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‘Man City may live to rue letting Utd land Maguire’ – Laporte injury highlights problem, says Neville

10:52 SAST 2019/09/03
Harry Maguire Manchester United 2019-20
The former Red Devils defender has aired his surprise at seeing the Blues pass up the opportunity to compete for a proven successor to Vincent Kompany

Manchester City may live to regret their decision not to fight harder for Harry Maguire, says Gary Neville, with arch-rivals United now boasting a centre-half option who would have been a perfect successor to Vincent Kompany and cover for the injured Aymeric Laporte.

The Blues opted against bringing in another proven performer at the heart of their back four during the summer transfer window.

Long-serving skipper Kompany departed, but Pep Guardiola decided to keep faith with the alternatives already at his disposal.

He does still have plenty of international talent on his books, but has suffered an untimely setback after seeing Laporte ruled out with a knee problem that may yet require surgery.

Neville believes City should have competed with United for £80 million ($96m) man Maguire, with it now clear that the England international would have been a shrewd addition to the ranks of the Premier League champions.

The former Red Devils defender told Sky Sports: "I said a few weeks ago that I was struggling to understand why City didn't follow through on Harry Maguire with Vincent Kompany leaving the club.

"I thought Kompany won them the league in the last 10 matches of last season when he played in all those games. Forget the Leicester moment which was just spectacular, I thought his leadership held them together at a time when Liverpool were applying pressure like you wouldn't believe.

"In terms of that leader-type figure, I think Laporte has got that."

Neville added: "I think this will cost City points.

"To be fair, there is no one better in the world at coaching than Pep Guardiola, full stop. And there is no one better at making what would be make-shift centre-backs play well.

"What I would say is that if Laporte is out for a long time, I think it will cost City points because he is a dominant centre-back. I saw him in Spain three times and he's a great player. It's a real worry for City.

"Maguire would've been ideal. Manchester United did well to get him but I am surprised City didn't really go for him alongside United. Maybe they did and they just pulled out because of the money in the end or whatever it was.

"I just think with Kompany leaving, he was Belgian, but he was an old-fashioned throw your head at it centre-back in both boxes that when you go to certain grounds in the Premier league you play.

"When balls flew into the box and the pressure-built, Vincent Kompany stood tall and made sure they all left."