Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Alfie Mawson or Harry Maguire: Who Should Manchester United Target ?

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It is not a secret that Manchester United need to bolster their defence ahead of the upcoming 2018-19 season, and The Red Devils are expected to be quite active on the transfer market.

Their current situation on defence does not help, either. Daley Blind and Matteo Darmian are expected to leave the side during the summer, while Eric Bailly expressed his desire to leave for greener pastures if the chance arises. Marcos Rojo and Chris Smalling are just not good enough to start for Manchester United anymore, and Victor Lindelof did not adjust as expected in his first season after coming over from Benfica roughly 12 months ago. That leaves Phil Jones as the lone “world-class” (and that’s debatable) defender on the club. Thefefore, reinforcements are needed.

Two players that have been constantly linked with a move to Old Trafford this next summer are Alfie Mawson and Harry Maguire. Both are arguably two of the best young centre-backs in the Premier League, and it is quite clear that both will leave their respective clubs, Swansea City and Leicester City, in the coming months. United are expected to participate on the race to sign both, but will likely afford only one. But who profiles as a better alternative? Let’s dive into the numbers to find out.

Numbers this season

Mawson and Maguire have been quite consistent during the current season, as both have emerged as key pieces on their respective teams. And the numbers certainly back that up.

First, let’s start with Mawson. The 24-year-old centre-back has started all 36 Premier League games for Swansea, while also adding three more appearances in the FA Cup and the EFL Cup each. Overall, Mawson has 40 appearances during the current term with two goals and one assist. But scoring isn’t his best asset, so that should come as a plus.

Maguire’s numbers are quite similar. The 25-year-old has registered the exact same number of appearances – 36 in the Premier League and six in domestic cups – but has looked a bit more prolific on the attacking end since he registers two goals and three assists in the EPL. Again, that should be nothing more than a plus. But having a goal-scoring defender is something most teams would accept in a heartbeat.

Playing style

Why describing them when we can watch them? Here is Harry Maguire…

…and here is Alfie Mawson:

As we can see, both are quality players worth adding in any top side. And there is no question both would fit perfectly in Mourinho’s philosophy.

Potential transfer value

So… who would be more expensive? If we take a look at each player’s transfer value based on Transfermarkt, we can see that both would cost practically the same. Mawson’s value rises to €12 million, while Maguire’s is €15M. One difference is the fact that Mawson is under contract until 2020, while Maguire won’t be a free agent until 2022. That’s a factor to consider as well. The longer the contract, the bigger the transfer fee. That’s a basic rule in world football these days.

One would have to be dreaming to think United could potentially sign one of these two players for less than €40M or €50M, though. If Liverpool had to pay almost €75M to sign Virgil van Dijk, then Jose Mourinho would have to spend a similar quantity considering both Mawson and Maguire are considerably younger than the Dutch international.


Both players would be quality signings, that’s not a secret. Both Maguire and Mawson represent an upgrade over the current in-house options, and would become regular starters as soon as they land at Old Trafford… if they complete their transfers, of course.

Maguire would be a better alternative, though. He is only one year older than Mawson, but already has experience with the National Team (four caps against Mawson’s none) and is taller, more composed on the ball, and has faced greater challenges compared to Mawson. He seems ready to make the jump to a bigger club, and United should take the chance to sign him if the chance arises.

Maguire is just too good, and too talented to not sign him. And he can be the club’s defensive staple they have been missing since the departure of both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.


Juan Pablo Aravena

A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.



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