Harry Maguire is on the brink of joining West Ham United in a £30m transfer. While no longer a regular starter at Old Trafford, the England centre-back’s departure will still leave a hole in the squad. We’ll take a look at who the Harry Maguire replacement could be at Manchester United.
There seems little doubt that Erik ten Hag’s preferred central defensive pairing will again be Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane this season. Victor Lindelof also remains in Manchester and is again likely to be one of the primary back-up options, getting most of his game-time in the domestic cups unless one of Martinez and Varane is injured or rested.
However any big club with European commitments needs four reliable options in central defence and it’ll be interesting to see what Erik ten Hag and the club do now in terms of deciding on a Harry Maguire replacement.
Harry Maguire Replacement – The Options
Three names have emerged as the main contenders to replace Harry Maguire at Manchester United with the first of those being Jean-Clair Todibo. The 23 year old currently plays in Ligue 1 for Nice having previously been on the books of Barcelona who are due a percentage of any future fee.
Despite his relatively young age, Todibo has already played in three of Europe’s big five leagues and could soon make that four if he completes a transfer to United. He is yet to make his France debut but was called up to the senior squad for the first time in March and may be willing to settle for a squad role initially should he move to England.
An alternative option of a similar kind of profile to Todibo is Edmond Tapsoba. He’s a year older at 24 and has been making great progress in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen whilst playing regularly for the Burkina Faso national team.
As well as possessing a lot of pace and technical qualities with the ball at his feet which should suit Ten Hag’s style of play, Tapsoba is exactly the same height as Maguire at 6 foot 4 inches tall. Therefore he could be a strong option should Manchester United want to bring in a central defender who could compensate for the loss of Maguire’s aerial prowess.
Benjamin Pavard, open to leaving Bayern this summer and keen on Manchester United move. He'd love to join the club and try Premier League experience 🔴🇫🇷
Ten Hag will decide soon fav option between Pavard and Todibo; backup option, Tapsoba. pic.twitter.com/r2bybiA8G7
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) August 10, 2023
The club could opt to take a slightly different approach to sourcing a replacement for Harry Maguire. Rather than finding a young player who’d be willing to bide his time in a back-up role to Martinez and Varane, they may look at Bayern Munich’s Benjamin Pavard whose versatility would be a major asset for Ten Hag.
Comfortable with both feet, Pavard has predominantly been used as either a centre-back or a right-back during a career which included spells with Lille and Stuttgart before his 2019 move to Bavaria. A 2018 World Cup winner, he also has won 49 caps for France and may relish the opportunity to team up with compatriot Raphael Varane again at club level.
The 27 year old could potentially provide competition for Diogo Dalot and Aaron Wan-Bissaka at right-back whilst also slotting into central defence when needed.
An Existing Player
The final option would be not to buy a direct replacement for Harry Maguire and instead make use of existing options. That would be a risky strategy should one of Manchester United’s first choice options suffer an injury, however dependable left-back Luke Shaw has shown he is more than capable of filling in as a centre-back if needed.
In terms of other options, Eric Bailly is still officially a United player but is on the brink of a move to Besiktas. 21 year old academy graduate Teden Mengi is more likely to be sent out on loan again, but it’s possible that United could yet extend Jonny Evans’ short-term deal with the experienced defender likely to be more willing to accept a back-up role than their primary transfer targets.