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Why Manchester United need to sign Harry Maguire

Tuesday 17th July 2018

Harry Maguire has laid it bare for all to see. He’s a cool, composed, imposing and quick-thinking centre-half. The Englishman has also shown he can play at the big stage with those nerves of steel. Comfortably, Maguire can slot into any Premier League top-six side and hold his own. The question is, which? I say Manchester United.

You can bet on it, Manchester United will be serious contenders for every title they can lay their hands on in the coming season. This isn’t just because they finished last season empty-handed but because they’re Manchester United. However, if Jose Mourinho can lead United to any silverware this term, he knows he must bolster his defence. This is true because the Red Devils still don’t have a rearguard that can match Manchester City’s. It wasn’t by a stroke of luck that City conceded a miserly 27 goals through last season; which helped them win the league by a mammoth goal-difference of 79.

Manchester United already boasts some pretty good centre-halves – Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof, Daley Blind, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly. Mourinho worked his magic and United managed 18 clean sheets while conceding just one goal more than City. Still, Manchester United can do better.

Even with the six defenders mentioned earlier, United do not have a brutish and competent centre-back partnership between a pair they can absolutely rely on. The days when Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic kept strikers muted isn’t lost on us.

Daley Blind isn’t an ideal centre-half for Mourinho. Lindelof is adapting too slowly to life in the Premier League. Jones and Smalling are good defenders on their day but their penchant for making schoolboy errors leaves a lot to be desired. That leaves Rojo and Bailly as the reliable duo; barring injury that is. With over 50 games expected to be played during the campaign, Manchester United need more depth in defence. Enter Maguire.

Last season Maguire was rightfully voted Player of the Year at Leicester City. The defender was breathtaking for the Foxes in a bitter-sweet campaign wherein they finished mid-table. Regardless, the 25-year-old had done enough to earn a place in England's World Cup squad.

At the World Cup, Harry Maguire was simply outstanding. His partnership with John Stones was a joy to watch. Deservedly, they helped England reach the semi-final. Individually, Maguire was a defensive mountain for the Three Lions. His aerial prowess was highlighted by the 6.2 aerial duels he won per match, add that to his headed goal that set England on their way against Sweden in the quarter-final.

I listed six Manchester United central defenders earlier; of the lot, only Chris Smalling (4) scored more goals than Maguire (2) last season. Maguire isn’t just a good defender, he offers a lot when he ventures forward – his incisive passing gives him the ability to also create chances for others. That goal threat is what United need.

Leicester City has decided to extend Maguire’s contract while improving his salary from £45,000-per-week to £75,000-per-week. If he isn’t doing so well, they’d be in no rush to do that. Maguire is attracting suitors like nectar to bees. We can’t rule out Liverpool or Chelsea making a move for him.

Still, United remains favourites to get him. If the Red Devils are really interested, a contract upgrade would be too feeble to wade them off. With £50million, the Old Trafford outfit should be able to twist Leicester’s arm – they’re already a selling club as it is.

Even if United eventually get Maguire for more than £50million, it’ll still be worth it – that’s the man they need in defence. At just 25, Maguire can go on to become a Manchester United and England great. The signs are evident.

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Kingsley Ukpai

Kingsley is a football aficionado who craves to read, watch, play and write about the greatest team sport ever known to man. If you're talking football he'll be keen to listen to what you have to say. Loves to play Fantasy Football too.

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