Harry Maguire should be considered “overpriced” as an £80 million ($96m) addition at Manchester United, but the transfer market is now so “mad” that such fees should be viewed as “just a number” says Gary Lineker.
The Red Devils have made the England international the most expensive defender in world football, with the deal required to prise him away from Leicester costing more than Liverpool invested in Virgil van Dijk.
Eyebrows were raised when that move went through, but the Dutch centre-half has proved this worth and questions about his price tag have long since ceased.
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Former Leicester and Tottenham frontman Lineker believes Maguire could make a similar impact at Old Trafford, but concedes that transfer costs are spiralling out of control in a world where such investment is required to tick a box at the heart of a back four.
When asked by Sport Bible if the United new boy’s asking price can be considered a bargain or baffling, he said: “Both. Of course, he's overpriced because the market is mad.
“First thing you think is ‘oh, £80 million, that's a lot for a centre-half’ and it is, it's a mad amount of money.
“We've [Leicester] lost a really good player so what's important now is how that money is spent on replacements. It could be really beneficial, but for supporters, they're losing another good player just as they start to think we're doing well.
“Manchester United needed a ball-playing central defender and [Ole Gunnar] Solskjaer wanted Maguire. He's a terrific player so the board backed him.
“Some Manchester United fans will say ‘oh we've overpaid’, but it doesn't make any difference to them. It's just a number, isn't it? The club will still make loads of money.
“Liverpool fans said it about Van Dijk, but nobody's saying it now. Van Dijk's gone on to be brilliant.”
While hoping to see Maguire thrive in his new surroundings, Lineker has also had his say on a couple of the defender’s England team-mates.
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Jadon Sancho are two of the most highly-rated talents available to Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate, with the latter considered to be the most exciting option at present.
He has been starring at Borussia Dortmund, while Hudson-Odoi has broken through at Chelsea, with both expected to go on and enjoy memorable careers at the very top of the game.
Asked who he considers to be the brighter prospect, Lineker – who earned 80 England caps in his playing days – said: “They're both terrific.
“What Sancho has done in Germany has been great for him and I think we're at a time when we've [England] got lots of terrific, exciting young players. I'd also put Phil Foden alongside these two.
“Euro 2020 might be a bit early for us, but we'll be very competitive in Qatar [at the 2022 World Cup].
“If I had to choose one? At the moment I'd go for Sancho because he's fit and Hudson-Odoi has had that [Achilles] injury.”