Manchester United defender Harry Maguire is said to have turned down a more lucrative contract on offer from Manchester City in order to join the club he supported as a boy.
City were interested in Maguire earlier this summer, but the England centre-back eventually made the world record £80m switch to Old Trafford from Leicester.
The Daily Star has now made the bold claim that Maguire turned down a contract worth £278,000-per-week at the Etihad Stadium. That alleged deal was almost £100,000 less than he is thought to be on across Manchester and could have been worth £70m over its full length.
The tabloid newspaper goes on to state that Maguire would have been the highest paid player in the world after hold ‘extensive talks’ with City, but his heart was always set on United.
The Star paints Pep Guardiola’s admission that Maguire was ‘too expensive’ for City as something of a public face-saving mission. However, in all honesty, the report reads very much like a PR exercise for the other side rather than genuine investigative journalism.
“Maguire is an excellent, top class player. We were interested but we could not afford it. United can afford it,” Guardiola stated at a press conference soon after the deal was done.
Neither United nor City had been willing to meet Leicester’s £80m valuation for Maguire. For City in particular it would have meant shattering their previous £60m transfer record.
Maguire was named man of the match on his United debut last week as his new team thrashed Chelsea 4-0 in the opening game of the Premier League season.
It has previously been said that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sees the 26-year-old as potential captain material and now The Sun explains that Maguire has already been showing his leadership qualities in the two weeks since his arrival.
“He’s the leader United have missed for some time,” a ‘source’ told the newspaper.
“The players were immediately excited by the prospect of him arriving. He’s given the back-four renewed confidence, not just by his ability but his words. The team feel stronger defending set-pieces now.”