HomeFootball NewsHarry Maguire and his fall from grace at Manchester United 

Harry Maguire and his fall from grace at Manchester United 

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In August 2019 Manchester United paid a world record £80m fee for Leicester City defender Harry Maguire. In 2023 the 30-year-old is the still most expensive defender in history.

Even at the time of his transfer to United, many questioned if Maguire was ever worth his price tag. After only five months at the club, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made him captain after the departure of Ashley Young. Now three and half years later, the Sheffield-born defender has lost the captaincy and is on Erik Ten Hag’s list of players he will allow to leave the club this summer.

Maguire started his footballing journey at a professional club at the age of eight with Barnsley, before moving on to his hometown club – and the club he supports – Sheffield United, at the age of 11.

Having made it into the Sheffield United first team as a young man, his high-quality performances for the Blades won him a move to the top flight with Hull City. His first full Premier League season came in the 2016-17 campaign, and despite being relegated with Hull, it earnt Maguire a move to Leicester for a fee of £17m.

After two seasons with Leicester and a strong World Cup with England, United would come calling. With his huge move to the Red Devils, there was a lot of expectation on his shoulders.

His first Premier League season with his new club saw him play every single minute of the league campaign. In the following season, he was able to lead his side to a second-place finish, 12 points behind winners Manchester City.

During this time Maguire was still prone to committing errors but it was after the dismissal of manager Solskjaer that his situation at United took a real downward turn.

The sacking of the Norwegian came after a 4-1 loss to Watford in November 2021, a game which saw Maguire sent off. Ralf Rangnick then came in as United manager and Maguire was still somewhat trusted, but cracks kept appearing with individual errors. At times the partnership of Raphael Varane and Victor Lindelof would play ahead of him.

However, in the season just gone, the first under Ten Hag, Maguire had his game time limited massively. The signing of left-footed centre-back Lisandro Martinez from Ajax, now meant Maguire would have to outperform Varane for minutes.

The England international only managed to start eight games in the Premier League last season, with two of them being the first two games of the campaign against Brighton and Brentford.

With Maguire now out of favour, Ten Hag wants to sell him. But it has been revealed that the club values him at £50m, which with two years left on his current deal seems an unrealistic asking price.

Despite the Premier League experience he possesses, the 6’4” defender has always been on the slow side. Even with the trust and backing that he has had from England coach Gareth Southgate, the lack of minutes at club level will eventually take its toll. Plus, with the likes of Fikayo Tomori, Lewis Dunk and Levi Colwill coming through, Maguire’s England starting spot might also slip away.

If Maguire is to rebuild his career, the best decision seems to be for him to move on, especially after being demoted from the role of United captain.

Even selling him for £50m it would be a huge loss in terms of money for United, but it’s a sale that Ten Hag wants. Overall, it seems that Maguire’s huge transfer fee to United and his early promotion to the United captaincy would prove to be the start of his downfall.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.

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