This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking on talkSPORT, former England manager Sam Allardyce has insisted that Leicester star Harry Maguire could take his game to “another level” if he joins Manchester United this summer.
Reports in recent weeks have suggested that despite Leicester’s high valuation of the England international, United’s chase for Maguire’s signature is still “very much alive”.
Having seen Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk enjoy a formidable campaign at Liverpool following his move from the Saints back in January 2018, Allardyce drew comparisons between the Dutchman and Maguire.
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He said: “I think he’s worth £70m – £75m. He’s similar to Van Dijk, he’s very good on the ball and he comes out from the back. Van Dijk looks a little better since he’s gone to Liverpool and I think it would take Maguire to another level going to Manchester United and bring more out of him.
“It would be a massive move for him, but Leicester, they don’t have to sell. They’ve always hung out for the fee they want and got there in the end, so if United don’t have another alternative, I’m afraid they might have to pay a bit more than they expected.”
Such has been the level of van Dijk’s performances for Liverpool, that the desire to sign a commanding centre-half has seemingly increased ten-fold. United’s pursuit of Maguire certainly stems in part from seeing the transformational effect the Netherlands international has had on the Reds’ back-line, and a hope that the former can do the exact same at Old Trafford.
The Leicester centre-back enjoyed a fine World Cup campaign with England last summer before continuing to impress with the Foxes in the Premier League. The Red Devils’ creaky defence meanwhile saw them concede 54 goals in the top-flight – the highest of all the sides in the proverbial ‘big six’.
The need for the 26-year-old is undeniable. Whether he could go on to “another level” like Allardyce believes remains to be seen, although his performances certainly suggest he can continue to make the step up.