By 90Min
June 24, 2019

Manchester United are deemed 'confident' of landing Leicester and England defender Harry Maguire this summer but a conflicting report on the subject conversely claims that Manchester City are the club likely to land the 26-year-old in what would be a new world-record deal.

Maguire has been heavily linked with United for well over a year, emerging as a potential target shortly before a starring role for England at last summer's World Cup in Russia. City have since come on the scene in the wake of club legend Vincent Kompany's departure to Anderlecht.

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Maguire ultimately signed a new long-term contract at Leicester last September after the Foxes resisted a sale, but the consensus is now that the club will struggle to keep hold of the former Hull and Sheffield United defender amid strong interest for a second successive summer.

There is, however, no consensus as to which club the player will join.

That is because opposing reports continue to emerge. On one hand, the Daily Mirror claims that 'Harry Maguire is set to seal a world-record £80million switch to Manchester City this week', yet on the other hand, the Evening Standard has it that United are 'confident' of beating their rivals.

As far as the Mirror is concerned, Maguire has 'told friends' that the offer to join back-to-back reigning Premier League champions and domestic treble winners City is 'too good to turn down'.

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The report also describes Maguire as 'ambitious', something he himself alluded to last summer, and notes the opportunity to play in the Champions League if he joins City - United, of course, have failed to qualify for Europe's top competition in 2019/20 after finishing sixth last season.

However, the Mirror also acknowledges that United 'refuse to give up' and that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is 'pushing hard'. That ties into what the Standard says about United believing they can beat City to the punch by outbidding their neighbours.

The player was the subject of the nonsensical and these days unavoidable 'social media transfer hint' reports over the weekend, but took to Twitter to deny he intentionally meant to 'like' an Instagram post that suggested he might be joining United.

Leicester are said to value Maguire at £90m, although apparently neither United nor City are willing to spend that much. But with Virgil van Dijk costing Liverpool £75m in January 2018, it is certainly very feasible that there could be a new world-record fee for a defender.

A bidding war would represent new territory for City. While the club has spent a fortune on new players since Pep Guardiola arrived as manager in 2016, their transfer policy has seen them unwilling to shell out the real premium fees compared to the rest of the wealthy clubs in Europe.

As such, City's record buy - £60m for Riyad Mahrez - is around £30m less than United's - £89m for Paul Pogba - as well as being less than Chelsea's or Liverpool's, and the club has declined to outbid United in the past when the pair have battled for Fred and Alexis Sanchez.

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Paying in excess of £75m, and up to the reported £80m, would therefore be significant new territory for City. And it may be that we have to see it before we actually believe it.

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