Manchester United defender Harry Maguire will be sold by the club next summer, if Erik ten Hag gets his way, according to Rio Ferdinand.
The £80m United invested on Maguire in summer 2019 means he still remains, to this day, the world’s most costly defender. And despite a bright first season at Old Trafford, the last two years have not gone well both personally and professionaly.
First, the player is still trying to clear his name after a guilty verdict in a Greek court. Following an alleged altercation in Mykonos, he was given a suspended jail sentence of 21 months and 10 days.
On a professional level, Maguire was named Manchester United captain in 2020, thoug his form has since been patchy at best. Indeed, he has come in for some fierce criticism with Roy Keane destroying him with a massive put down.
That indifferent form during the 2021/22 season saw United labour home to a sixth-placed finish. And following Ten Hag’s appointment as manager, the new boss has gone out and splashed out £56.7m to sign Lisandro Martinez.
And the Argentine has quickly made his presence felt at Old Trafford, becoming a regular fixture in Ten Hag’s side.
Indeed, alongside Raphael Varane, the two men have formed what looks like being Ten Hag’s first-choice defensive pairing.
As such, Maguire has been limited to just two Premier League starts so far this season. And the last one of those was the humilating 4-0 defeat at Brentford.
Amid speculation on his future, Ten Hag insisted he had no plans to sell Maguire this summer. That’s despite claims suggesting Maguire was willing to push for a surprise move to Chelsea.
Rio Ferdinand expects Harry Maguire sale
However, Ferdinand reckons the clock is ticking for Maguire. And he believes Ten Hag will look to offload him next summer if a suitable offer comes their way.
“If there is takers I think Erik ten Hag lets him go,” Ferdinand told his Vibe with Five podcast.
“I think he’ll want to go, if he isn’t playing I don’t think he wants to sit there – there are other people who have chosen to sit there when they aren’t playing and that’s fine, but I don’t think Harry Maguire is one of those guys.
“He loves football and wants to play, and he’ll have an open and honest conversation with the manager.”
Despite his struggles at United, Maguire has retained his place in the England squad for the latest Nations League games.
However, Ferdinand reckons England should start Fikayo Tomori ahead of Maguire right now.
Star receives surprise words of comfort from Giorgio Chiellini
Amid ongoing criticism of Maguire, the 29-year-old has received some surprise words of comfort from Italy legend Giorgio Chiellini.
The former Juventus defender reckons Maguire has been harshly treated by club and country and should be first choice for both.
“I am sad for Maguire’s situation because he is a good player,” Chiellini told The Times.
“They require too much of him. Just because they paid £80million for him, he has to be the best in the world every match? It’s not right.
“The value of the market is dependent on many aspects you can’t control. It’s not your fault.”
Chiellini knows what it takes to succeed at international level and reckons Maguire is worthy of his England shirt.
“Him and [John] Stones are a good duo. OK, Maguire maybe is not Rio Ferdinand but he’s good enough.
“With this situation it’s not helping [England] to do the best.
“If you want to win the World Cup it’s impossible to do it with some problems in the key players, and for sure Maguire is one of the key players of the team.”
While Chiellini’s word will come as some comfort for Maguire, he really is at a career crossroads right now.
He will almost certainly be a part of England’s World Cup squad. And, as it stands, he probably will remain Gareth Southgate’s first choice.
But for United his career really is on the wane and a move away in 2023 will give him the fresh start that he needs. Sometimes life in the United goldfish bowl is not to everyone’s liking – and perhaps it has all got a bit too much for the Sheffield-born star.