Let’s get one thing straight. Harry Maguire is a solid defender.
He is also a player for whom Manchester United have just paid £85million.
Having amassed 20 England caps and seen his value rocket since his exploits at Russia 2018, the centre-back will in the coming days be unveiled as the most expensive defender in football history.
Juventus spent £67.5million on the graceful, artfully composed Matthijs de Ligt.
Liverpool set the precedent with the £75m acquisition of Virgil van Dijk, a Dutch powerhouse whom it is virtually impossible to dribble past. Now United have ‘Slabhead’.
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‘Value’ is, of course, relative. Maguire was hugely important to Leicester and Brendan Rodgers now has a big void to fill, albeit the Foxes’ transfer coffers have suddenly just swelled significantly.
And while five years ago, this was a defender who cost just £2.5m when he joined Hull, it’s well documented that the market has vastly inflated.
We entered ‘silly season’ a long time ago. Just take a look at the top 10 transfers in history and seven of them were completed in the last three years.
Neymar’s €222million move to Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona remains the most expensive of all time.
The full standings are below – but note how Cristiano Ronaldo now only features once.
The forward’s Juventus transfer still makes the list, yet his 2009 move from United to Real Madrid has now been overtaken by none other than Maguire.
Neymar (Barcelona to PSG)
Kylian Mbappe (Monaco to PSG)
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool to Barcelona)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid to Juventus)
Ousmane Dembele (Borussia Dortmund to Barcelona)
Paul Pogba (Juventus to Manchester United)
Neymar (Santos to Barcelona)
Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur to Real Madrid)
Eden Hazard (Chelsea to Real Madrid)
Harry Maguire (Leicester City to Manchester United)
Sorry Cristiano – that then-world record switch to the Bernabeu which preceded four Champions League titles and four Ballon d’Ors will not be remembered in the history books.
There are bigger galacticos around than you.
With Maguire’s price tag comes a significant amount of pressure, not least because he will be expected to glue together an exceptionally fragile defence.
Once the details have been finalised, United will have seven centre-backs on their books and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is yet to find a partnership to his liking.
It seems likely that it will be Maguire and Victor Lindelof who start the season as first choice.
If the new boy is able to fix a notorious back line which has bewildered David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, and Solskjaer, then he’ll have been worth every penny.
Are United right to pay £85m for Maguire? Have your say in the comments.