Manchester United have regressed ever since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, throwing money at their issues to no avail.
Last season saw them falter to their worst-ever Premier League finish, with this current squad leaving an embarrassing stain on this famous club’s legacy.
Back in 2020, a report found that the Red Devils had spent over £1bn since 2013, with the majority of these huge signings struggling to find their feet in Manchester.
One player who perfectly exemplifies this tumultuous period in United’s recent history is Harry Maguire, who Ole Gunnar Solksjaer unloaded a whopping £80m on to sign the defender from Leicester back in 2019. This was and remains the highest fee ever paid for a defender.
What seemed like a panic buy following the success of Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk, the 29-year-old has often taken the brunt of any criticism aimed at United due to his sizeable price tag.
At the time of signing, Solksjaer labelled him “one of the best centre-backs in the game today”, however nowadays many view this transfer as one of the worst in recent history.
Even with his incredible height, he is not particularly outstanding in the air as he ranks in the 84th percentile for aerials won per 90. His other defensive stats are nothing short of terrible, recording 1.48 tackles, 1.80 interceptions and 1.45 blocks per 90.
His only saving grace is his distribution, and his 3.66 progressive carries per 90 outlines him as a defender who will try and promote attacking play. It is probably for this reason that he fails so often, and therefore receives so much ridicule.
Maguire’s form this season led pundit Frank McAvennie to dub him “awful”, claiming he’d have loved to play against the centre-back.
The English international is also reportedly earning £190k-per-week, and given the three years he has already spent at Old Trafford, the club have expended roughly £29.6m purely on wages alone.
When combined with his colossal £80m transfer fee, Maguire has cost United an overall fee of £109.6m.
This is made all the more frustrating when seeing his Transfermarkt value, which has dropped to an underwhelming £36m.
Manchester United have been guilty of many transfer blunders in the last decade, but none have been so widely scrutinised and financially damaging than this one.
Perhaps with the introduction of Ten Hag and a clearer vision, these sorts of gaffes will become less frequent.