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…
As quoted by The Guardian, Virgil van Dijk has issued a word of warning to Harry Maguire after the England international became the world’s most expensive defender following a move to Manchester United.
Van Dijk was the original holder of the record after he joined Liverpool in a £75m deal from Southampton in January 2018. But having seen Maguire fetch a reported £80m, the Reds centre-back has admitted that the fee involved will come with its own set of pressure.
He said: “Good luck to him. I can’t say anything about that because there was always going to be a time when it was going to change. That’s the market. He doesn’t have any influence on that but I wish him well. The price comes with pressure but it doesn’t change too much because you always have pressure at big clubs like Man United. But I wish him well.”
The weight of expectation on Maguire is perhaps two-fold. Not only does the world-record fee immediately mark him out in the history books, but there is certainly a sense the England international will have to lead United’s defensive transformation next season.
The Red Devils endured a difficult campaign at the back, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s captures of both Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka this summer is with a view of addressing that. But as has been seen with others, the size of a price tag can often be a huge, unbearable weight on someone’s shoulders.
Whilst Van Dijk has thrived and almost risen to the occasion even more because of it, others like Paul Pogba, Fernando Torres and Alvaro Morata, amongst others, have been held down by it. Maguire’s on-the-pitch persona radiates a sense of calmness and composure, but it remains to be seen whether the nature of his move to Old Trafford will affect his game in any way.