Just less than a month after he was tragically stripped of the Manchester United captaincy by manager Erik ten Hag, 30-year-old England national team player Harry Maguire is set to leave the 13-time Premier League champion to join fellow EPL club West Ham United this summer transfer window. The breaking news was confirmed when the Hammers met the Red Devils’ asking price of £30 million, having their first bid of £20 million being rejected. With the transfer fee has already been agreed between parties, there have been talks about Hammers’ head coach David Moyes making Harry Maguire his new club captain soon.
Harry Maguire: An £80-Million Flop?
Prior to his decline of form, Maguire was a regular starter for both club and country. The Sheffield-born centre-back made his senior debut for hometown club Sheffield United as a teenager in the Championship back in the 2010/2011 Season. After tenures with several other English clubs, Harry Maguire rose to become a starting defender for Leicester City and drew attention from 13-time Premier League winner Manchester United.
The Red Devils, led by Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær at that time, completed a move for Harry Maguire in July 2019, making him the most expensive defender ever in the history of football with a whooping transfer fee of £80 million (The record was not even surpassed by Joško Gvardiol following the Croatian’s £77.5-million move to Manchester City from RB Leipzig earlier this summer). Harry Maguire’s impressive start to his Manchester United career even earned Ole’s trust of making him the club captain.
Nevertheless, since the England national team‘s failure to capture the 2020 UEFA European Championship, Maguire suffered a dip in form for Manchester United, and the arrival of former Real Madrid defender Raphaël Varane and ex-Ajax player Lisandro Martínez meant the 30-year-old England international was no longer new manager Erik ten Hag’s preferred starting centre-back for the Red Devils. These circumstances ultimately led to Maguire’s removal as the club captain and his departure from the English Premier League giant.
Benjamin Pavard and Jean-Clair Todibo to Replace Harry Maguire at Manchester United?
Following the £30-million deal being agreed between both Manchester United and West Ham United, it is just a matter of time before Maguire finally leave the Red Devils after making 175 appearances in all competitions over four seasons for the Manchester club. In relation to the news, spectators’ attention now turn to Maguire’s potential replacement at the club, as Erik ten Hag would love to improve the depth of his defender department in the upcoming season.
Apart from starters such as Varane and Martínez, the 53-year-old Dutchman also has Victor Lindelöf and potentially returning United player Johnny Evans at his disposal. But history has proven that ten Hag can use more choices in order to boost his team’s chances of winning more titles in his second year in charge of Manchester United. In view of these situations, it is reported that the Manchester United gaffer is interested to bring Frenchman Benjamin Pavard or Jean-Clair Todibo to replace Harry Maguire in his squad.
Although Bayern Munich’s Pavard is more known as a right-back, he has shown capabilities that he can also excel as a central defender, but ten Hag’s penchant between the two players is likely to fall on 23-year-old Todibo from French Ligue 1 club OGC Nice, who is both young and a natural centre-back.
West Ham United Signed James Ward-Prowse
Maguire is not West Ham United’s only signing this transfer window, as the club also made a move for 28-year-old midfielder James Ward-Prowse to replace England international Declan Rice, who left the Hammers for Arsenal last month.
The Portsmouth-born James Ward-Prowse, who previously spent his entire senior career for Southampton since making his debut in 2011, is known as a freekick specialist and set-piece maestro. His departure from Southampton came after the club was relegated from the English Premier League last season, costing West Ham £30 million for the transfer. Let us take a look at some of the best freekick goals scored by the England midfielder during his tenure with the Saints.