By Joe Harker
Manchester United are reportedly about to sign Leicester City centre back Harry Maguire for £80 million, a world record fee for a defender.
All right, the fee is actually going to be split between a payment of £60 million with £20 million more in add-ons to follow.
However, is a defender who has no Champions League experience and no trophies really worth what could end up being a world record fee?
That's a matter for United to consider, but they apparently want Maguire enough to pay such a large amount for him.
When it comes to Maguire's price the context of the deal does a lot of the heavy lifting. United desperately need a centre back, everyone knows they've got money to spend, Leicester are in no hurry to sell and English players tend to carry a premium price.
While a sane and sensible market wouldn't see Maguire go for anything close to £80 million the simple truth is it's not a sane and sensible market. Either United want the defender and pay a huge fee or they don't and they don't.
If United want a cheaper centre back there are others available. Tottenham Hotspur defender Toby Alderweireld reportedly has a £25 million release clause. He is more experienced than Maguire but his age would make him a shorter term option.
United's strategy is to target younger British players with the potential to develop. At 26, Maguire is not really a young player but he fits the other criteria.
Does he fit the profile of the player United are trying to sign? Yes. Would he dramatically improve the quality of the starting XI? Yes. Can the club afford him? Yes.
The Counter Claim:
However, there's acknowledging the market is mad and then there's fueling some of that madness yourself.
There are better, cheaper options for United to be pursuing. They might have a certain criteria of signing they want to make but are they really going to spend tens of millions more on one player because he ticks some boxes when there's better options available?
Besides, the Daily Telegraph reports that Leicester are confident they'll still have Maguire next season.
They also report that United don't consider Maguire to be worth £80 million and see him somewhere in the £50 - £60 million range. That seems a more realistic estimation of the defender's value considering the current world record for a defender is the £75 million Liverpool paid for Virgil Van Dijk.
Meanwhile, the Evening Standard reports that United won't overpay for Maguire, with Leicester's asking price closer to £90 million.
Manchester United have already had an offer of £70 million rejected by Leicester City. With the clubs apart in their valuations a deal for £80 million would see them meeting in the middle.
United are expected to continue their pursuit of Maguire, with The Independent calling recent reports of a deal being done "premature".
United have had a few other windows of opportunity to sign the centre back, including last season and long before that when he was still at Sheffield United.
Part of the reasoning behind signings like Daniel James is that they won't miss out on chances to sign players they knew about, thus saving a lot of money in the long term.