Manchester United target €56 million Harry Maguire
José Mourinho will look to bolster his defence with acquisition of England centre back
Harry Maguire of Leicester City is a target for Manchester United ahead of the new Premier League season. Photo: Getty Images
José Mourinho believes the acquisition of Diogo Dalot in the summer window has bolstered the position of full-back enough for him to switch focus to signing a central defender with Harry Maguire a potential target.
Mourinho’s decision is significant as he said that both the left-back and right-back positions needed improving for United to be credible title contenders this season.
Having bought only Dalot, who can operate on both flanks, for €21m from Porto, the manager has decided he can trust Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young as first-choice full-backs with Dalot and Luke Shaw providing competition.
The 19-year-old Portuguese is virtually untested, having only made his senior debut last season, and Shaw’s career at United remains unconvincing with both manager and player recognising the upcoming campaign is his last chance to prove himself. Valencia and Young are converted wingers who will be 33 when Manchester United’s league campaign begins against Leicester City.
Demetri Mitchell, 21, can also play at left-back and may be given a chance to establish himself in the squad. Timothy Fosu-Mensah, a right-back, is expected to go on loan again, having spent last season at Crystal Palace.
Mourinho’s choice to prioritise buying a centre-back underlines his uncertainty of Chris Smalling and Victor Lindelöf, while Phil Jones is prone to injury. Maguire impressed during England’s run to the World Cup semi-finals and would cost a minimum of €56m before any add-ons if he was to be prised away from Leicester.
Mourinho believes the 25-year-old’s technical attributes would offer a fresh impetus to United’s ability to initiate attacks from defence.
Last night Alexis Sánchez offered an eye-catching 65-minute cameo but United drew a disappointing crowd of 32, 549 for their second tour outing, against San Jose Earthquakes in what turned out to be a drab 0-0 draw.– Guardian service