‘Maguire Utd-bound for record fee’; Guardiola slams Klopp jibe - GulfToday

‘Maguire Utd-bound for record fee’; Guardiola slams Klopp jibe

Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire (centre) is to undergo a medical at United over the weekend, according to Sky Sports and the BBC.

Harry Maguire is set to become the world’s most expensive defender after Manchester United agreed to pay Leicester City £80 million ($97 million) according to media reports on Friday.

The 26-year-old central defender -- coveted by United since he starred as England reached the World Cup semi-finals -- is to undergo a medical at United over the weekend, according to Sky Sports and the BBC.

Maguire’s fee out-strips Dutch international Matthijs van Ligt who in July moved to Juventus from Ajax for a combined fee of 75 million euros ($84.2 million) plus 10.5 million euros of add-ons.

De Ligt’s compatriot Virgil van Dijk cost Liverpool £75 million when he moved from Southampton in January 2018.

Maguire becomes United’s third summer signing following full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Daniel James, who arrived from Crystal Palace and Swansea respectively.

Maguire made 69 Premier League appearances for Leicester after joining from Hull City in 2017 and signed a new five-year contract with the Foxes last September.

United’s transfer business is unlikely to stop there with a potential swap deal involving Argentinian striker Paulo Dybala joining them from Juventus and Belgian international Romelu Lukaku moving to the Italian champions.

Meanwhile, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has hit back at Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp’s claim the Premier League champions operate on a transfer “fantasy island”.

Klopp named City, along with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, as teams who can carry on spending millions seemingly regardless of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play restrictions.

“It looks like there are four clubs in the world who can do it constantly. Madrid, Barcelona, City and PSG. Whatever they need, they do,” Klopp had said.

City and Liverpool meet on Sunday in the Community Shield, the curtain raiser for the English top-flight season.

And Guardiola lit the fuse on the early clash between the two teams who are likely to slug it out for the Premier League title when he insisted Klopp was wrong to float the idea City only succeed because they out-spend everyone.

“It bothers me,” Guardiola told reporters on Friday. “Of course it bothers me because it’s not true that we spend £200 million in every transfer market.

“That is not true. This is Liverpool, ‘you’ll never walk alone’ and all that, so it’s not a small team. It’s Liverpool.

“So of course I do not like it because it is not true. Last season we had a net spend of £17 million on one player.”

That one individual was Riyad Mahrez, and his transfer fee of £60 million ($72.7 million) was dwarfed by Liverpool’s £75 million swoop for Virgil van Dijk and then world record for a goalkeeper of £67 million on Alisson Becker.

This summer, City broke their transfer record with the £62 million capture of Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri.

But that is nothing compared with the extravagances of the two Spanish giants, with Real and Barca both spending more than £100 million on a single player in Eden Hazard and Antoine Griezmann respectively.

Guardiola accepts that his major reinforcements were made in 2017 when he signed Kyle Walker, Ederson, Bernardo Silva, Bernard Mendy and Danilo, but it has been more measured since then.

“Two seasons ago if we spent a lot it’s because I took over the team and we had 10 or 11 players over 30 years old, so we had to do it,” he said.

“But we cannot spend £200 million every season. For example, last season Liverpool spent more than £200 million, and they cannot do it this season, but it’s the same.

“Today clubs cannot spend a lot of money every single season. I don’t know about other clubs, but if they can do it, they can do it.

“That’s why there is financial fair play and if something is wrong, clubs that are not correct will be punished. That’s a reality.”

Agence France-Presse

Related articles