Recently concluded Premier League season had been the one with the most ups and downs for Manchester United. From being in the bottom half of the table to securing a third-place finish. With several changes and rotations happening in the lineup, one man consistently held his place. I’m talking about none other than their skipper, Harry Maguire.
Maguire has spent most of his career in the Championship and League One. Leicester City bought the Englishman for £12 million, and he made his Premier League debut in 2017. Harry played every minute in the Premier League that season, an impressive feat which he replicated this season with Manchester United.
Seeing his performance improve, Manchester United contacted Leicester and placed an initial bid of £70 million, which got rejected. The Red Devils then placed an improved bid of £80 million. Leicester accepted the deal, making Maguire the most expensive defender of all time. But the question remains, is he worth it?
Maguire’s life in Manchester started well. He made his debut at Old Trafford against Chelsea on the first day of the season. The Red Devils won the match 4-0 with the debutant being the man of the match. After the departure of then club captain Ashley Young to Inter Milan, Maguire was given the armband by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in his very first season at the club! Players like Paul Pogba, David de Gea, and Nemanja Matic were not even considered for the role although they have been at the club for much longer than him.
After a match against Southampton, a video of Maguire went viral. He was seen marking his own teammate (Aaron Wan-Bissaka) during a corner kick. This mistake led Southampton to equalize and draw the match. But this was just one of his mistakes. Brilliant goalkeeping of David de Gea has largely overshadowed his errors.
The Red Devils have 13 clean sheets this season, and much of that credit goes to de Gea. New signing Aaron Wan-Bissaka has also been an integral part of United’s defense this season, covering from the right. Luke Shaw has had injury problems this season, just like every season before, but he has shown glimpses of class. Eric Bailly made only 4 appearances this season owing to injury. Youngster Brandon Williams has probably been United’s most significant defensive prospect this season, putting in several impressive performances. Victor Lindelof has been the perfect partner to Maguire this season, saving him from embarrassment at times.
Manchester United fans might disagree with everything stated above. Admittedly, the stats say that Maguire has no errors leading to goal this season, but that doesn’t portray the complete picture. I’m not saying that Maguire isn’t a good defender, all I’m saying is that the tag of being the “most expensive defender in the world” might have taken a toll on him. He is also the current captain of the club, being just 28, and in his first season at the club, it looks like the pressure has gotten to his head and is affecting his performance.