Harry Maguire’s rise to stardom has been somewhat meteoric.
He went from playing for Sheffield United where he started his career to playing for Hull City which he followed with a loan spell at Wigan.
He began gaining recognition and plaudits when he made a move to the blue and white colours of Leicester City.
The 26-year-old was an integral part of the Foxes side that won the Premier League in 2016; against all odds.
Since then he has found his way into the three lions of England squad; representing them in the World Cup and in the recently completed UEFA Nations League.
Just when he thought it won’t get any better, he seals a move to Manchester United for £85m – a move that sees him take top spot and a world-record fee for a defender after eclipsing rivals Liverpool’s £75m purchase of Virgil Van Dijk in 2018.
There have been so many questions asked regarding his transfer.
One of the main debates is whether United were right or not to sign him. If they were, is he actually worth all that money?
Harry Maguire ranked 84th in the Premier League for tackles made and 46th for interceptions last season with a whole host of players being ahead of him in that regard.
He also ranked 14th amongst defenders in aerial duels won with the likes of Shkodran Mustafi, Willy Boly, Virgil Van Dijk amongst others ahead of him.
With £80m Manchester United could have bought two solid Center backs in Toby Alderweireld who has a £25m release clause and Matthijs De Ligt who was signed by Juventus for £65m.
Alderwiereld and De Ligt both have better passing stats, pass accuracy (89% and 88% compared to Maguire’s 85%), average passes per game although you can owe it to the fact that Maguire played in a more counter attack-oriented team.
Defensively all three players averaged approximately a tackle and an interception per game with De Ligt winning the most aerial duels a game (3.9) followed by Maguire (3.8) then Alderwiereld (1.6).
These are two other players with similar and even perhaps better defensive stats than Maguire.
They would also have cost notably less than the Englishman.
Several others like Kalildou Koulibaly, Milan Skrinar, Daniele Rugani, Alessio Romagnoli among others could have been cheaper options but one has to respect the manager’s wishes for his club as regards his transfer market.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got his man and now it is time to see if he will respond to the pressure or not.
Many will be expecting a similar impact to United’s defence like Van Dijk did aid Liverpool.
Time will tell if the towering Englishman will live up to expectations.
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