Manchester United paid a record transfer fee for a defender for (Jacob) Harry Maguire in the summer. In the 156 year history of football, through all the majestic defenders it has produced, no defender has cost more than Maguire.
Will he ever be able to live up to that price tag? I say live up since his past performances at Leicester City certainly do not to merit this type of fee, where he was outperformed by the likes of calamity Mustafi.
When we look at comparable examples both in similar position to him and in varying ones we see that often players that command such fees totally transform a teams.
Virgil van Dijk once held this title. We've seen that his arrival at Liverpool has ushered in an era of resolute defending at Liverpool that has lead to them amassing a record breaking PL points tally and be crowned the best team in football with their Champions League win in June. On a personal level Virgil van Dijk has cemented himself as not only the greatest defender of his generation but arguable the best player in the world with his recent UEFA Men's Player of the Year Award. A honor recognising the best player in the world best federation.
Cristiano Ronaldo once held the accolade of the world most expensive player. He repaid that
moniker by winning 4 Ballon d'Ors and 4 Champions League.
Kylian Mbappé is another case, the player of partial Algerian descent being the most expensive teenager in footballing history. For his part Mbappé saw fit to almost single-handedly win his country a World Cup at the tender age of 19.
For 3 weeks Alisson Becker was the worlds most expensive goalkeeper, doubling the previous record. Much like his team van Dijk Alisson has been a crucial factor in the recent success of Liverpool. Culminating with his recognition as the worlds greatest goalkeeper with his recent UEFA Champions League Goalkeeper of the Season award.
Whilst some might point to the transfer of the likes of Neymar and state that he has not justified his world record fee in terms of footballing performances, it's indisputable that the brand value Neymar brings to PSG and Qatar makes up for the figures involved in the deal. Harry Maguire has the brand pull of a rice cake.
Whilst it's still early doors it's not looked good for Maguire in his 1st four games at United. 1 win from 4 games and part of a defensive unit that has conceded 4 goals and languishing in midtable. Contributing to United's worst league start in 27 years, before he was even born. Not the impact you'd expect from a nearly $100million signing.
If the naked eye does not fully illustrate the slow start Maguire has had than stats certainly do. He has been outperformed by the likes of unfashionable such as Çaglar Söyüncü, Steve Cook, Lewis Dunk, Jannik Vestergaard,
Arthur Masuaka, Willy Boly etc... to just name a few.
Realistically what do you think Maguire would need to achieve at United to even come close to repaying his transfer fee? For me personally a MINIMUM of a Champions League or PL title in the next 2 years is the least you can expect if you're making the statement of intent United have made with Maguire. Each passing game where Maguire fails to at least abstractedly perform at this level is a game in which he has let down the faith his employers have shown in him.