Is Harry Maguire worth the £80 million Manchester United spent?
By Joe Harker
Manchester United have finally got a deal to sign Harry Maguire over the line, sealing the deal for £80 million after a long period of speculation and haggling.
This is a world record fee for a defender and there has been some attempt to determine whether the deal is a good one or not.
Almost nobody would claim Maguire is the best defender in the world, though does that mean his anointment as the most expensive means he doesn't represent a good deal?
Writing in the Daily Mirror, Stan Collymore insists United have paid twice as much for Maguire as he is worth.
The former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker likes the centre back and thinks he's a very good player but compares him to Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk, the previous transfer record holder for his position.
Collymore thinks a fairer price for Maguire would have been around £40 million, instead of the £80 million United actually forked over for him.
Van Dijk cost £75 million in January 2018 and since then has gone onto establish himself as perhaps the best regarded defender in the current game, his presence transforming Liverpool and helping them reach two consecutive Champions League finals, winning the competition last season.
Maguire is not as good as Van Dijk, yet he broke the Dutchman's record and is now the most expensive defender in football. Collymore considers him to be worth around half his fee, so surely paying double the value means you've been taken for a ride?
The Counter Claim:
Not necessarily, according to Miguel Delaney of The Independent.
He admits that Maguire is not the best defender in the world, being some way off Van Dijk in terms of quality, but explains that other factors in the transfer pumped up the price to make the issue more complicated.
Price is not directly representative of the quality of a player. Factors such as nationality, contract length, desire to sell, desire to move and the wealth of the clubs involved play a part in the final price of a transfer. Many factors of the Maguire deal pumped up the price.
Besides, the worth of a transfer deal is not determined as soon as it is made, it is determined once people see whether the player is succeeding at their new club. It doesn't matter what United spent on him as long as he becomes a worthwhile player in their team.
None beyond the tiresome and disingenuous will be kicking up a fuss over Maguire's transfer fee if he turns out to be a success for United.
The Athletic reports that United were quoted £80 million back in May and tried to lower the price throughout June and July with little success.
It seems that many Premier League clubs aren't under much financial pressure to sell these days. The wealth provided by being in the league and clever squad building means clubs outside the top cabal aren't forced to sell up when one of the bigger boys comes knocking for their player.
The natural knock on effect to Leicester suddenly pocketing an £80 million fee and being in the market for a new centre back with just days left in the transfer window is that the clubs they are talking to quote huge prices at the Foxes.