Harry Maguire has excelled this season and Manchester United have developed into a real force, but who should partner the Englishman moving forward?
Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Victor Lindelof and the list continues. It’s safe to say that Maguire has had no shortage of defensive partners since joining the club.
However, you could argue that it’s now time for United to invest in a defender who can consistently feature alongside the England international.
Maguire has been one of United’s stand-out performers in defence this season. The former Leicester City man has featured in every Premier League fixture for the Red Devils and has earned a WhoScored rating of 7.05.
Although, with the club 13 points adrift from league-leaders Manchester City, United need to make additions and an area for improvement could be Maguire’s defensive partner.
But who has been linked with a potential move to United?
Are these players capable of making the cut or should United stick with Victor Lindelof?
GIVEMESPORT writers Tom Kelly, Sam Brookes, Jonathan Gorrie and Josh Cole offer their verdicts.
“If Maguire wants, Maguire should get!
“The Red Devils are rumoured to be interested in the Brighton & Hove Albion defender and he will reportedly be available for £35m, as per The Sun. Following a successful season in the Championship with Leeds, he’s made the step up to the Premier League with his parent club and proved his worth in the division.
“Furthermore, Maguire himself has apparently told Solskjaer that he would like an English-speaking centre-back with Premier League experience to partner him and specifically mentioned White. The England international believes that by bringing a player of this calibre, this will complement his game.
“At just 23, White is still developing and could potentially become a top Premier League defender. Additionally, Solskjaer could potentially get the very best out of Maguire by bringing White to Old Trafford.”
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“Andersen would be a brilliant signing.
“Some may sneer at United chasing a centre-back who could be about to get relegated with Fulham, but Andersen has been a major positive for Scott Parker’s team this year.
“Fulham were a shambles at the back when Andersen arrived, having conceded 14 goals in their first six games. However, they have now shipped just 43 goals all season – only two bottom half clubs have a better defensive record.
“Ultimately, Fulham’s lack of goals looks likely to see them go down, so this should not be a reflection on Andersen.
“At 24, he seems to be only getting better. He has captained Fulham on a number of occasions this year and is a commanding presence at the back who would slot in seamlessly alongside Harry Maguire.”
“The issue isn’t Lindelof.
“It’s Nemanja Matic. It’s Fred.
“Without a mobile central defensive midfielder of note, whoever plays at the heart of the last line for United will be caught out.
“Clearly, more mobile options such as Raphael Varane might be able to cover large spaces but even then you’re dragging one centre-back out of position and potentially leaving Maguire exposed.
“Matic, these days, looks slow and his average (per WhoScored) of 1.3 tackles per game has him ranking as low as eighth in the United squad. Fred, meanwhile, has never wholly convinced and was recently slammed by Paul Scholes for his lax defensive showing against Roma.”
“In order for United to close the gap between them and Manchester City next-season, they have to boost their defensive options by signing a world-class centre-back this summer.
“Whilst Maguire has illustrated that he is more than capable of delivering the goods at Premier League level during his time at Old Trafford, a failure to establish a fruitful partnership with Lindelof or Bailly has hindered his side’s progress in recent months.
“In need of a mobile central defender who has a proven track-record of performing at the highest level, United should splash the cash on Varane as he would convert them into title-contenders in an instant.
“As well as winning a host of major trophies during his spell with Real Madrid, the France international has averaged a better WhoScored match rating (6.87) than what Bailly and Lindelof have achieved for the Red Devils in the top-flight and thus he would be a game-changing addition.”