Erik ten Hag will soon learn just how many things he will need to deal with in his first summer in charge of Manchester United and getting a tune out of Harry Maguire, the club captain, will be at the top of his to-do list.
Maguire endured a disastrous 2021/22 season after impressing at the European Championship last summer. His form saw him lose his place under Ralf Rangnick and his position in the England set-up is also under intense scrutiny.
Over the past 12 months, Maguire’s captaincy at United has been questioned. The former Leicester star was handed the armband by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer just six months after the Old Trafford club made him the most expensive defender of all time.
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Now, two-and-a-half years later, he could be about to lose it. That’s according to the Daily Mail, who say that although Ten Hag plans to keep him at the club, his captaincy status is up in the air. United are also interested in signing another centre-back if one of Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe, or Phil Jones is sold.
It would be in Ten Hag’s best interest to sort out the captaincy as early as possible as it’s a delicate issue and has caused upset in the past. Maguire still has backing from different figures in the dressing room and it wouldn’t be wise to let the situation simmer.
Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the options to become United’s next captain but he is not expected to stay at the club beyond this summer, which could put Ten Hag off handing him the arband. The same applies to David de Gea, who also has just one year remaining on his contract.
Bruno Fernandes is the clear favourite to become Maguire’s successor but Ten Hag is expected to make his decision soon. Pre-season officially begins next week, with non-international players returning to the club on Monday.