Manchester United signs Harry Maguire from Leicester

Media reports say the transfer fee was about $97m, making Harry Maguire the most expensive defender in the world.

    The England defender becomes Old Trafford club's second most expensive recruit after French midfielder Paul Pogba [Matthias Schrader/AP]
    The England defender becomes Old Trafford club's second most expensive recruit after French midfielder Paul Pogba [Matthias Schrader/AP]

    Manchester United has made Harry Maguire the world's most expensive defender after signing him from Leicester for around $97m, according to media reports. 

    The British football club said on Monday that the 26-year-old centre back signed a six-year contract with an option for a further season.

    "Manchester United is delighted to confirm the signing of Harry Maguire from Leicester City. Harry signs on a six-year contract, with the option to extend for a further year," it said in a statement on their website

    A person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press news agency on Friday that Manchester United had struck a deal with Leicester to pay 80 million pounds ($97m) for Maguire.

    The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the financial details are not being disclosed.

    The fee eclipses the deals for Matthijs de Ligt to leave Ajax for Juventus last month for 75 million euros (then $85m), and for Virgil van Dijk to join Liverpool from Southampton for up to 75 million pounds in January 2018.

    Harry Maguire
    Maguire played a total of 31 games with Leicester last season, managing to score three goals [ Nigel Roddis/EPA-EFE]

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Manchester United's boss, described Maguire as "one of the best centre backs in the game today". 

    "He is a great reader of the game and has a strong presence on the pitch, with the ability to remain calm under pressure - coupled with his composure on the ball and a huge presence in both boxes," he said.

    "I can see he will fit well into this group both on and off the pitch... he has a great personality and is a fantastic addition to the club."

    Maguire, who helped England reach the 2018 World Cup semi-finals, had signed a contract extension to 2023 with Leicester last year and played 31 times in the league last season, scoring three goals.

    "I am delighted to have signed for this great club. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Leicester and would like to thank everyone at the club, and the fans, for their fantastic support over the past two seasons," Maguire said.

    "However, when Manchester United come knocking... it is an incredible opportunity."

    Leicester confirmed they had accepted a club record fee for Maguire, who joined them from Hull City in 2017 and went on to make 76 appearances.

    The 26-year-old is Manchester United's second-most expensive recruit after French midfielder Paul Pogba, who was signed for a then world-record 89 million pounds from Juventus in 2016.

    SOURCE: News agencies