Manchester United have made Harry Maguire the most expensive defender in history after paying Leicester £80m for his signature and the Old Trafford club clearly see enough in England's 2018 World Cup hero to hand him a six-year contract.

That's all perfectly fine. Maguire is a hungry and ambitious individual about to enter the peak of his career who fits the profile of player the club has been looking for. What good is it having other supremely gifted players if they don't want to put the effort in to perform?

In reality, the money paid is almost irrelevant. United have the revenue to afford such fees, it was all that Leicester would settle for, and there weren't many other appropriate options available.

But why, then, has it taken until three days before the Premier League transfer deadline, six days before United begin their season against Chelsea at Old Trafford, for this to happen?

As a club, United have been looking at Maguire since before last summer's World Cup. He became a serious target once more in recent months and Old Trafford officials should have had this one sewn up the day after the 2018/19 Premier League campaign was over.

Instead, there were weeks of wasted time. Leicester made it clear that there was a minimum asking price, and had the power to stick to it because of last September's contract renewal. But United, who have held firm on their own valuation of Romelu Lukaku in similar circumstances, consistently attempted to negotiate a lower figure when there was no negotiating to be done.

Negotiations are where every transfer begins, and this is not to say that United officials shouldn't have tried to talk Leicester down from a higher price. But it was clear for a long time that the Foxes weren't prepared to drop it - Brendan Rodgers publicly said as much several times.

The price tag was the price tag. Every transfer situation is unique, and, on this particular occasion, why not just pay up instead of needlessly prevaricating? The need for this player at this time outweighed any small victories at the negotiating table.

The result in reality is that Maguire, instead of joining United a month ago or earlier, has missed the whole of pre-season with his new teammates. That is six weeks of vital fitness training, tactical instruction and general bonding. Now, Maguire is thrown in at the deep end.

Set to partner Victor Lindelof, potentially for many years, Maguire is no doubt an upgrade on the existing centre back options at United. He will make Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's developing new look team better and will ultimately be seen as a good signing at an important time.

But had United been far more efficient getting the deal done they could have helped their newest star reach that level much quicker. They just didn't.