Manchester United fear they could take a £40MILLION hit on Harry Maguire if he leaves Old Trafford four years after his world-record £80million move from Leicester… with both parties convinced the out-of-favour defender must move on this summer
- Maguire has only made five Premier League starts under Erik ten Hag this season
- Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez and Luke Shaw are preferred at centre-back
- A summer move makes sense for both sides, but United fear it will bring a loss
Manchester United will be faced with taking a £40million hit on Harry Maguire if the England defender leaves Old Trafford this summer.
Maguire returned to the line-up for Sunday’s win over Leeds at Elland Road, but it was only his fifth Premier League start of the season.
That is simply not enough for a senior international who turns 30 in less than three weeks’ time, and there is a growing acceptance on both sides that Maguire will have to move at the end of the season.
United will be open to offers but fear they may have to accept half of the £80million it cost to sign Maguire from Leicester in the summer of 2019, which is still the world record for a defender.
The Yorkshireman’s £180,000-a-week contract runs until 2025, but it has become abundantly clear that Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez are Erik ten Hag’s first-choice pairing.
Man United will be faced with taking a £40m hit on Harry Maguire if he leaves this summer
The England defender has fallen out of favour under Erik ten Hag (R) at Old Trafford this season
The United manager’s decision to use Luke Shaw as a centre-back this season – as he did at Elland Road – has further limited the first-team opportunities for Maguire who also faces competition from Victor Lindelof.
The fact that Ten Hag kept Maguire as captain when he took over in the summer has only exacerbated an awkward situation which needs resolving.
Maguire was against asked about his lack of playing time after the 2-0 win over Leeds and admitted that it has been disappointing.
‘It’s not about me, it’s about the club being successful and I want to be a part of it,’ he said.
‘I’m the captain and I put the team miles before myself. Whether I’m playing or not, I want the team to do well.
‘I’m still getting my minutes. Everyone wants to start games, and it’s disappointing when you don’t. You have four international centre-backs at this club and there will always be two who are unhappy. I just have to be ready for when the chance comes.’
Varane and Martinez are expected to be back in tandem for Thursday’s Europa League play-off against Barcelona at the Nou Camp and the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle at the end of the month, with Maguire hoping to get another chance when his former club Leicester visit Old Trafford on Sunday.
Ten Hag has to juggle his squad through a busy schedule of fixtures and admitted that his selection against Leeds was ‘part rotation part tactics’.
Maguire sealed an £80m move in 2019, making him the world’s most expensive defender
But his start away at Leeds on Sunday was only his fifth of the season so far under Ten Hag
The fact Luke Shaw is often preferred to him at centre-back speaks volumes about his standing
He rested Varane and Martinez on the bench, and played Shaw alongside Maguire in the middle with Tyrell Malacia at left-back. That allowed Malacia to tuck in and offer an extra man in midfield when needed.
‘I wanted to play with the full-back inside and the best for that is Tyrell Malacia,’ said Ten Hag afterwards.
‘I think he did well in the first half. In possession, he was maybe one of the only players who played at a good level for the first 60 minutes. But because we made mistakes, finally I chose to change there and luckily the subs worked out very well.’ United looked more comfortable when Ten Hag sent on Martinez for Malacia to play alongside Maguire, allowing Shaw to revert to full-back.
It was Martinez’s burst into midfield and Shaw’s cross that set up the crucial first goal for Marcus Rashford before another substitute, Alejandro Garnacho, sealed the victory.
Maguire was ponderous on the ball at times, however. Twice he was closed down while taking too long to make a pass, and almost paid for it in the 34th minute when Jack Harrison stole the ball off him and threatened to go clear on goal. Fortunately, Maguire recovered in time to win it back.
In his defence, he remains a solid, conventional English centre-back, as he demonstrated again at the World Cup when he was able to play to his strengths.
Maguire was ponderous on the ball at times against Leeds and was almost punished on the day
Maguire is one of the first names on Gareth Southgate’s team sheet and still has all the qualities that persuaded United to outbid Manchester City for him three-and-a-half years ago.
The problem for him is that Ten Hag wants more mobile, progressive centre-backs and prefers them to play on the side of defence that favours their stronger foot.
Having established himself on the left since joining United, it appears as though Maguire now has to battle Varane and Lindelof for a slot on the right.
Speaking to Sportsmail last month, former United and England defender Rio Ferdinand explained Maguire’s predicament, saying he would be ‘absolutely gobsmacked’ if the player doesn’t look to leave Old Trafford in the summer.
‘Unfortunately for Harry Maguire, a new manager has come in and has a particular way of playing,’ added Ferdinand.
‘Ten Hag was asked the other day why he chose not to play Harry, and played Luke Shaw as a left-sided centre-back.
‘He said because he wanted some pace behind the left-back, who he wanted to push in high, and he wanted someone comfortable coming in on their left-foot for balance.
‘Those are two things Harry hasn’t got – a left foot and he hasn’t got pace.. So that tells you where he sees Harry in the pecking order. It’s quite self-explanatory.’
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