The future of Leicester City defender Harry Maguire seems to be the transfer saga of the summer to date and with both Manchester United and Manchester City interested in bringing the England international up north this summer, just what can he offer at the red or blue of Manchester?
Maguire has become somewhat of a household name in the Premier League, in part due to his success with the English national side, alongside his role at Leicester City. His future at the King Power is now in question though and it has been reported today that both Manchester clubs have told the Foxes they are willing to cough up £65m for the central defender with the two clubs set for a tug of war to secure his services.
Meanwhile, Leicester are in no position to sell the 26-year-old and it’s understood the defender is happy at Leicester and won’t attempt to force a transfer according to Sky Sports.
The Foxes, as we have seen in the past, will stand firm in their evaluation of their man which currently sits in and around £75m, the exact figure it took for Liverpool to win the services of Virgil van Dijk – the most expensive defender in world football. But just why is Maguire such a hot property this summer and how does he compare to those in Manchester?
What makes the Englishman stand out is his confidence and ability in bringing the ball out from the back – this attribute is what attracted Leicester to him in the first place which shows in his stats since his arrival in East Midlands. Last season, the Sheffield born defender attempted 21 dribbles with a success rate of 76%. This was the second highest among any Premier League defender with only Tottenham’s Juan Foyth ahead of him on 22 with an 86% success rate.
His ability in the air is also what makes the defender highly sought after having won 78.1% of his aerial battles during the 2018/19 season. This puts him top of the list ahead of PFA Player of the Year Virgil Van Dijk who only achieved a 74.9% success rate. The only Manchester player to feature in the top five is Phil Jones, although the United player attempted significantly fewer aerial duels compared to his Leicester counterpart.
His strength makes him another stand out performer within the Premier League and his duel success during last seasons campaign (73%) was 10% higher than the average of Manchester City’s centre-backs combined (63%) and seven percent higher than that of Manchester United (66%).
Gary Neville stated as he spoke on the Gary Neville Podcast a few months back, “if you think of the attributes of centre-backs, he (Maguire) has them in abundance. Leicester fans won’t thank me for this, but they’re going to be under real pressure to keep him this summer.”
In relation to passing, which is the foundation of Manchester City and Pep Guardiola, Maguire averaged 56 passes per game during the 2018/19 season. This is significantly lower than the average of 77 for Manchester City’s centre-backs yet 14 higher than that of Manchester United. Maguire sits below both sides on passing accuracy though as his 86% is three percent lower than Manchester United and seven percent lower than the Citizens.
The 26-year-old’s tackling success is also lower than both Manchester United (63%) and Manchester City (56%) sitting at 55% whilst he also made four errors which led to shots in last season’s campaign. The Manchester City defenders combined made the same amount of errors as their summer target whilst United’s defence made double.
Sky Sports Leicester correspondent, Rob Dorsett, believes Leicester are in a good position to hold onto their man this summer though. He stated, “because of the length of his contract, his age and the current market, Leicester won’t even enter into negotiations unless any suggested offer is in the region of the £75m Liverpool paid for Virgil Van Dijk.”
Both #mcfc and #mufc have told #lcfc they’re prepared to pay £65m for Harry Maguire, I understand. Talks have been ongoing for several weeks, but a deal is no closer. Leic have no desire or need to sell, and it would take more than the £75m paid for Van Dijk to tempt them.
— Rob Dorsett (@RobDorsettSky) June 25, 2019
Having said this, on Monday, Talk Sport reported that the defender was set to join the Citizens in an £80m deal which would make him the most expensive Englishman and defender in history. Manchester City are keen on the defender after the departure of Vincent Kompany, who is set to undertake a player-manager role at Anderlecht next season. A move for Maguire would also bolster their homegrown player status which is a requirement amongst Premier League sides.
As for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he is aware that his defence needs an overhaul and with the arrival of Aaron Wan-Bissaka seemingly imminent, a centre-back will be the next on the shopping list with Maguire number one on their list.
It’s clear that the Foxes do not want to let go of their star man and since the arrival of Brendan Rodgers at the King Power there is a high level of optimism amongst supporters that the Foxes could push for a top-six place next season. Keeping Maguire will certainly be key to this yet an £80m bid would certainly shift the momentum to either side of Manchester, with City looking like the likely victors in this one.