Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Harry Maguire in limbo as Fabrizio Romano reveals intriguing reason why Man Utd exit is delayed

West Ham linked Man Utd defender Harry Maguire

West Ham linked Man Utd defender Harry Maguire

Manchester United are reluctant to let Harry Maguire leave for West Ham before they have begun talks to sign his replacement – and they haven’t even picked their preferred candidate yet.

That’s according to Fabrizio Romano, who has reiterated that West Ham have had a £30m bid for Maguire accepted already. However, he has not been able to complete his departure from Man Utd yet.

Romano has revealed that Man Utd want to choose their favourite candidate to replace Maguire soon. Once they have done that, they will aim to open talks for the target they have chosen.

Only then will they give the final green light for Maguire to leave for West Ham, even though he doesn’t seem to be of much use to them anymore after falling behind Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane in their pecking order at centre-back last season.

At times, Erik ten Hag even preferred to use Luke Shaw – naturally a left-back – at centre-half, while overlooking Maguire. And the former Leicester star’s fate was pretty much sealed when Ten Hag replaced him as captain with Bruno Fernandes.

Reports earlier this week indicated that Man Utd are willing to pay Maguire a severance fee in acknowledgement of the lower wages he will earn at West Ham.

Soon, they will have to make an investment in replacing him too. Earlier in the summer, they were keen on Kim Min-jae, but Bayern Munich activated his Napoli release clause instead.

How will Man Utd replace Maguire?

More recently, their shortlist has been said to include Bayern’s Benjamin Pavard, Nice’s Jean-Clair Todibo and Bayer Leverkusen’s Edmond Tapsoba, among others.

READ MORESix centre-backs Manchester United could target to replace Harry Maguire: Todibo, Pavard, Silva…

Any of those options would be hoping to play more for Man Utd than Maguire did last season. But with Varane now at the age of 30 and not always staying fit, perhaps there is a long-term plan to phase him out for a new partner for Martinez.

Besides, Ten Hag has guided Man Utd back into the Champions League for the new season. Therefore, he will be eager for strong squad depth to rely on.

Meanwhile, Maguire will be hoping to get his career back on track with West Ham, where he will be able to participate in the Europa League.

At a press conference on Friday, West Ham manager David Moyes said: “We’ve had a bid accepted from Manchester United, but while he’s not our player I’m not in a position to discuss him really.”

Maguire could become the latest central defender to leave Man Utd this summer after Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe were released when their contracts ended, while Eric Bailly has agreed to join Besiktas.