Harry Maguire’s Manchester United career ultimately became a pantomime. This was evident throughout pre-season when the 30-year-old was frequently booed and jeered by his own supporters. Every mistake made by Maguire added to the evidence that doesn’t have the skill set to play for Erik Ten Hag’s team.
According to recent reports, Maguire could finally be on his way out of Old Trafford with Manchester United accepting a £30m offer from West Ham for the defender. With his place in England’s Euro 2024 squad on the line, Maguire is believed to be open to joining the London Stadium club.
There’s good reason to believe Maguire will be a better fit for West Ham than he ever was for Manchester United. He became a symbol of poor recruitment conducted at Old Trafford over a number of years with Maguire never suited to United’s style of play. This has been exacerbated under Ten Hag.
Ten Hag wants Manchester United to play with a high line and this has exposed Maguire’s lack of pace and recovery speed. The Dutch coach also likes his defenders to construct passing moves from the back and this is another thing that has highlighted Maguire’s limitations – he isn’t the most comfortable with the ball at his feet.
At West Ham, however, Maguire won’t be asked to play this way. David Moyes prefers to set up his team in a low defensive block. This will suit Maguire who won’t have the same amount of space in behind to cover. As a West Ham player, the 30-year-old won’t have to spend so much time running towards his own goal.
Maguire is most comfortable when the game is in front of him. He is exceptional at repelling crosses and balls into the box, something he would have to do a lot of as a West Ham player. Moyes has likely looked at how Maguire often shines for England and imagined how he could utilise the defender in a similar way for the Hammers.
In an attacking sense, Maguire will also be a threat in the air from set pieces for West Ham with corner kicks and freekicks a big focus of their game plan. He could be an important figure for Moyes at both ends of the pitch, particularly with Kurt Zouma another defender who can get on the end of crosses into the area.
Old Trafford became a toxic environment for Maguire. At 30, there’s still time for the England international to resurrect his career, but there’s no point in wasting more time at Manchester United. Maguire needs a manager who truly believes in him and the quality he can offer. Moyes appears to be that figure.
West Ham are using the money raised from the sale of Declan Rice to strengthen their squad with James Ward-Prowse already signed from Southampton and Scott McTominay believed to be another target – Manchester United reportedly want a transfer fee of close to £40m for the Scotland international.
The signing of Maguire would be an important part of Moyes’ rebuild with West Ham hoping to push themselves higher up the Premier League table after a lowly 14th-place finish last season. Of course, West Ham won the Europa Conference League last season and will have Europa League football to contend with this season.
This will put an additional strain on West Ham’s squad and Maguire’s arrival would highlight the club’s ambition to improve further. The 30-year-old might have become a figure of derision, but his performances for England and Leicester City prove he can still thrive at the top level. West Ham could be the ideal place for Maguire at this stage of his career.