The Harry Maguire transfer saga appears to be reaching its conclusion amid reports West Ham have a deal in place to sign the central defender from Manchester United.
Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag made it clear to the 30-year-old last season that he didn’t feature in his plans moving forward, using him sporadically during the 2022/23 campaign before stripping him of the captaincy during pre-season.
Having initially said he wanted to stay and fight for his place at Old Trafford, the loss of the skipper’s armband has apparently changed Maguire’s mind on his future and he’s now keen to start afresh at West Ham.
The Hammers have £105million burning a hole in their pocket after selling Declan Rice to Arsenal last month and are ready to spend some of it on Maguire and Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse, as they bid to cause a transfer splash on the eve of the new season.
|What||Bournemouth v West Ham|
|When||15:00, Saturday 12th August|
|Odds||Bournemouth 17/10, Draw 12/5, West Ham 31/20|
It’s been widely reported West Ham have agreed deals worth in the region of £30million each for both Maguire and Ward-Prowse with Manchester United and Southampton respectively.
Should the London outfit complete the deals, they would be the first signings of what’s been a quiet summer that’s only featured outgoings to this point.
Rice, Gianluca Scamacca, Nikola Vlasic, Arthur Masuaku and Manuel Lanzini have all moved on from the London Stadium, but the flow of players looks like it's about to make a welcome change with the news on Maguire and Ward-Prowse, and the pursuit of Ajax's Edson Alvarez.
Although the season ended with them winning the Europa Conference League, West Ham spent much of the season worried about their Premier League status as they flirted with relegation.
Moyes was lucky to hang on to his job and would appear to be in need of a strong summer transfer window to rejuvenate his squad in order to avoid another brush with the bottom three.
Alvarez and Ward-Prowse will be tasked with filling the massive void in midfield left by Rice, while Maguire will look to bolster a defence that shipped 55 goals in the league last term.
Signing Maguire for £30m might seem like a shrewd bit of business given United paid Leicester £80m just over four years ago - a world record fee for a defender at the time - signing him to a big-money six-year contract.
Despite the massive fee, the general consensus was United had completed a good piece of business, the centre-back having previously been pinpointed by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola as a replacement for Vincent Kompany.
The ex-Hull City and Sheffield United ace had won over many fans with his performances for England, particularly in the 2018 World Cup, and his man-of-the-people persona that had seen him attend Euro 2016 as a fan.
But he steadily lost his shine at Old Trafford and had the finger of blame poointed at him on a consistent basis during a difficult 2021/22 season for United, which saw the end of the Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reign, the man who brought Maguire to the club.
The arrival of ten Hag offered Maguire a fresh chance but he struggled during the early days of the Dutchman’s reign and he started just six more league games after the 4-0 defeat at Brentford in August.
He still managed 30 appearances last season but, by the end of the campaign, he had fallen behind Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Victor Lindelof and even left-back Luke Shaw in the centre-back pecking order.
Maguire at least didn’t leave Old Trafford empty-handed, picking up the EFL Cup in February following a two-minute cameo appearance in the final.
And despite falling out of favour at Manchester United, Maguire also managed to keep his place in the England team, starting all five of the Three Lions’ games at the 2022 World Cup.
He also played the full 90 minutes in all four of England’s Euro 2024 qualifiers in March and June, but his place in the team has been coming under scrutiny.
Boss Gareth Southgate had revealed his concern over Maguire’s situation in May and intermated he needed to make a move this summer in order to protect his place in the national side.
Maguire looks to have heeded Southgate’s warning and is ready to embrace a new challenge at West Ham, where he’ll expect to feature regularly.
A change of scene offers Maguire the opportunity to start a new chapter in his career, but he has his work cut out to change the perspective on a player that’s gone from Mr Dependable to a liability in the eyes of many.