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Solskjaer delighted to have captured 'number one target' Maguire for Manchester United

23:04 BST 10/08/2019
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer/Harry Maguire Manchester United
The former Leicester defender moved to Old Trafford in a world-record fee for a defender and his new manager is certain he'll make an impact

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said that Harry Maguire was always his main target as he looks to rebuild the club after a disappointing 2018-19 season.

Maguire left Leicester City for United in an £80 million ($97m) deal, a world-record fee for a defender. He had been the subject of constant transfer speculation, with Manchester City also reportedly interested in his signature, before making the move to Old Trafford on August 2.

The lavish fee has inevitably drawn comparisons to Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk, who was the world’s most expensive defender until Maguire came along.

Solskjaer resisted those comparisons, but said he was sure of the England international’s impact with the Red Devils.

“I’m delighted we have got Harry in because he’s going to be great for this club,” the Norwegian told a press conference ahead of his team's Premier League opener with Chelsea on Sunday.

“He was always my number one target. I more or less made my mind up when we played Leicester that if it was possible to get him, we should at least try. He is so composed on the ball and he gives the team another dimension.

“He has already shown what a presence he will be and what an impact he will have in the squad. Harry is a leader, an established international, a goal threat and a very, very good defender.  

“I don’t want to compare us to Liverpool or Harry to Van Dijk, but I know Harry is going to have a massive impact on us, yes.”

Maguire, 26, is the oldest player United have signed this summer, joining a pair of 21-year-olds, Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, as new faces with the team.

Solskjaer is committed to a youth movement and is expected to give several academy players a first-team chance this year.

He knows that policy may not yield immediate results, but says it’s the best approach for the long-term health of the club.

“You can call it a gamble. I am just staying true to what I believe in,” he added. “I believe in this way of managing a football club.

“I am paid to manage for the club and it is not just about me getting results now to get my reputation. It is about the club going forward in the right direction.

“For us, to give our kids the best chance, we decided this is the right way.”