Harry Maguire, described as a “special player” by Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers, is set to become the world’s most expensive defender after Manchester United agreed to pay a reported fee of £80 million ($97 million).
The 26-year-old central defender – coveted by United since he starred as England reached the World Cup semi-finals – is to undergo a medical at United over the weekend. “The clubs have agreed (a fee) and there’s still some work for it to go through,” Rodgers told Sky Sports.
“He’s a special player, he’s not a player that, of course, we would want to lose.
“He’s a top-class player, he’s a good man as well, and everything about Harry over the course of this pre-season, he knows there has been interest over the summer and he’s been super professional.”
Maguire’s fee out-strips Dutch international Matthijs van Ligt who in July moved to Juventus from Ajax for a combined fee of 75 million euros plus 10.5 million euros of add-ons. De Ligt’s compatriot Virgil van Dijk cost Liverpool £75 million when he moved from Southampton in January 2018.
Maguire’s value has soared in five years, costing Hull just £2.5 million when they signed him from Sheffield United in 2014 – Leicester then snapped him up in 2017 for £12 million. Maguire becomes United’s third summer signing following full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James, who arrived from Crystal Palace and Swansea respectively.
His arrival – provided he agrees personal terms and passes his medical – should provide United with the leadership and authority that has been missing from their defence. They conceded 54 goals last term, only West Ham and Watford of the top 13 Premier League clubs let in more.
Maguire will give manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a surfeit of central defenders in taking the total to seven, although Ivory Coast international Eric Bailly is out of action till December with a knee injury.
Maguire made 69 Premier League appearances for Leicester and signed a new five-year contract with the Foxes last September. United’s transfer business is unlikely to stop there with a potential swap deal involving Argentinian striker Paulo Dybala joining them from Juventus and Belgian international Romelu Lukaku moving to the Italian champions.