Arsenal Opinion: Harry Maguire can transform the Gunners into a formidable unit
According to The Sun, Leicester City and England international centre-back, Harry Maguire is likely to be a hot property in the summer transfer window, with Premier League giants Arsenal, Man United, Spurs and Chelsea all set to go head-to-head in a transfer tug of war over the £60 million-rated Yorkshireman.
Man United were desperate to get their hands on the 26-year-old last summer after his heroics for England at the 2018 FIFA World Cup but a move to Old Trafford didn’t quite materialize for the highly-rated centre-back. (h/t The Sun)
This time, though, the Red Devils are going to face stiff competition for his signature, with three other Premier League giants also in the race and weighing up moves for the highly-rated defender.
If either of the clubs do agree to fork out £60 million for Harry Maguire, he would become the most expensive defender in England, eclipsing the £47.5 million that Man City paid to Everton for John Stones back in 2016.
Maguire has been an absolute rock at the back for Leicester this season and has continued his impressive run of form at the heart of the Foxes defence. The 26-year-old has been one of the most influential figures at the King Power Stadium and few would argue that he has been amongst the best centre-backs in the Premier League this term.
The Yorkshireman has been an ever-present at the back for the Foxes, scoring thrice from 30 appearances in the Premier League. Maguire, who rose to prominence with Hull City before joining Leicester in the summer of 2017, has made a total of 75 appearances for the Foxes in all competitions. He has evolved into one of the best defenders in England and a move to the top-six certainly seems very much on the cards for the 26-year-old this summer.
To put things into perspective, a centre-back of Maguire’s calibre would be an ideal signing for any top Premier League side, but Arsenal should try and beat off competition for the 26-year-old. The Gunners have left a lot to be desired with their lacklustre defending this season and someone like Maguire would help them improve massively at the back.
Tactically speaking, Maguire is one of the best ball-playing centre-backs in England at the moment and his composure in possession and ability to play the ball out comfortably from the back should make him a tailor-made fit for Unai Emery’s philosophy.
Also, it has been pretty apparent from Arsenal’s defensive woes this season that they need an efficient leader at the back, someone who could take over the reins from ageing club-captain Laurent Koscielny. Undoubtedly, Maguire ticks that box as well, with the Englishman having already proven his leadership skills at Leicester.
Standing at 6ft. 4 inches with a gigantic frame, Maguire is an absolute beast of a centre-back, who relies on his astute positioning, sound understanding of the game and strong build to keep the opposition at bay. He likes to stamp his authority over his offensive counterparts with his physicality and aerial ability, often making himself big in one-on-one situations and outmuscling the opposition with his strength.
Maguire’s wonderful aerial ability should also make him a wonderful asset to Arsenal, while his leadership skills, positional sense, ball-playing qualities and physicality are other attributes that should prompt the Gunners to splash the cash on him.
Arsenal need to get rid of glaring liabilities like Shkodran Mustafi if they are to challenge for silverware and Maguire is certainly capable of transforming the Gunners into a formidable force capable of competing with the very best. Sokratis has been the pick of a bad bunch at the back, while Mavropanos and Rob Holding are also exciting prospects. However, they are not world-class centre-backs and Maguire would be a massive upgrade on all the aforementioned players.
The 26-year-old boasts of a pass accuracy percentage of 85, including 6.2 successful long balls, 4.9 clearances, 3.9 aerial duels, 1.2 interceptions and 1 tackle per game in the Premier League this term, figures which are a clear testament to his well-rounded abilities as a centre-back.
Arsenal have shown plenty of promise in their first season under Unai Emery and they can still make it to the Champions League next term if they manage to beat Chelsea in the Europa League final.
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It is now time for the Gunners to consolidate and build a solid platform for the future and Harry Maguire can be an excellent long-term solution to their defensive problems. That said, they should make him a top priority this summer and go all out in their pursuit of the Leicester man.