Today marks two years since Harry Maguire clinched his move to Manchester United.
United paid £80 million for Maguire, a club record fee on a defender. It was viewed among United fans and outside the club as a somewhat excessive fee.
The club had various options and could have signed a cheaper centre-back, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was absolutely set on Harry Maguire and so United paid up – having refused to sanction a cheaper fee a year earlier for the defender under Jose Mourinho.
Solskjaer’s comments at the time underlined why he wanted Maguire as the cornerstone of his defence.
The United boss told the club website: “Harry is one of the best centre-backs in the game today and I am delighted we have secured his signature.
“He is a great reader of the game and has a strong presence on the pitch, with the ability to remain calm under pressure – coupled with his composure on the ball and a huge presence in both boxes – I can see he will fit well into this group both on and off the pitch. He has a great personality and is a fantastic addition to the club.”
Maguire has proven himself
In the two years since, Maguire has done everything possible to live up to the high expectation placed upon him by combination of stepping up a level and his high price tag.
Maguire’s durability has been one of his top assets, playing 107 games in two seasons. By contrast Eric Bailly has played 106 in five years. When Maguire did miss games at the end of the last season due to injury, United felt his absence.
At the time Maguire said it was an easy decision to join up. He said: “When Manchester United come knocking on your door, it is an incredible opportunity.
“From my conversations with the manager, I am excited about the vision and plans he has for the team. It’s clear to see that Ole is building a team to win trophies. I am now looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and getting the season started.”
Maguire’s comments are similar to those made by Jadon Sancho when he joined the club. He wanted to be part of the project Solskjaer is building at Old Trafford and had faith the manager can take the team to the next level.
Sancho said: “I can see the development that’s going on here and I want to be a part of it, especially because it’s such an iconic club and being part of it is kind of a dream come true.”
Both Sancho and Maguire want to be part of the group which brings the glory days back to Old Trafford, and believe they are not too far off.
United have been gradually improving and Maguire has been a key part of that. Sancho and new defender Raphael Varane will continue to take the club in an upwards trajectory.
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