Manchester United

Manchester United

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Exclusive: Man Utd advised over need for ‘specialised’ Harry Maguire replacement before greenlighting West Ham transfer

Man Utd centre-back Harry Maguire

Manchester United should delay selling Harry Maguire to West Ham United until they have a replacement lined up for him, Robbie Savage has told TEAMtalk.

West Ham recently reached an agreement in principle with Man Utd to sign Maguire for a fee in the region of £30m. However, the former club captain’s move to the London Stadium has not been finalised yet.

Maguire was behind Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez in the pecking order at centre-back last season. Even Luke Shaw – naturally a left-back – was preferred to him in the position at times.

Now, Maguire must decide whether to stay and fight for his place at Man Utd, or accept a new challenge with West Ham.

Even if he agrees the move, there have been reports that Man Utd would only finalise the deal if they were in talks for his successor. One defender who has been tipped to join the club, for example, is Bayern Munich’s Benjamin Pavard (who is known more as a right-back).

Speaking to TEAMtalk, Savage has suggested that Man Utd should be looking at more of a ‘specialised’ centre-half than Pavard.

Savage said: “Harry Maguire heavily linked to West Ham United; Manchester United, if he goes, heavily linked with Pavard.

“Pavard is more of a right-sided player. I just think in the transfer negotiations, if they are happening between Harry Maguire and Manchester United and West Ham, I don’t think Manchester United can let Harry Maguire go right now unless they’ve got a specialised centre-half lined up.”

Man Utd need four centre-backs – and Shaw’s attacking attributes

The former Man Utd academy player continued: “Luke Shaw can play as a left-sided centre-half, we know that, he’s done it on a few occasions last season, but I just think you’re weakening the left side. Malacia can play as a left-back obviously, but I think Shaw is stronger in that position. So you’re taking away Shaw’s attacking attributes if you play him as a centre-half.

“You’ve got Varane, who I’m not sure can play every game this season, Martinez coming back from an injury sustained last season, and Lindelof. Currently you’ve got four specialised centre-halves.

“I don’t think you can afford, with Manchester United being in every competition – the Champions League obviously being key – I don’t think you can sell Harry Maguire right now unless you’ve got a specialist centre-half lined up. You’re leaving yourself short.

“Manchester United want to try and win every competition this season. You’ve got four centre-halves, two players for every position. That’s what you try and get as a football club, as a management staff.

“So right now, unless Manchester United have a replacement, I would keep hold of Harry Maguire.

“If they can get somebody in, then I would – I think for the benefit and best interests of all parties – sell Harry Maguire to West Ham.”

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