Football News

Man Utd ‘battling City’ for only Premier League centre-back more aerially dominant than Van Dijk

By Ben Green

Published: 18:11, 16 June 2019

Manchester United and Manchester City are set to battle for the signature of Leicester City’s aerially dominant Harry Maguire this summer. 

The England centre-back outshone Virgil van Dijk in 2018/19 for aerial duels contested and has been linked with a move to the North West.

Could Maguire leave Leicester? Five things to know…

  • Maguire had the highest PL success rate (78.2%) of any player to have contested at least 30 aerial duels in 2018/19.
  • As such, rumours  have been rife the defender will leave the King Power Stadium this summer.
  • Man Utd and City have both been mooted with a move for Maguire.
  • Leicester City will reportedly allow the 26-year-old to leave the club this summer.
  • It is believed Ed Woodward could be willing to sanction funds of up to £90m to secure the England international.

Both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Pep Guardiola will be in need of defensive reinforcements this summer, notably the latter having lost Vincent Kompany to Anderlecht, as well as doubts surrounding Nicolas Otamendi’s future.

Meanwhile, Solskjaer has wasted no time in trying to revamp his defence, having already seen advances for Crystal Palace’s Aaron Wan-Bissaka pushed back by the south London club.

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The Red Devils are expected to table a fresh offer for the talented right-back, but will also look to prise Maguire away from East Midlands, with Leicester City supposedly willing to let the defender leave.

As part of a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ with late Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the Foxes will honour a promise to allow Maguire to leave, but only if the bidding club matches his valuation.

Man Utd could offer a sum in the region of £90m for Maguire’s services, while City are supposedly reluctant to lodge any offer in excess of £80m.

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Solskjaer seeking home talent

As part of Solskjaer’s rebuilding process at Old Trafford, the Norwegian coach has so far looked to bring home talent to the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ rather than recruiting form overseas.

The 13-time Premier League champions have already concluded a deal for Swansea City winger Daniel James for a fee in the region of £15m.

United have also been in the hunt for the aforementioned Wan-Bissaka, as well as Newcastle United midfielder Sean Longstaff, who recently admitted he was “flattered” by interest from the heavyweight club.

Elsewhere, West Ham’s Issa Diop has also emerged as a possible candidate to add significant firepower to Solskjaer’s defence, with reports associating his name to Man Utd.