Harry Maguire is the type of footballer who divides opinion like a marmite centre back. People either love him or hate him, no one sits on the fence.
Manchester City have long been linked with Harry Maguire. Even when the very first green shoots of those links began to appear, there was some incredulity. How could City, as chief proponents of the beautiful game, be linked to this giant dinosaur?
Once you get over the initial shock, there may be a myriad of reasons why City are chasing Maguire. Tall and commanding, capable of dealing with a physical onslaught and importantly for a side with so many non home grown players – English.
Maguire is an imposing player with some requisite ball playing skills. He occasionally thunders out of position in a mad foray into the opposing half, temporarily forgetting he is supposed to be a lumbering centre back.
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He was seemingly promised by his club Leicester City that he could move on this Summer and that encouraged him to sign a contract renewal. Good friends with the England contingent at Manchester City, he has no doubt been persuaded of the virtues of Guardiola and Eastlands.
Yet, Leicester are reportedly holding out for a world record transfer fee for a defender in excess of £90 million. And as we all know, City do not tend to deal with thosee kind of numbers at all.
Last year in a similar tangle with Leicester over Mahrez, City ended up victorious with the player signed at the price they were willing to pay rather than Leicester’s valuation. Of course, that took the player going AWOL to achieve.
Maguire has given no indication of not only how much he wants to move, but specifically how much he wants to move to Manchester City. This does not seem to be a case of a player seeking to force a move to a club of his choice.
So, where are we now in the strange pursuit of Maguire? It would seem the ridiculous asking price has seen us begin to look at better value targets such as Nathan Ake of Bournemouth.
Indeed, journalists close to City have even begun to suggest we may stick with what we have rather than twist again. That of course seems a brave strategy considering the very real prospect of a transfer ban from FIFA hangs above our heads.
In the vacuum which now exists around Maguire, it is reassuring to see a new suitor emerge. This suitor has more money than sense, and not much sense. They have spent 4 years buying targets we have discarded and then splashing huge sums of money in fees and wages on them: Manchester United.
I can see Maguire moving to United this Summer. He fits the recent profile of their signings in that they are so desperate to perceive they have “got one over us” they don’t care if he fits their system or not.
Actually Maguire would be a significant improvement to the United defence, but so would my nan. And she’s been dead 30 years.
Whether Maguire turns out to be another bullet dodged or a missed opportunity, only time will tell. Until then we shall just have to console ourselves with being the best team in the land and the world.