Manchester United skipper Harry Maguire could be given his marching orders by the Red Devils’ pending new head coach Erik ten Hag, if reports are to be believed. The current Ajax Amsterdam boss has won the race to replace Ralf Rangnick at the end of the season and revamping United’s backline is high on ten Hag’s priority list. According to George Gamble, who is one of the leading analysts at oddschecker, United have failed to keep a clean sheet away from Old Trafford in their last eight league games. That’s simply not good enough for a club with aspirations to return to the Premier League’s top table.
Ten Hag will know only too well the importance of getting off to a flying start at such a massive club. That’s why he is said to be willing to take some difficult decisions this summer to shake up the mentality and culture within the inner sanctum of Old Trafford. The Manchester Evening News understands that Harry Maguire could not only be stripped of the United captaincy, but he could also be sold on. Chelsea’s imposing German defender Antonio Rüdiger is said to be high on ten Hag’s list of credible replacements.
Maguire was snapped up from Leicester City in 2019 by former United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær. The £80m transfer made him the world’s most expensive defender and the England international has never lived up to the hype for a multitude of reasons. His off-field fracas on holiday in Mykonos, Greece has by no means helped, with a potential court summons likely to loom over his head for another year at least. All of which has, understandably, hampered his on-field focus.
More millions frittered away by poor recruitment
If Maguire was to be sold on this summer, it would represent another eye-watering waste of money from the United hierarchy. The £35m spent on Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek was equally poor value, with van de Beek currently on loan with Premier League strugglers Everton. Meanwhile the £49.5m paid to Crystal Palace for full back Aaron Wan-Bissaka is proving to be equally overpriced, due to his fluctuating form. This trio of signings were all made under the managership of Solskjær, but United’s disastrous recruitment stems much further back than 2019/20.
The £94.5m spent to bring Paul Pogba back to Old Trafford from Juventus in 2016/17 has proven to be a complete waste, with the Frenchman seemingly incapable or unwilling to reach the heights he achieves with France in a United jersey. Brazilian midfielder Fred was another £53m invested in 2018/19 from Ukrainian outfit Shakhtar Donetsk. Fred has largely flattered to deceive and has all to often demonstrated lapses in concentration that have contributed to the conceding of vital goals. Even Cristiano Ronaldo has been underwhelming on occasion during his second spell from Juventus.
One could argue that the only player that’s been an undisputed success since signing at United has been Portuguese playmaker Bruno Fernandes. The £56.7m signing from Sporting Lisbon has been a revelation and the 25-year-old’s market value is said to have skyrocketed to £81m according to Transfermarkt.
Where does Harry Maguire go from here?
If Maguire’s worst fears are confirmed and ten Hag does not see a future for him at Old Trafford, who is likely to be in for his signature this summer?
A return to Leicester City under Brendan Rodgers is always possible. The Foxes’ Turkish centre back Caglar Soyuncu could be sold this summer if he refuses to sign a new long-term deal at the King Power Stadium. His current contract expires in almost 12 months’ time. Furthermore, veteran defender Jonny Evans isn’t getting any younger at 34 and Maguire could be handy foil for the pacey and mobile Wesley Fofana.
West Ham is another possibility if Hammers boss David Moyes wishes to upgrade his backline. Both Kurt Zouma and Issa Diop have long term potential, while Angelo Ogbonna is still a consistent performer despite his advancing years. Maguire could be a credible option if he is made available, given that Ogbonna’s contract expires this summer.
Wherever his destination may be, it’s clear that Maguire’s time at Old Trafford has been an unmitigated failure. A change of scene and a spell outside the pressure cooker of Manchester United’s dressing room could do him the world of good.