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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Why Manchester United should keep Harry Maguire this summer

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Manchester United captain Harry Maguire’s stock has decreased rapidly, with the defender spending most of this season on the bench. Since Erik ten Hag was appointed as manager, Maguire has only started in five games for United in the Premier League and has played in ten out of 23 matches.  The former Leicester City player had a stellar start to his United career, coming into the club in the 2019-20 season before being handed the captaincy six months later by then-manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The 2020-21 season was a decent one for Maguire as he captained the club to the Europa League final but unfortunately sustained an ankle injury, sidelining him from the game.  United lost the game, and Maguire had struggled since then. He was the focal point for the Red Devils and their abysmal defensive performances during the forgettable 2021-22 season. Critics and fans hammered the English international throughout the season as his lack of pace and defensive awareness became major talking points. Maguire was relegated to the bench soon after Ten Hag’s appointment. His lack of form, combined with the signing of Lisandro Martinez, led to him becoming an afterthought in the squad. Although Maguire remained the captain, Bruno Fernandes stepped in as the leader on and off the pitch, becoming the stand-in skipper.  Since the start of the season, speculation has been rampant that Maguire may not be at the club much longer. While many people predicted he would leave during the January transfer window, the move did not culminate. Recent reports have indicated that United would be willing to sell Maguire next summer but are also resigned to the fact that his price won’t go anywhere near the £ 80 million they paid for him.  On that basis, it could pay dividends to keep Maguire at the club. There are perks to keeping Harry Maguire at United Several factors explain why Maguire could be an important part of the United squad. The Red Devils have often been low on squad depth and need reliable players to come off the bench.  It cannot be denied that despite his flaws, Maguire is an efficient defender. He guarded the backline well alongside Victor Lindelof during his first two seasons with United. He played 71 consecutive matches and was only injured at the tail end of the 2020-21 season.  United are usually slated to play a ton of matches during a given season, and Maguire could be a reasonable back-up Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez could prove to be useful. While he does not possess Martinez’s ball-playing abilities, Maguire is adept at playing a pass from the back and possesses considerable heading abilities.  With United likely to go through a tumultuous time leading up to their sale and filling other key playing positions, keeping Maguire would give Ten Hag one less headache.  The Red Devils are unlikely to recoup what they paid for him, so it could be in everyone’s interest to keep him for a bit longer, albeit as a back-up. Speculation is rife about where Maguire could move in the summer. Several options could be on the table for the English international, but only a few would be as lucrative as United. There are only a handful of options for Maguire if he wants to potentially upgrade on United – in Spain, Germany, and Italy. While all those leagues could be enticing options, clubs are not lining up for the 29-year-old. It could be in the United captain’s best interests to stay at Old Trafford and be a part of a potentially winning project under Ten Hag. The Red Devils are already eyeing one trophy in the Carabao Cup and could also go the distance as far as the league is concerned.  Age is also not on Maguire’s side, as he will be 30 in March. With only a few years at the top of football, it won’t harm the English international to play a pivotal squad role in getting United back to their glory days. Although it is unlikely he will play a starting role, he could still be a valuable part of United’s squad.

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