Football News

Harry Maguire: Man Utd have signed a statistically unique centre-back

By Harry Edwards

Published: 13:03, 5 August 2019

Manchester United have confirmed the signing of centre-back Harry Maguire from Leicester City for a record-breaking fee of £80m.

The 26-year-old had been linked with a move to Old Trafford for the past year following his performances for England at the 2018 World Cup.

Maguire a game-changer for Man Utd? Five things to know…

  • Harry Maguire, 26, joined Leicester from Hull City in 2017 for £17m.
  • Man Utd have made a big statement, signing the 26-year-old for £80m.
  • Maguire won more aerial duels (33) than any other defender at the 2018 World Cup.
  • He has also completed more dribbles (96) than any Premier League centre-back over the last three seasons.
  • Maguire is United’s third signing of the summer after Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bisakka.

Maguire eluded United last season as Leicester held firm. One year on and the deal is now complete.

He signs on a six-year deal. The £80m paid by the 20-time English champions sees Maguire overtake Virgil van Dijk as the most expensive defender in world football, with Liverpool having spent £75m on their Dutch centre-half in 2018.

“Harry is one of the best centre-backs in the game today and I am delighted we have secured his signature,” Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said.

Solskjaer went on to highlight Maguire as “a huge presence in both boxes.” The numbers bear out this assessment. Only three defenders have outscored Maguire (7) during the three previous campaigns. And he is one of only eight defenders to have won over 300 aerial duels during this time.

Maguire also ranks among the top 10 defenders in terms of interceptions (148) since Premier League 2016/17 and Solskjaer explained how his “reading of the game” was one of the reasons United have signed him.

Most impressively, Maguire’s “composure on the ball” has allowed him to become the division’s most prolific ball-carriers in terms of centre-back. He has completed 96 dribbles since arriving in the Premier League with Hull City and is way out on his own, statistically, in this regard. Put in context, Maguire’s total figure is 31 more than the closest centre-back, Jan Vertonghen (65), and higher even than all of the competition’s full-backs apart from Arthur Masuaku.

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Maguire himself told his new club’s official website: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Leicester and would like to thank everyone at the club, and the fans, for their fantastic support over the past two seasons. However, when Manchester United come knocking on your door, it is an incredible opportunity.

“From my conversations with the manager, I am excited about the vision and plans he has for the team. It’s clear to see that Ole is building a team to win trophies. I am now looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and getting the season started.”

Maguire is Man Utd’s third signing of the season, joining Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka as new arrivals at Old Trafford.