Harry Maguire will help Man United into top four, says Danny Murphy, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Harry Maguire will help Man United into top four, says Danny Murphy

Ex-Reds midfielder Murphy makes claim after United sign defender for $134.5m

Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy believes Manchester United will break into the English Premier League's top four this season, following their acquisition of Harry Maguire yesterday.

United signed Leicester City centre-back Maguire, 26, on a six-year contract, with the option to extend for a further year, Reuters reported.

The British media reported the transfer fee to be in the region of £80 million (S$134.5m), making Maguire the most expensive defender in the world. The fee eclipses the £75m Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil van Dijk last year.

"I've got a feeling they will improve through financial power - particularly now they have signed Maguire - and will join Tottenham Hotspur in the top four," the Metro quoted Murphy as saying.

With Manchester City, Liverpool, United and Spurs in the top four, Murphy expects Chelsea and "vulnerable" Arsenal to make up the top six.

"That will mean heartbreak for Chelsea," said Murphy.

"They have made the right appointments in Frank Lampard (manager) and Jody Morris (assistant manager), but will have to be patient.

"They have lost Eden Hazard (to Real Madrid) and are under a transfer ban.

"Arsenal look most vulnerable. It would be good to see someone else break through, but the Gunners have too much firepower in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and new boy Nicolas Pepe to lose their status."

Another former Reds star shared similar sentiments, saying that United are going down the path of City and Liverpool by sorting out the defence first.

In his column for the Mirror, Robbie Fowler said: "The signing of Maguire could be a game-changer for United.

"In snapping up Maguire, United are going down the same road previously trodden by the two pace-setters.

"Get the defence right and everything else follows. It's interesting City and Liverpool addressed those areas incredibly strongly in the past two seasons, spending record fees on defenders (and goalkeepers).

"United have now done the same with Maguire and I expect that to have an effect.

"If they are harder to score against, they will find it easier to build a platform to use their attacking players to win matches - Liverpool's template last season."

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer described Maguire as "one of the best centre-backs in the game today".

"He is a great reader of the game and has a strong presence on the pitch, with the ability to remain calm under pressure - coupled with his composure on the ball and a huge presence in both boxes," Solskjaer said.

"I can see he will fit well into this group both on and off the pitch... He has a great personality and is a fantastic addition to the club."

Maguire, who helped England reach last year's World Cup semi-finals, made 76 appearances for the Foxes, scoring five goals.

"I am delighted to have signed for this great club. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Leicester and would like to thank everyone at the club, and the fans, for their fantastic support over the past two seasons," Maguire said.


"However, when United come knocking on your door, it is an incredible opportunity.

"From my conversations with the manager, I am excited about the vision and plans he has for the team.

"It's clear to see that Ole is building a team to win trophies. I am now looking forward to meeting my new teammates and getting the season started."

City manager Pep Guardiola congratulated United on the Maguire deal.

"Maguire is an excellent, top-class player," said Guardiola after the Community Shield win over Liverpool on Sunday.

"We were interested, but we could not afford him.

"He had an incredible World Cup, strong in the air, good with the ball and drives with the ball so fast... and has all the qualities to work for United. Congratulations to United for the signing."