Harry Maguire exclusive: Clubs chasing Man Utd skipper revealed despite two factors being at play that could see him stay
Transfer insider Ben Jacobs has given TEAMtalk the very latest on Harry Maguire’s future at Manchester United and pinpointed a few surprise names who could try and swoop for the Red Devils skipper.
Maguire enjoyed a rare start on Wednesday evening as United came back from a goal down to beat West Ham in the FA Cup and book a quarter-final date with Fulham later this month.
However, the England star continues to get overlooked in the Premier League and there remain doubts over his long-term future.
And Jacobs has given us an update on Maguire’s situation and the potential of him quitting Old Trafford this summer.
The trusted reporter has revealed two factors that could be telling in actually keeping the defender at Old Trafford.
He told us: “There’s always speculation about Harry Maguire especially because he’s fallen down the pecking order at Manchester United.
“But we have to be very cautious about links because we’ve heard all manner of stories from speculative all the way through to a little bit more substance. And dating back to last summer, there was even links with Maguire joining Chelsea, which raised a number of eyebrows. We’ve also had links with Villa and even a return back to Leicester and a move abroad as well.
“But the truth of the matter is that Maguire’s situation changed when Erik ten Hag came into the football club.
“And even though Manchester United now have an established centre back pairing, and Maguire has to force his way into the team, he’s still the club captain, and therefore, integral to the day-to-day of the football club.
“He’s a positive influence, and he’s well liked. So I felt sorry for Harry Maguire really, over the course of the last 18 months or so. And it was really disappointing to see him booed when playing for England, and he was excellent at the World Cup two, and therefore, he still has that quality.
“And what Ten Hag has done is given Maguire a fair chance. And of course, he’s blessed in that department, because he has a number of top centre-backs.
Maguire potentially forced into new role
Jacobs also revealed just how much Maguire enjoys working under Ten Hag and that he may have to learn to adapt to a different role at the club.
He added: “So the challenge for Maguire, especially at his age now, is either about forcing his way back into the side or accepting a new role within the team.
“But my understanding is that Maguire really likes playing under Ten Hag, he feels that the club is moving in the right direction. And also, he’s very appreciative of the hands-on nature of Ten Hag and trying to improve him.
“And sometimes you find with an older player, the managers and coaches not stop trying to develop them, but it’s a different type of progression.
“So with a younger player, you realize that they’ve still got room for improvement with an older player, when you’re trying to improve them, it can often be about redefining them. And that’s really the point with Harry Maguire.
“It’s about working out at his age what the next two or three seasons look like. And whether or not there is a pathway at Manchester United football club. So Harry McGuire still has an appetite to stay at Manchester United and United have roundly dismissed the notion that he’s somehow the fifth-choice centerback.
“It’s more about Eric ten Hag wanting a consistent 11. And we all know with Manchester United, that they have top, top defenders at the moment at the football club.
“And if they therefore are to reduce the squad size, some of their older players and some of their defenders, particularly centre-backs will be available on the market. And McGuire continues to be linked with a move away.
United star not pushing for exit
Jacobs has also revealed that Maguire is not actively pushing to leave the club this summer, despite reports to the contrary.
He added: “It’s not as unsettled as has been painted in the media in transfer windows gone by. Maguire has not been pushing for a move, clubs have not come particularly close.
“And part of that is because he’s the club captain. And both Ten Hag and the Manchester United hierarchy see what McGuire does day on day.
“And sometimes fans only look at matches and they caricature Maguire. But we all know that at his best, he’s composed, he is technical and he’s a leader.
“And he can even chip in with the odd goal. And I think this is why Ten Hag really wants to give them the best possible opportunity between now and the end of the season to fight for his place.
“So yes, it’s true that on paper Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane are going to be the two centre-backs at Manchester United. However, as we saw in the game against West Ham, where United came from behind to beat West Ham 3-1 in the FA Cup, Maguire started in that game alongside Lindelof and did really well.
“He showed leadership qualities, he looked composed and this is what Maguire is still capable of.
“So Manchester United haven’t made any final decision yet on letting Harry Maguire go and Maguire is not presuming that the summer we’ll see him finally leave the club.”
Clubs queueing up if Maguire is offloaded
Despite United’s stance on wanting to keep the player and Maguire’s willingness to stay, if a realistic offer comes in for a player who is fourth or fifth-choice centre-back then there is every likelihood that the Red Devils may entertain it.
And Jacobs has revealed which clubs are in the mix if that does happen.
He added: “If he has to depart, there’s a number of teams that are very interested in him. I know that Jose Mourinho remains a big fan of him. And it’s interesting because we saw Chris Smalling, let’s not forget, go to Roma, and kind of redefine himself and love it there.
“So Maguire could be open to the move away from the Premier League. But it’s not like there’s been any direct contact yet.
“There will certainly be clubs outside of only the Premier League interested in him. And we know that Aston Villa did look, but again, not really progressed because there was no intimation from United that they were prepared to get a deal done.
“And I think Wolves could be one to watch as well even though they tend to buy a little bit younger. And the reason for that is because Max Kilman is going to be in demand over the summer period.
“More generally, I think that Wolves could be looking for right-sided and left-sided centre-back. So they could be one to watch for Maguire.
“But there’s a lot of admiration from one or two Premier League clubs for Maguire because they know that they’d be getting a leader and an experienced player.
“So it’s all about the next step, because he still wants that game time, that regularity of football.
“And you come to a juncture when you move into your 30s as to where you can get that and at what level. But at this stage, Manchester United are not presuming they’re going to lose their club captain and Maguire is not planning yet, for a summer exit.
“It’s about both parties coming together at the end of the season and Maguire using this next period to try and fight for his place.
“And of course, at the back of his mind, he’ll be thinking about England as well and how he can give himself the best possible opportunity to continue in that setup and to do so he also needs regular game time and that may well inform his decision as well.”
United are back in action on Sunday when they face bitter rivals Liverpool in the Premier League.
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