After months of negotiation, Manchester United finally bit the bullet and met Leicester City’s exorbitant asking price for England defender Harry Maguire. The £80 million fee agreed between the two clubs made Maguire the most expensive defender of all time, a title briefly held by Dutch defender Matthijs de Ligt after he moved to Juventus earlier this summer for just under £77 million.
After finishing 6th in what was a very disappointing season last year, Manchester United knew they needed to spend heavily to get the club back where it belongs. Since United were so desperate to bring in new players, they were forced to pay premiums on all their signings because they had no choice but to pay whatever the selling club demanded. This was seen with the signings of both Maguire and former Crystal Palace defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who, despite making United a much better team, were both grossly overpriced.
Maguire, for his part, couldn’t care less about the transfer and is just excited to get started at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“It’s incredible. It’s a really proud moment for me to join such a big club, I’m really looking forward to it and I can’t wait to get started. I’m really looking forward to going out and playing [at Old Trafford] and hopefully being a part of something successful”.
Maguire will have to endure the weight of expectations from fans and the media alike that come with such an astronomical fee, although he isn’t too bothered about the price tag and the pressure on him.
“I think there will be a few butterflies kicking about but I can generally cope with nerves pretty well, I’m a confident lad”.
Many rightfully criticized the figures involved in the move citing Maguire’s lack of experience at the top-level and the fact that he simply isn’t one of the premier defenders in the world. 18 months ago, Liverpool signed Virgil van Dijk from Southampton for what was then a world record fee of £75 million and many questioned that move for the same reasons they are questioning Maguire’s. Van Dijk did the impossible and made that £75 million fee look like a bargain after he stepped his game up dramatically, becoming the best center back in the world and leading Liverpool to a Champions League title.
Only time will tell if Maguire will have the kind of impact at United van Dijk had after joining Liverpool and validate the fee United paid for him. One thing that is not for debate however, is that Maguire undoubtedly improves United defensively and makes them a better team. Just how much better he makes them is how this transfer and the price involved will be judged in a few years’ time.