Opinion: Harry Maguire not the best long-term option, transfer saga is becoming Sneijder-esque

In what could be the start of another Sneijder-esque situation as we’ve been signing Harry Maguire for what seems to be an age now, with no confirmed developments.

This is a transfer that is touting figures of upwards of £80 million as a transfer fee, with Leicester refusing to drop their price tag and Ed Woodward unwilling to meet it. Not seen this before have we?

Although we’re all screaming from the rooftops to sign a top centre-half to pair with Lindelof, while Axel Tuanzebe sits in his room wondering if he’s going to get a shot at the side if we do, let’s take a look at the transfer from a slightly different perspective.

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If United were currently successful, not winning trophies successful even, but successful in the sense of challenging for titles, trophies, a reasonably settled squad and performing well, yet needing a centre-half, would Harry Maguire still be the option we’d be going for?

I don’t think so.

This transfer window seriously smacks of reaping what we sow in our recent years of relative failure in the trophy and challenging stakes, resulting in a limp 6th place finish and most notably a lack of Champions League football for the coming season.

The years since Sir Alex Ferguson departed have finally damaged us to the point where simply playing for United seemingly isn’t enough for the top players. The times where the mere chance of wearing that red shirt turned a player’s head has now become potential players looking at a side in rapid decline, a lack of opportunity to play on the world’s biggest stage in the Champions League and not being title challengers, a severely fractured fan base and a squad that has more holes in it than a decent cheese.

It’s left us limited in our options for who we can sign, or more importantly, who will sign for us, and we have ended up with all eggs in the Harry Maguire basket, with Leicester holding all the cards and sitting pretty with a massive price-tag dangled in front of Woodward and the ultimatum of “pay it or don’t, up to you”.

A lot of us have thrown the Toby Alderweireld but out clause in opposition to the Maguire transfer, and of course it makes sense. Buy a player arguably as good/better than Maguire for a fraction of the cost, which would also buy us time to find a long term replacement. But Alderweireld has Champions League football, a very settled side to play in and a chance of challenging for the title this season ahead.

Maybe he just doesn’t want to join us, and that price is immaterial?

We need a stronger centre-back setup, we need a more capable partner for Lindelof, but is it worth risking £80m on Maguire this summer, over giving Tuanzebe his chance, even Bailly a chance to redeem himself when he recovers from injury, and if the season goes to plan, we go back to the market next summer a far more attractive prospect for a potential player of a higher level, which would serve us much better in the long run?

Time will tell.

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