In recent days Manchester United have been strongly linked to a move for Sheffield United centre-half Harry Maguire, who is likely to cost in the region of £4m from the Bramall Lane outfit. Here we run the rule over the 20-year-old prospect.
As Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic continue to steward the United backline into their dotage David Moyes is looking to pick up another young defender who could form part of Old Trafford’s next defensive generation.
With the fitness of the veteran pair needing to be carefully managed and Phil Jones and Chris Smalling also prone to injuries the Red Devils will need a coherent vision of where their defence is going if they are to defend their Premier League title.
They can be backed to do so at 4/1 and Maguire – a virtual ever-present for the last two campaigns – rates a durable recruit with their current defensive fragility in mind.
Sheffield United’s upcoming match with Carlisle will represent the 100th match in which he has played alongside centre-half colleague Neil Collins for the Blades and his 122nd appearance in total.
Having won the man of the match award after coming on as a half-time substitute on his debut, he was very much in the thoughts of Sir Alex Ferguson before the great man’s departure, with regular scouting parties sent to view him in Yorkshire last term.
In fact he’d probably been on Fergie’s radar even before then, having previously impressed against the Red Devils in the 2011 FA Youth Cup final.
The old sage would surely have been left purring by Maguire’s contribution to a defensive collective that kept a division-leading 21 clean sheets in 2012/13.
His formidable 6ft 4in frame means he’s an imposing presence in the air, both in defence and when attacking set-pieces.
Meanwhile, his ball control and composure with the orb at his feet set him apart from the average League One centre-back and while he is not lightning-quick, his pace hasn’t been exposed at the level at which he’s currently playing.