This feels like a huge summer for Manchester United with Erik Ten Hag looking to move on some established players and bring in talents who better align with his footballing mandate. 

Top of the Dutchman’s shopping list, his name underlined and bolded, is reputedly Harry Kane, the Spurs ace set to arrive at Old Trafford prior to 2023/24 for a considerable sum.


In the departure lounge meanwhile, Anthony Elanga, Eric Bailly and Donny van der Beek are all near-certs to leave but unquestionably the biggest headlines will accompany the likely exit of another English Harry, a player who became the world’s most expensive defender on joining United in July, 2019. 

What a fall from grace it’s been since. 

Indeed, it is interesting to revisit that period and acknowledge the Harry Maguire that the Reds signed, as opposed to the much-maligned and marginalised figure he has become. 

Four years ago, the Yorkshireman was held in extremely high regard, his signature chased by both Manchester giants, with City eventually dropping out when Leicester played hard-ball.

Just twelve months earlier, Maguire had played a pivotal role in England reaching a World Cup semi-final, completing a successful campaign that saw him secure Leicester’s Player of the Year merit.

Granted, his form tailed off thereafter but with so much transfer speculation surrounding the defender that was to be excused. 

He was ‘an elite player’, according to his former team-mate Michael Dawson, speaking to the BBC in the week his £80m transfer was confirmed ‘One day you will see him being a captain of Manchester United’. 

These words were prescient, with Maguire attaining the armband, just six months later, but really, if we’re being blunt about matters, that’s about the only projection of his career-defining move that has been realised. 

Because elsewhere, a series of poor displays for an immensely high-profile club saw Maguire become short-hand for United’s failures. 

Weighed down by his hefty price-tag and exposed too often by a malfunctioning midfield, the centre-back flailed, routinely caught out of position and prone to mishap, and as United’s odds each season in the Premier League betting became ever-more-distant so too did Maguire’s reputation plummet.

Harry Maguire to leave Man U

Online, he became a figure of fun, mocked by rival supporters, while the situation took a much darker turn last year when a bomb threat was delivered to his family home. 

Shorn of all confidence, Maguire made 16 individual errors last term that, directly or otherwise, resulted in goals conceded. 

Enter Erik Ten Hag, but any notion that the Dutchman’s appointment might signal a second act for the struggling stopper was soon dispelled when United shelled out just shy of £50m for Lisandro Martinez to partner a fit-again Raphael Varane. 

All season-long, Maguire has made a grand total of seven league starts with a recent injury crisis at the back leading to Ten Hag overlooking his club captain, instead reimagining Luke Shaw from his full-back berth.

Ironically, any interest in the 30-year-old was rebuffed by United last January but that was purely due to numbers, to wanting him available to them if needs must.

But with a full window ahead, and United looking to establish themselves once again in the Champions League betting, an extended loan deal surely beckons, for a player who once promised the world.

*Credit for all of the photos in this article belongs to AP Photo*

Stephen Tudor is a freelance football writer and sports enthusiast who only knows slightly less about the beautiful game than you do.

A contributor to FourFourTwo and Forbes, he is a Manchester City fan who was taken to Maine Road as a child because his grandad predicted they would one day be good.