Manchester United have seen an opening bid of £70 million for Harry Maguire rejected by Leicester City, but the Foxes’ reluctance to sell came as no surprise to the Red Devils.
According to the Manchester Evening News, United anticipated their opening offer being rejected, as the bid fell short of Leicester’s £75 million asking price from a year ago, when the England international came hot off the back of a starring role in the 2018 World Cup.
The 26-year-old was then rewarded with a new, five-year contract in September, and has not shown a vast decline in his performances at the King Power Stadium, whilst the United backline crumbled to a sixth-place finish in the Premier League. But it was the emerging interest from Manchester City that is thought to have expedited Ed Woodward’s plans to sign the centre-back.
Executives at Old Trafford feared being outbid by their title-clinching neighbours in the race for Maguire, however, as the Sky Blues are likewise looking to snap up a resolute defender following Vincent Kompany’s move into a player-manager position with Anderlecht.
But City walked away from deals for would-be Manchester United signings Alexis Sanchez and Fred last term, after refusing to meet the fees being offered at Old Trafford. United chiefs now hope that by offering £70million for Maguire, they can ward off the threat of a swoop by City, and can openly negotiate a fee with Leicester without the peril of being outbid.
Unfortunately, The Sun understand Maguire has made it clear to the Foxes that he would prefer to ply his trade at the Etihad Stadium next season, and take on the European stage as soon as possible.
This has not reflected poorly in United’s odds, however, as Oddschecker note that the 20-cap Three Lions star is evens to join Pep Guardiola’s treble winners, whereas Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s United are favourites at 10/11. The best UK bookies online are backing Maguire to move to Old Trafford, with the Red Devils representing 48% of all bets placed. Atletico Madrid, meanwhile, are 25/1 to be Maguire’s home by the time the new campaign commences, ahead of 33/1 Liverpool and 40/1 Arsenal.
United have been in the market for a new centre-half since last summer when Jose Mourinho heavily pursued Tottenham Hotspur’s Toby Alderweireld, yet are now looking to acquire a younger, long-term option following the departure of the Champions League winning Portuguese head coach.