Lack of Pace
Harry Maguire lacks a considerable amount of pace. In fact, he’s the slowest runner out of the Premier League’s top center backs.
His lack of speed is often exposed in the open field where pacy wingers and forwards can burst by him, especially on counter-attacks. This can be mitigated in a more defensive-minded team by having the back line sit deeper when the team is in possession. That way, Maguire has less ground to cover when the team loses possession, and he can keep the play in front of him for as long as possible.
Leicester did this for most of the season before Brendan Rodgers arrived. Not only did this protect their slower center backs, like him, from being beat for pace, their team was at their best when they absorbed opposing team’s attacks, then countered with their lightning quick forwards like Jaime Vardy and Demarai Gray.
Manchester City, though, play with the highest defensive line in the league. This is because they need their center-backs to be involved in their build-up of play to help them break down compact defenses. Since most of the teams they face know they can’t go like-for-like with City’s attack, they prefer to sit their team as deep and compact as possible to limit City’s scoring chances as much as they can, then hope to score on the counter or on set-pieces.
Maguire’s lack of pace would be a major issue if he signs for City. Many of the goal scoring chances that they’ve conceded over the past two seasons have come from opposing teams hitting them on the counter attack. This would become an even more common occurrence with Maguire in the back line.
Vincent Kompany was often the target on these attacks over the past two seasons, particularly because his pace was beginning to decline as he aged. Kompany, however, was still significantly quicker than Maguire is now, and he was able to limit his weakness because of his unmatched intelligence to read and anticipate the game. Maguire is not at that level right now, even if his reading of the game is very good.
Maguire’s performances for England, a team which plays in a similar style to City, have been wildly inconsistent because of this. Teams have been able to create a lot of chances on the counter by focusing their attacks on him.
Because of their style of play, City need defenders who have the speed to cover a lot of ground in the open field. They can ill afford to have someone with the speed of 2015-16 Martin Demichelis manning that position, especially when they’re playing against a front line that’s as quick and as skilled as Europe’s best, such as Liverpool.