Manchester United broke the world record for the most expensive defender signing Harry Maguire from Leicester in £80m deal. The Red Devils struggled badly in defence last season but can the 26-year-old be the answer for their problems at the back? We are looking into what is expected to be Maguire’s contribution to his new employers.
United seem to have a clear plan on how to act on the transfer market. Sir Alex Ferguson used to build his great teams from the defence and Solskjaer is keen to replicate that. His team conceded 54 goals in the league last season – more than they have in every other year in England’s top flight. Unsurprisingly, United decided to focus on defensive reinforcements in the summer. They had already brought on Aaron Wan-Bissaka addressing their issues at the full-back position.
However, the signing of a centre-back was all but a necessity. Jose Mourinho was more than vocal about his desire to acquire another centre-back last season despite having 6 players who can occupy that position. Harry Maguire was the prime target at that moment and Manchester United finally completed the deal a few days ago. The former Leicester players seems to be a perfect fit in Solskjaer’s tactical plan. Ole wants to build a high pressing team who plays out the ball from the back and dominate possession.
Maguire is being appraised as one of the best ball-playing defenders in the world. He is very composed on the ball and likes to dribble it out of defence. Maguire held the second-best success rate among all Premier League’s defenders last term. Another asset is his aerial presence – 71% aerial duels won. Maguire is dominant in the air on both ends and is a real threat when being targeted at set-pieces.
Maguire is excellent in his challenges on the ground too – only Virgil van Dijk has a better duel success rate as a whole in the division. He is not one of the quickest centre backs and but makes up for the lack of pace with his great reading of the game and perfect positioning. These skills in combination with his aggression allow him to be effective in a high defensive line. Maguire made only 1 error leading to a goal which proves his good level of concentration during the games.
The hefty price Manchester United paid to Leicester to secure his services may put Harry Maguire under pressure. However, he has all the attributes to become a leader at the back of his new team and bring the glory days back at Old Trafford.