Sunday 13 October 2019

Mourinho sets sights on Maguire as Shaw earns reprieve at Old Trafford

Luke Shaw will almost certainly remain at Old Trafford for at least another season. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images
Luke Shaw will almost certainly remain at Old Trafford for at least another season. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Luke Edwards

Manchester United will focus their time and resources on trying to sign a new centre-back before the close of the transfer window, with England international Harry Maguire emerging as their main target.

Although manager Jose Mourinho had wanted to sign another left-back this summer, he has decided that position is no longer a priority, which means Luke Shaw has gained another reprieve and will almost certainly remain at Old Trafford for at least another season.

Shaw appears to have worked hard on his fitness over the summer and has always said he wants to fight for his place rather than quit the club.

The former Southampton player has only a year remaining on his contract and will be able to leave on a lucrative free transfer at the end of the season.

With less than three weeks to go until the window shuts, United will focus on the need for another centre-back and Maguire's impressive form at the World Cup has pushed him to the top of their wanted list.

Maguire only signed for Leicester 12 months ago in a £17.5m switch from Hull City, but could well be on the move again after he was such a key part of England's success under Gareth Southgate in Russia.

Clubs across Europe have all taken notice of his ability, not just as a defender, but one who is comfortable enough on the ball to dribble out of defence and pick a forward pass.

Whether United can persuade Leicester to sell remains to be seen. It would take a bid well in excess of £50 million for them to consider letting him go.

The 25-year-old has four years remaining on the contract he signed and Leicester have already indicated they would like to renegotiate better terms to extend it, with suggestions they will raise his weekly wage to around £80,000.

Whether they can match the sort of deal United are able to offer is doubtful, but Maguire is happy at the club and does not seem to be the type of character who will agitate to leave, particularly with so little time left in this window.

United could revive their interest in Belgium international Toby Alderweireld, but they are all too aware of how difficult it can be to deal with Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy, particularly when they have made it clear they do not want to allow Spurs target Anthony Martial to leave for London in this window.

The Martial situation is an intriguing stand-off. The Frenchman remains keen to leave, but United do not want to risk losing him, only then to watch him thrive at a rival club.

They are expected to activate a clause in his contract that will extend it by another 12 months, giving them more power to keep him as he will not be allowed to leave on a Bosman at the end of the campaign.

Tottenham, though, still feel they may be able to get a deal done for the 22-year-old France international, whose poor form at United cost him a place at the World Cup.

Mourinho's decision not to sign another full-back is slightly surprising given that was his intention back in May.

United have already signed one full-back, with Diogo Dalot arriving from Porto for £19m.

Although ostensibly a right-back, the 19-year-old is versatile enough to play on either flank. However, a knee injury is likely to sideline him until September. (© The Daily Telegraph)

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