United favourites to sign Harry Maguire despite City preference

Manchester City put off by Leicester City’s valuation leaving the door open to United

Manchester United’s £70million offer for Harry Maguire will be rejected as it falls short of Leicester’s valuation. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Manchester United’s £70million offer for Harry Maguire will be rejected as it falls short of Leicester’s valuation. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

 

Manchester United have moved into pole position to sign Harry Maguire, with Manchester City balking at Leicester City’s valuation of the centre-back.

United are intent on backing Ole Gunnar Solskjær in the market as the manager starts a revamp of his squad during his first summer in charge and on Tuesday submitted a £70m offer for Maguire, which was turned down. Given this support and City’s reticence to meet the asking price, United are the favourites to sign the defender.

Leicester’s demand for the 26-year-old is believed to exceed the £75m Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil van Dijk in January last year. Maguire has told his club’s board he would like a move and his preference is thought to be to join City. The England international hopes he will not be priced out of a transfer.

The finance remains available for United to make a serious move for Maguire despite the club having spent a combined initial £60m on Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James.

Although City view Leicester’s stance as unrealistic, it remains to be seen whether they may be drawn into a bidding war for Maguire. When Pep Guardiola became manager in summer 2016 he identified Everton’s John Stones as his No 1 target. After initially resisting the valuation of the centre-back, City did eventually pay around £47m for him.

The previous summer the club followed a similar pattern regarding Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling – eventually agreeing a total £49m transfer – yet City did drop interest in Van Dijk because of Southampton’s valuation.

United have not given up hope David de Gea will sign a new contract, though club and player remain some distance from an agreement.

De Gea’s terms expire next summer after United were forced to trigger the goalkeeper’s one-year extension clause. The Spaniard’s representatives are in discussions with United’s hierarchy. Ed Woodward, the club’s executive vice-chairman, and Matt Judge, the head of corporate development, remain optimistic De Gea can be persuaded to commit his future.

Any new offer would place De Gea in a similar pay bracket to Paul Pogba, who earns around £290,000 a week. De Gea is in a powerful negotiating position as United do not want him to leave for free next summer. If the 28-year-old refuses to sign a deal United may try to sell him in the current window to recoup a fee.

United are continuing the search for a technical director, who will assist in the long-term strategy of the club, but Rio Ferdinand, who had been in the frame, is now thought to be only an outside candidate.

Guardian services

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