Ever since Erik ten Hag first walked through the door at Old Trafford last summer, it has felt like Harry Maguire’s days as a Manchester United player have been numbered. Aside from the problems and blunders that have blighted the centre-back’s game in recent years, Maguire was never realistically going to be the right defender for Ten Hag’s style of play.
With Lisandro Martínez and Raphael Varane quickly installed as United’s first choice central defensive pairing, Maguire’s future was already in doubt by the early stages of last season. Losing the captaincy this summer may prove the final straw for the England man.
A transfer may suit all parties over the coming weeks and in West Ham, Maguire has a potential destination that may just allow him to start afresh at a new club where his skill set would be more valued. The Hammers have cash to spend after selling Declan Rice to Arsenal for a fee that exceeded £100m and Maguire may be the perfect man to bolster their defence.
Why West Ham should sign Harry Maguire
A point to prove
Sometimes when players move to new clubs towards the end of their careers, there is a clear sense that the hunger has gone and the decline has already set in. That can be a slippery slope but in Maguire’s case, West Ham would surely be getting a player that will arrive eager to prove a point to his many critics and relaunch his career in a new environment.
At 30, he is still a good age for a centre-back and West Ham could expect to get several good years out of Maguire should he move to the London Stadium. They'd be aiming to rebuild his confidence to the point where he’s more like the £80m defender that Manchester United signed from Leicester in 2019.
Despite his problems, Maguire has retained the faith of England manager Gareth Southgate and has rarely let his country down. Holding on to that starting berth for the Three Lions will also be a major source of motivation for Maguire with Euro 2024 on the horizon and the next World Cup three years away.
A good tactical fit
While not faultless in an England shirt, Maguire has looked much more comfortable playing in a slightly more conservative set-up where he’s afforded more protection in a team that doesn’t defend such a high line.
That would certainly be more the case at West Ham than it is in Manchester with David Moyes often setting his team up to defend deep. That would help to compensate for Maguire’s main weakness which is his lack of pace.
In theory, West Ham could be a really good tactical fit for Maguire. Moyes does have some solid defensive options in the form of Kurt Zouma and Nayef Aguerd but with European football, there is certainly room in the squad to bring in another high level central defender and Maguire would fit the bill.
West Ham need a leader after Rice exit
Another thing that Harry Maguire would bring is his leadership qualities. The departure of Declan Rice leaves a big void in that department and West Ham will be hungry to bring in the right people as well as the right players this summer to ensure the dressing room remains strong and united.
Maguire is an experienced skipper. He was appointed captain within six months of his arrival at Manchester United and would be a strong candidate to immediately take over the captaincy should he move to West Ham.
While skippering West Ham is still a big responsibility given the size and history of a club that has produced some of the great English leaders, Maguire would at least be spared some of the constant media glare that has followed him at Manchester United.
On many levels, Maguire feels like the right man for West Ham, but talk of a potential move is still at a relatively early stage with the centre-back currently on pre-season duty with the Red Devils in the USA.