Manchester United are “miles away” from meeting Leicester City’s £80 million valuation for England defender Harry Maguire, sources have told ESPN FC.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has identified the 26-year-old as the solution to his team’s defensive problems after initially targeting Ajax and Netherlands defender Matthijs de Ligt, who is close to completing a move to Juventus.
But having made an initial offer of just £40m for Maguire last month, United remain a substantial distance from matching Leicester’s wanting price for a player the Foxes signed from Hull City for an initial fee of £12m two years ago.
Maguire has since helped England reach the World Cup semifinals in Russia and established himself as one of the Premier League’s leading defenders. But with Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers told by the club’s hierarchy that he is under no pressure to sell, the 2015-16 league champions are prepared to hold out for a world record fee for a defender, exceeding the £75m Liverpool paid for Virgil van Dijk in January 2018, before even considering a sale.
Sources say United are prepared to return with a £60m offer for Maguire, but there is no expectation at Old Trafford that a deal is imminent or that a breakthrough is close.
There is confidence within United, however, that Maguire is keen to move to the club, despite their failure to qualify for this season’s Champions League.
But with the Premier League transfer deadline just over three weeks away, United are faced with the prospect of having to substantially increase their valuation of Maguire in order to get a deal over the line.