Manchester United’s Maguire swoop branded “ridiculous” by Dean Saunders

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 Wales international Dean Saunders has questioned Manchester United’s decision to pay a reported £80m for Harry Maguire when they could have paid the release clause for Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld.

What did he say?

Reports in recent weeks have suggested that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side are very much intent on signing Leicester centre-back Harry Maguire and have seemingly not been put off by the sizeable valuation being placed on the 26-year-old.

Alderweireld’s reported release clause of £25m is understood to be expiring on Friday, and Saunders has now questioned why the Red Devils haven’t turned their attentions towards the Belgian.

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He said: “It’s got ridiculous now, hasn’t it? £80million for Harry Maguire. It’s not his fault, but where is it going to stop?

“Would you take Toby Alderweireld for £25million or Harry Maguire for £80million? You can’t get your money back on Alderweireld, he’s 30, but he’s probably a better player right now.

“As a striker, I’d be thinking to myself, ‘If I can get Maguire out in the channels and get him isolated, he’s not mobile’.”

Value for money?

As United seemingly bear the brunt of paying a ‘British premium’ for players, the chance to sign Alderweireld is seemingly slipping away by the second. The Spurs centre-back has proven himself to be one of the Premier League’s most consistent performers for the north London side and would certainly add a sense of proven quality to United’s back-line.

Indeed, in the state of the current market with inflated transfer fees and extortionate wages, Alderweireld’s reported availability at just £25m marks him out as someone who represents fine value for money. His experience of playing in the Champions League in recent seasons also adds to his added value, whereas Maguire has predominantly played for a Leicester side hovering around mid-table.

Alderweireld has played for a Spurs side that has been challenging for the Premier League title and been legitimate top-four contenders for a while now; that proven experience as Saunders says surely marks the 30-year-old out as the better player. United’s insistence on buying British has seemingly blinded them on what has been staring them in the face.

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