When Manchester United paid £80 million for Harry Maguire last summer, they didn’t expect him to be a problem just one year later.
The Red Devils would have known that he wasn’t the best defender in the world, despite his transfer fee suggesting as much.
But due to their need at centre-back and Maguire’s fine performances for Leicester City and England, they suddenly found themselves parting ways with £80m for him.
As we said, Maguire will have been acutely aware that they weren’t getting a centre-back as good as Virgil van Dijk or Sergio Ramos.
But they were expecting much, much more than they’re currently getting.
Maguire has made countless mistakes during his brief time at Old Trafford and was awful in their 6-1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
The clip of him pulling down teammate Luke Shaw before Spurs’ opening goal pretty much summed things up right now.
Not many saw this coming.
But one person who had an inkling that it wouldn’t work out well for Maguire at Man United is Paul Merson.
Merson was openly negative in his thoughts on the deal, calling the £80m fee “ridiculous”.
“I worry for United. I don’t see any good business here,” Merson said on Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday show.
"Maguire for £80m is ridiculous at the highest level.
"You have to remember he ripped it up for England in a three. And when you play in a three at the back, you do that for one reason only - the defenders are not good enough and you do not trust them. He done well at England.
"But you have to remember when he plays for Leicester, they play, they drop back and defend on the edge of their box, there is no space behind. The ball comes in the middle, he heads it out, he comes out running with the ball.
"He kicks off now with Man Utd and you are on the halfway line and all of a sudden you are playing against Arsenal and you are on the halfway line and balls are going over the top for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and for Man City for Sergio Aguero and it is pace, pace, pace."
Merson later apologised for his comments and even tried to contact Maguire to explain himself.
And after Maguire’s man-of-the-match display in Man United’s opening day win over Chelsea last season, the former Arsenal and Portsmouth midfielder admitted that he may have been harsh on the ex-Leicester City man.
One year on, though, and it looks like Merse was spot on all along.
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