MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – Manchester United made Harry Maguire the world’s most expensive defender on Monday, signing him from Leicester City for around $100 million.
United said the 26-year-old center-back signed a six-year contract with an option for another season.
A person with knowledge of the deal said Friday that United had struck a deal with Leicester to pay £80 million ($97 million) for Maguire. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the financial details are not being disclosed.
“He is a great reader of the game and has a strong presence on the pitch,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said, “with the ability to remain calm under pressure, coupled with his composure on the ball and a huge presence in both boxes, I can see he will fit well into this group both on and off the pitch.”
The fee eclipses the deals for Matthijs de Ligt to leave Ajax for Juventus last month for €75 million (then $85 million), and for Virgil van Dijk to join Liverpool from Southampton for up to £75 million in January 2018.
United is trying to return to the Champions League after finishing sixth in the Premier League last season. United, which opens the campaign on Sunday against Chelsea, hasn’t won the league since Alex Ferguson’s last season in charge in 2013.
Jose Mourinho won the Europa League and League Cup in 2017 but left last year after a drop in form, leading to Solskjaer’s hiring.
“I think we’ve got to start winning trophies again and that’s something the gaffer (manager) wants to bring to the club,” Maguire said, “and his winning mentality as well, which will help all the boys.
“It’s something that I’m sure him and his staff will all try to bring to the club and we’re all looking forward to it.”
Leicester will be receiving £80 million two years after paying around a fifth of that fee to sign Maguire from Hull.
In other news, former England captain Wayne Rooney is in advanced talks with Derby County about joining the Championship club as player-coach, Sky Sports News reported on Monday.
Derby’s new Dutch manager Phillip Cocu declined to comment on the reports but Sky said England’s record goal scorer was due to fly to the Midlands to discuss the details of the deal.
The 33-year-old ex-Manchester United and Everton striker, who has two years left on his contract with MLS club DC United, has previously spoken of his desire to go into management.
The BBC reported that Derby owner Mel Morris believes Rooney could help to get the club back into the Premier League.
“At the moment I can’t say anything,” Cocu told Sky Sports after Derby beat Huddersfield Town 2-1 in their opening fixture of the new Championship campaign.
“Like I said before the game we are working on completing the team. It isn’t complete yet. I cannot say anything about names before things are done.”