One of the longest-running transfer sagas in English soccer has reached its end. The Daily Telegraph reported that Manchester United have finally completed the signing of England center-back Harry Maguire from Leicester City for £85 million — a world record fee for a defender.
The 26-year-old was top of the club’s transfer wishlist for months, but Leicester City remained stubborn in refusing to buck their hefty asking price for the player. However, the latest offer from the Red Devils was too good to turn down, and chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha signed off on the deal — which could rise to £90 million with add-ons — today.
The latest development in Maguire’s career journey continues the player’s fairy tale story to the top. Back in 2014, the defender joined Hull City from Sheffield United for £2.5 million. He struggled to break into the first team, however, and joined Wigan Athletic on loan in February 2015.
He eventually broke into Hull’s first team under Mike Phelan at the start of the club’s 2016-2017 season that ended with his team being relegated from the English Premier League.
The central defender then joined Leicester in 2017, where he quickly became a stalwart at the heart of the defense and earned a call-up for the FIFA World Cup England squad. He was a regular presence for his country at the international competition and scored his first goal in a quarterfinals victory over Sweden.
Maguire joins his new club as the most expensive defender in soccer history. His commanding fee narrowly surpasses the £75 million that Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil Van Dijk in 2018. Manchester United will be expecting him to deliver the goods as they enter the new season.
With the transfer deadline day rapidly approaching, Manchester United will be looking to resolve the futures of current players while simultaneously bolstering the squad with new acquisitions for the tough season ahead.
Paul Pogba and Roman Lukaku are currently wanted by Real Madrid and Inter Milan, respectively. The latter is valued at £90 million by the club, though it’s rumored that he’ll be offered to Juventus as part of a deal to lure Paulo Dybala to Old Trafford.
Earlier this summer, Manchester United brought in Crystal Palace right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka for £49.5 million and Swansea left-winger Daniel James for £15 million.
While both players boast plenty of promise, the club is looking to add a big signing that can help make them a competitive force in the league again.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer goes into this season with a lot of pressure to contend with. The very least that is expected of him is the qualification for the European Champions League, but the fans will be hoping that he can mount a title challenge as well.