FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-LEICESTER

Manchester United have, reportedly, made a bid for Harry Maguire. The bid is in the region of £65 million which is the value they have placed on him having had a reasonably successful World Cup.

According to experts, whoever they may be, he was actually worth £25 million before his escapades in Russia and is now worth £50 million so maybe Ed Woodward knows something we don’t or maybe he is just throwing an extra £15 million in to make sure the deal happens.

Whatever his reason, it hasn’t worked as Leicester have rejected the offer and say the player is not for sale. Time will tell whether or not £65 million has a voice but the suspicion is that it may very well end up talking.

This, of course, could all have been avoided if the Manchester United scouts had been the Hull City scouts. In that case they would have spotted what a fine player Maguire was back in 2014 and suggested the manager buy him. He would then have cost £2.5 million.

Leaving that oversight aside, if the Manchester United scouts had been the Leicester City scouts, they could have got him in 2017 for an initial £12 million, (rising to around £17 million with add-ons), but they didn’t because they weren’t.

They may have also noticed what a good player Maguire had become BEFORE the World Cup and bought him for about £25 million but that just doesn’t seem to be the way Ed likes to do business. He much prefers to vastly overpay for players, Angel Di Maria +£19 million, Marouane Fellaini +£4 million, are a couple which spring to mind.

Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League

Ed Woodward paid £4 million more than he needed to for Fellaini but so what, it’s not like it’s his own money is it?

He also likes to buy players who, presumably, the scouts have watched and the manager has sanctioned because he does aim to please whenever possible.

These would include, over the years, those famous scouting successes Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof. What do they have in common? They are all current centre-backs on the books at Manchester United who José Mourinho, despite buying two of them, doesn’t apoear to think are good enough to play for a team whose ambition is to win the title.

The combined transfer fees for these five players is about £105 million which isn’t too bad for international players, if only they were good enough for United.

In fairness, Bailly and Lindelof still have time on their side and the Swede performed excellently for his country during the World Cup. The other three, however, are just train wrecks waiting to happen and it is hardly surprising that Mourinho wants reinforcements for those positions.

He also has Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Axel Tuanzebe who can play centre back but they may be considered a little young and inexperienced to defend the castle against the rest of the Premier League at this moment in time.

The bottom line with all this though goes back, once again, to the scouting system at a club like United.

We here at WSA could have told José Mourinho that Harry Maguire is a very good player. He isn’t world-class, he’s a typically big and daft centre-half of the old school. We could also have told him that Fred is a decent midfielder, having seen him play for Shakhtar and Brazil.

Going back a short while, we could have told Ed Woodward, as we did everybody else who would listen, not to buy Angel Di Maria as he was trouble and not very good but we thought the scouts would maybe tell him that and, after all, what do we know?

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Woodward may as well have thrown £19 million down the nearest drain as sign this clown. The end result would have been exactly the same!

What we can’t tell Woodward or Mourinho is how good some of the players in the Championship are, or in League One or League Two. The reason we can’t be of any help in that direction is because we tend not to watch those teams unless they happen to be playing United or another Premier League side in one of the cup competitions.

The big problem here is that it would appear that the scouts only watch those players in the big matches as well!

The rest of the time, as we have opined repeatedly, they are watching the superstars on an all-expenses paid trip somewhere in Europe or South America.

Well, nobody said it would be easy but somebody should have, at least it would have been an honest appraisal.

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