manchester United needed a “new defence in its entirety” following the defeat to Barcelona, whilst Roy Keane, who is hardly one to mince his words, slammed the current back-four and stated his former club needed a complete overhaul after their loss to arch-rivals Manchester City.
Wan-Bissaka’s arrival is obviously a start, but it is evidently clear that a player of Maguire’s stature is required in the backline to help them improve further. As documented by Sky Sports back in January, Victor Lindelof improved significantly as time went by and began to look like the central defender the club have desperately needed.
According to his stats by WhoScored, the Sweden international was ranked as their best centre-back option last season as he made an average of 1.3 tackles and 0.8 interceptions in the 30 Premier League matches he featured in. Add Maguire’s 1 tackle and 1.2 interceptions per 90 mins to the mix and United’s defence could become a lot tighter.
Chris Smalling and Eric Bailly (both registering 1.3 tackles and 1.1 interceptions) and Phil Jones (1.1 and 1.3) may have had better figures in those aspects of the game; however, they had played fewer matches than the Leicester ace did last season.
Maguire made 31 appearances in comparison to Jones’ 18 games and Smalling’s 24.
Strengthening the defence is a priority for Manchester United this summer, despite Jose Mourinho pointing out the issue the previous year, and Maguire certainly appears to be the player to help them achieve that aim – a player the former Red Devils boss wanted 12 months ago.
With the way modern transfer fees are these days, it should hardly come as a surprise to see Leicester demanding £80m for their 26-year-old. It would break the record for the amount spent on a centre-back – £5m more than the amount spent by Liverpool on acquiring Virgil van Dijk from Southampton in 2018 (BBC). But given the season they just had, they surely need reinforcements if a return to the Champions League is to be on the cards.
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