Harry Maguire was one of nine names considered by Manchester United to fill their central defensive void this summer.
Reports this week suggested that the Leicester City and England defender had surged to the top of Man United’s wishlist, and that the Red Devils were intensifying their efforts to bring the centre-back to Old Trafford before the transfer deadline passes.
However, according to the Times, the club had drawn up an extensive list of central defenders to consider for a transfer, varying in age, ability, experience and level of interest.
The only other Premier League defender on the list is Toby Alderweireld, with the Belgian international’s future at Tottenham Hotspur still somewhat unclear. Alderweireld has just one year remaining on his current contract (albeit with the option of a further twelve months), and while there had been rumours of a move to Man United earlier this summer, Spurs’ lofty asking price appears to have put the brakes on any potential deal.
Perennial Man United transfer targets Raphael Varane and Jerome Boateng were also on the pile, though prising the former away from the Bernabeu would be near-impossible right now and the latter appears more likely to move to Paris Saint-Germain if anywhere.
Former Chelsea targets Alessio Romagnoli and Kalidou Koulibaly were also under consideration (as per the report), though with Milan seemingly set to lose Leonardo Bonucci and Napoli generally taking a firm stance on their star defender, signing either of those two between now and August 9th would be a tough ask.
Interestingly, the final three names are highly-regarded prospects but not quite the finished article – which Jose Mourinho would probably like to avoid given the signing of Victor Lindelof last year. Martin Skriniar, Jose Gimenez and Caglar Sonyucu – all of whom would command very high transfer fees given their age and potential – have been touted, though little has been alleged beyond that.
In any event, Mourinho appeared eager yet pessimistic over his chances of seeing at least one new face at Old Trafford before the deadline, though this could well have been a way of telling Ed Woodward to heed his demands and deliver a sought-after defender for the new season.