Manchester United officially makes Harry Maguire the most expensive defender ever

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Harry Maguire of Manchester United poses with Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after signing for the club at Aon Training Complex on August 04, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Manchester United/Manchester United via Getty Images)
Harry Maguire (right) poses with Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after his signing on Monday. (Getty)

Manchester United has made the biggest transfer splash in the Premier League this summer, signing Leicester City defender Harry Maguire for a world record fee of $97 million, according to Sky Sports.

United officially announced the signing in a statement, with Maguire calling the six-year deal an “incredible opportunity.”

The previous most expensive defender was Virgil van Dijk, the reigning PFA Player of the Year who cost Liverpool $91 million in January 2018. Maguire joins fullback Aaron Wan-Bissaka and winger Daniel James as United’s most notable signings this summer.

The 26-year-old England regular is a physically imposing center back whose distribution is top-class. He offers threat on set pieces and is just entering his prime, meaning he can be a fixture at Old Trafford for years to come.

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His tackling took a dip last season, however, and questions remain over who he’ll pair with. Eric Bailly is injured, Chris Smalling’s best years appear to be behind him, and Victor Lindelöf, Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo are largely unproven at this level.

Still, the spine of Maguire, star goalkeeper David de Gea and stud midfielder Paul Pogba is hard not to like, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer played a more advanced, pressure style in the five months he spent in charge last season after taking over for the sacked Jose Mourinho in December.

The Red Devils have to hope that helps mask Maguire’s shortcomings. With Chelsea coming to Old Trafford to kick off the Premier League season on Sunday, they’ll find out soon enough.

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