Manchester United’s pursuit of Frenkie de Jong has been frustrating for supporters and with just two weeks remaining before the Premier League curtain-raiser against Brighton, a resolution is far from being reached.
The Old Trafford club have agreed a fee with Barcelona over De Jong’s transfer but the Catalan club owe the midfielder £17m in deferred wages and that is holding up the deal.
Last month, it was reported that Barcelona had asked for Maguire as part of their negotiations for De Jong, with United immediately shutting that proposal down.
Now, in a fresh update, it has been claimed that Maguire was completely unmoved by Barcelona’s interest, with the United skipper steadfast in his desire to stay at the club.
That’s according to The Mirror, who say that Maguire is determined to overcome his difficult patch at the club and has been encouraged by the trust shown in him by Erik ten Hag.
Prior to this summer’s tour, Ten Hag confirmed that Maguire would remain his captain after early speculation over whether the Dutchman would choose another skipper.
In the report, a source claimed that Maguire had no interest in joining Barcelona: “Some players, especially with some of the criticism flying around, would have been desperate to go if Barcelona came calling,” the source is quoted as saying.
“But Harry is unmoved and wants to have a successful season with United. When it comes to mental strength, Harry has it in spades. As usual he will get down to doing what he does best.”
Maguire’s frosty relationship with some supporters was also on display during the club’s tour of Thailand and Australia, with boos heard at several games. A close friend has condemned that behaviour, arguing that other players have escaped such treatment for worse performances.
“Harry has been made the scapegoat for Manchester United’s poor displays last season,” the friend said. “Some so-called big players had far worse games than him. It seems that someone has to pay the price. The other season it was David de Gea who has been magnificent during his time at the club.”
There’s no denying that the abuse Maguire has dealt with has been over the top and unacceptable. He has always given it his all for the club and as the captain, he has carried himself perfectly.
For large parts of his three-year stay at the club, he has been the best defender. Last season was difficult but that’s not only true for Maguire – the entire team was dysfunctional.
Barcelona’s interest in Maguire is understandable but Ten Hag is right in backing his captain.