Harry Maguire: A Much-Needed Upgrade to United’s Shaky Backline

Manchester United have not been robbed, contrary to public opinion.

While Harry Maguire is certainly not better than Virgil van Dijk who was sold for 75 million, his impact at United could be similar to that of the Dutchman at Anfield.

The Red Devils’ demand for a centre back exceeded any price; even Maguire’s last year valuation of around 65 million pounds. United have accepted mediocrity for far, far too long, especially at the back. Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof were supposed to bring in the much-needed quality. Bailly simply cannot stay fit to save his life. Lindelof did his best and certainly stood out, but the pressure of carrying the other defenders on his back certainly proved to be too much.

In comes Slabhead.

Maguire is an upgrade on the existing United centre backs in every possible way. His passing is exceptional, especially long balls. Lindelof and Bailly are definitely comfortable on the ball, but Maguire will ensure steady build up in the first phase of build-up, either dribbling the ball upfield himself or passing it forward. He had an 85% dribble accuracy rate. He switches play more often than Lindelof does, as well.

It should go without saying but Maguire is exceptional in the air winning 3.8 aerial duels per game. He also scored three goals last season, another upgrade from the current United set up. He is amazing in either box. The Englishman follows the strikers when they drop deep to receive and turn, making 36 interceptions in the Premier League last season.

Maguire won 83% of his tackles and made 152 clearances last season in the league. The 6’4” defender is not the fastest but has enough pace plus to cover. Not only physical pace, his reading of the game, on the mental side of things, ensures he does not get caught out. Plus, he is British which fits the bill.

Lindelof and Maguire looks a good pair, on paper at least. Eric Bailly’s pace will be most welcome when he returns from injury. The Swede and Englishman are an ideal duo to play out from the back, both had good seasons in 18/19 and have the tools to complement each other, especially with Maguire’s height and physicality helping Lindelof out.

From what his ex-teammates and coaches say, he is a great character to have in the dressing room as well. United could do with some more professionalism at Old Trafford. Maguire comes in to stop the overflow of goals and chances United conceded last season and the season before that, as well. David de Gea cannot play Superman every time.

Vedansh is a Manchester United fan from India. Follows almost all sports – football and pro-wrestling in particular. Wayne Rooney, Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho are some of his favourites. He also writes for ItsRoundAndItsWhite.

Follow him on Twitter @NathaniVedansh