This article is part of Football FanCast’s Transfer Focus series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent transfer news…
As quoted by The Daily Mail, Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has revealed the pressure of being the world’s most expensive defender will be the main problem facing Harry Maguire at Old Trafford.
After a long and protracted saga, United pulled off the biggest deal of the summer in the Premier League when they signed Maguire for a reported £80m.
Having seen the England international’s move surpass Virgil van Dijk’s £75m transfer to Liverpool, Ferdinand believes Maguire faces a tough test in trying to prove his worth.
He said: “When you walk in there, you know everyone is saying – from the players in the team, to the dinner ladies – what’s £80m getting you? They’re looking you up and down, sizing you up, your first touch on the training pitch, your first pass. The way he manages that will determine how he does, definitely how he starts.
“The moment you start sitting there and think people are doubting you, that’s when you have problems. When they’re thinking: ‘£80m? That isn’t worth £80m’… then you’re having problems.”
Make no mistake about it, van Dijk has truly transformed the way big-money deals for defenders get completed. The Dutchman has played a major role in Liverpool’s success since his arrival and there have been no questions about whether he is worth the price tag.
As Ferdinand suggests, whilst the rest of the world will be looking on with keen interest, Maguire’s own teammates will be casting their eye over him too. For a team that conceded the most goals out of the Premier League’s top-six last season, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that the Red Devils are looking at Maguire to solve most, perhaps even all, of their defensive problems.
Can the former Leicester star handle the pressure of being United’s main man in defence? Can he help inspire his fellow teammates like van Dijk has done at Anfield? As the season goes on, the Red Devils will get more of an inkling about whether the £80m was money well spent.