Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has reportedly decided where to play his football next season as a five-club chase for his signature reaches a rapid conclusion.
The England defender has tumbled down the pecking order at Old Trafford since Erik ten Hag’s appointment at the club. Indeed, the Dutchman has preferered Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez as his preferred central defensive axis. Even Luke Shaw has been preferred in the side, despite making his name as a left-back.
And while Maguire has found himself figuring again of late, his struggles in the side during the Europa League ties against Sevilla have only served to suggest his time at Old Trafford could be coming to an end.
And with many suggesting his role as club captain will become untenable if his absence from the side continues, speculation over where Maguire will be playing next is beginning to gather pace.
To that end, the likes of Tottenham, Aston Villa and Newcastle are all reportedly keen on offering Maguire a Premier League lifeline. There is interest from overseas too, with Inter Milan and AC Milan also reportedly plotting moves.
However, with finances tight, the Italian pair are seemingly looking at signing Maguire on an initial loan move.
Should he decide he wishes to move on, Ten Hag would reportedly not stand in his way. The Manchester United manager is keen to raise transfer funds this summer and despite his fall from grace, Maguire would still command a hefty fee.
Indeed, reports claim United still value the 30-year-old in the £45m bracket, having paid £80m for him back in 2019.
Harry Maguire was wanted by Man City
However, The Athletic reports that Maguire has made it clear to Ten Hag that he has no wish to leave Old Trafford this summer.
Indeed, the 55-times capped England defender plans to stay and fight for his place in United’s starting XI.
Furthermore, he intends to honour his deal at the club, rather than jumping ship. His current contract at Old Trafford is currently due to expire in 2025.
The report, however, does state the decision could be taken out of Maguire’s hands. And if United do receive a hefty bid for his services, Ten Hag may yet decide to cash in. To that end, Napoli’s Kim Min-jae is reportedly on his wishlist as replacements.
Equally, Maguire may find himself staying on at Old Trafford with a raft of others defenders due to leave. To that end, Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones will both leave at the end of their deals. Neither has played for United this season.
The club are also actively looking to move on Eric Bailly and potentially Victor Lindelof too. And the exits of all four centre-halves could yet prove Maguire’s salvation.
Discussing his downturn at United, The Athletic’s Adam Crafton claims the defender was the subject of a failed £70m approach from Manchester City prior to his move to Old Trafford.
Claiming Pep Guardiola saw Maguire as a long-term successor to Vincent Kompany at the time, Crafton has revealed how City’s coaching staff were convinced Maguire would have ‘thrived’ at the Etihad.
‘One former member of staff on the football side at United concludes that Maguire was a good player in a dysfunctional environment, who he believes would have thrived at City with the stability and tactical acumen of Guardiola,’ he wrote.
Simon Jordan blasts ‘mediocre’ Maguire
Former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan, however, was much less forgiving in a recent assessment of the player.
Speaking ahead of Italy v England in Naples last month, he described Maguire as a ‘mediocre centre half’.
‘Harry Maguire, a mediocre centre half who is being picked by a man who knows all about being a mediocre centre half, will again be on England’s team sheet on Thursday night,’ Jordan wrote for the Daily Mail.
‘While, seemingly, Maguire goes into the shop window as a member of Gareth Southgate’s defence in Naples, I do question what the future holds.
‘”Why Maguire has to leave United” was one headline at the weekend. I’m not so sure how easily that happens.
‘His direction of travel this season is not a positive one. Think about it. For the first time in his career, Maguire has an elite manager determining his future.
‘And for the first time in his career, he isn’t being picked. What does that tell you about all those involved? Good enough for Southgate, not in the frame for Erik ten Hag.
‘He remains the world’s most expensive defender. But he took advantage of the landscape of mediocrity that existed at United before this fella came. Really, he is a pumped-up, decent, mid-ranking central defender.’