By 90Min
July 04, 2018

Harry Kane has taken the majority of the headlines as far as England have been concerned at this summer's World Cup. Nothing less was expected from the new Three Lions captain after his incredible form at club level, but it is namesake Harry Maguire who is fast becoming a national hero himself after his excellent performances so far in the tournament.

Despite only making his senior international debut last year, Maguire has thankfully replaced Gary Cahill as an England starter and his accomplished and polished displays in recent weeks make it look as though he has been there for years.

It was just 12 months ago that the former Sheffield United starlet was completing a move to current club Leicester from a freshly relegated Hull side. Now, after showing his class on the global stage, particularly in a very difficult contest against Colombia during which he carried himself with great composure, one can't help but feel Maguire is destined for more.

That is where Manchester United come in.

Jose Mourinho is desperate to strengthen his defensive ranks this summer ahead of a crucial 2018/19 season and a centre back is near the top of his wish-list after already managing to secure deals for midfielder Fred and emerging full back Diogo Dalot.

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United have actually superficially been linked with Maguire for several months already, with a report from the Daily Express describing the Old Trafford club as 'favourites' to land the 25-year-old as recently as 22nd May. But there have been no stories of substance, while Maguire was not on the eight-man list the Manchester Evening News claimed that Mourinho has drawn up.

Instead, United look to be focusing on Toby Alderweireld, Jerome Boateng and Raphael Varane, a player who has been persistently linked with a move to Manchester for seven years.

It would surprise few to learn that Mourinho favours proven stars. But, interestingly, Caglar Soyuncu, a raw talent linked heavily with Arsenal, Inter's Milan Skriniar, who is seen as Slovakia's new Martin Skrtel, and Alessio Romagnoli of AC Milan are also on the alleged list.

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What Maguire would bring is the best of both worlds. He is a player who has earned a fine reputation in the Premier League already, while he remains young enough to be considered as someone with potential who can still grow into an elite defender at the right club.

The apparent pursuits of Alderweireld and Boateng should make fans feel uneasy. Both players are considered to have been among the best centre backs in the world in recent seasons, yet it is impossible to shake the feeling that they are now on the way down after seeing better days.

Alderweireld will be 30 years of age before the end of next season. He was only able to start 13 Premier League games in 2017/18 because a hamstring injury ruled him out from November to April, with knee trouble keeping him for a few weeks during the season before. And Tottenham are said to want £75m for him because that is how much Southampton got for Virgil van Dijk.

Frankly, it is a possible deal that simply doesn't seem worth it.

Then there is Boateng, another defender whose world class reputation precedes him but for whom the actual reality has been rather different. Since winning the World Cup in 2014, the ex-Manchester City defender has been ravaged by injuries. He's played in just 78 of Bayern Munich's last 152 Bundesliga games and is another fast approaching his 30th birthday.

The gossip is that Bayern would be willing to sell for £50m. Assuming that is the case, one has to wonder why because top clubs are not in the business of doing favours for each other.

Maguire, on the other hand, has a remarkable fitness record and has played regular league football since the age of 18 when he made the breakthrough at Sheffield United. Last season, he was a Premier League ever-present for Leicester, playing every minute.

Many of Sir Alex Ferguson's best United buys came from within the Premier League, players already proven in English football with room to grow. He paid close to £30m for Rio Ferdinand after the 2002 World Cup. The way that Maguire is performing in Russia 2018, the circumstances feel similar to Ferdinand should United and Mourinho be willing to chase him.

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