Maguire - 80 Million Dollar Mistake

November 22, 2022   

In the summer of 2019, Manchester United broke the bank to sign Harry Maguire from Leicester City for a whopping 80 million dollars, making him the most expensive defender in history. Fast forward to present day, and it’s safe to say that the move has been nothing short of a calamity for both the player and the club.

The Mistake

Maguire was meant to be the solution to United’s defensive woes, a commanding presence at the back who could lead the team with his vocal presence and aerial ability. However, what they got instead was a slow, cumbersome liability who is constantly caught out of position and prone to making costly errors. His lack of pace and positional awareness has been ruthlessly exposed by opponents, leaving him flailing in their wake.

It’s not just the financial aspect of Maguire’s signing that makes it a mistake, but also the psychological impact it has had on the team. The club handed him the captain’s armband almost immediately after his arrival, putting a massive weight on his shoulders and making it difficult for him to settle into the team. It was a classic case of too much, too soon, and it has backfired spectacularly.

The Incompetence

Maguire is incompetent in almost every aspect of the game. His tackles always result in fouls, his man-marking skills leave him easily beaten, and his positioning disrupts the team’s defense. Despite his ability to head the ball well, he consistently pushes other players. His nerves and lack of ability worry not only fans, but also his teammates. It’s obvious to anyone who watches him play, and even Ten Hag is struggling to decide what to do with him. On one hand, he’s a dedicated captain and a good person, but on the other hand, he simply doesn’t have the talent to excel at Manchester United. It’s also worsened by Southgate’s insistence of playing Maguire in the national team which deludes Maguire into believing that he doesn’t need to change his game, improve himself and blames everyone but himself.

The Challenge

Harry Maguire is facing several challenges that are difficult to overcome as a player. Firstly, the media circus surrounding him turns him into a hero and a pantomime villain simultaneously. Secondly, the Captaincy weighs heavily on him, causing him to overthink everything. Finally, his lack of pace and positioning leaves him vulnerable to quick opponents, causing him to hesitate and make avoidable mistakes. While Vidic was a slow CB, he never hesitated and committed fully, as did Terry. Giving Maguire the armband too soon was a mistake, as he needed time to grow into the role. Fernandes, on the other hand, is growing into the role of captain and becoming a different player when he wears the armband. The English media and pundits are also to blame here. Pundits such as Neville, Carragher or Souness will never put things into perspective, focusing on Maguire’s past successes in tournaments and affable personality while ignoring his recent struggles.

The Solution

Maguire needs to relinquish the captaincy. Give it to someone who can handle the pressure, who won’t be constantly second-guessed by the media and the fans. Someone like Bruno Fernandes, who seems to thrive under the spotlight. Let Maguire focus on his game, on being the best center-back he can be.

Maguire also needs to stop trying to be something he’s not. He’s not a quick center-back, he’s never going to catch up to a speedster like Kylian Mbappe. But he’s a good header of the ball, he’s strong in the air, and he’s a decent passer. He needs to play to his strengths and stop trying to do too much. Let the other defenders cover for him when he gets beat, and focus on his own game.

The Exit

Finally, It is time for Maguire to move on from Manchester United, a club that does not seem to play to his strengths. He needs to find a team that values his abilities and can provide an environment where he can thrive. Teams like Westham or Leicester would be a great fit for Maguire, where they play a low block and two banks of four, just like the England National team. This will allow him to focus on organizing the defense, heading the ball and closing channels that attackers exploit.

Maguire is a player who excels in closing space for speedier attackers by forcing them to dribble wide, blocking their crosses, or shielding the ball away. These are simple yet effective strategies that he can employ at Manchester United, but the club’s insistence on dominating possession and playing a high defensive line have created huge spaces for opponents to run into, which has ultimately led to Maguire’s struggles.

Moving to a team that plays to his strengths will not only provide Maguire with the opportunity to showcase his abilities but also allow him to regain his confidence and form. It might be a step down from Manchester United, but it will be a step in the right direction for his career. It is time for Maguire to take control of his destiny and find a team that will allow him to flourish.

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