New Manchester United defender Harry Maguire described himself as “really proud” to have joined the Red Devils in his first interview after his £80million arrival from Leicester City was confirmed.
United announced on Monday they had completed the signing of the England defender from the Foxes on a six-year contract, for a fee that is a world record for a defender.
The fee surpassed the £75m Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil Van Dijk in January 2018.
“A really proud moment for myself to join such a big club,” Maguire told United’s in-house MUTV channel.
“You always dream about walking out at Wembley Stadium and Old Trafford…they are the two big stadiums when you are a young kid.
“First and foremost, I see myself as a good defender. That’s my main thing…I am in the team to stop goals and keep clean sheets. I am really proud to be here. It’s such a big club and I am really looking forward to getting started.”
Maguire could make his debut in Manchester United’s Premier League season opener against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The 26-year-old was strongly linked with both Manchester clubs over the summer but Leicester held out for their valuation to be met.
He becomes United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s third summer signing, after right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka arrived from Crystal Palace and winger Daniel James joined from Swansea.
“It’s an amazing club,” he added.
“A club that I’ve always watched and I’ve always looked up to when I was younger and now I am part of it. The atmosphere and the stadium itself is just so unique and is something so special.
“Experience is a big thing. You play a lot of games as a young boy and you learn like I did in League One and moved up to the Championship and went through the leagues. I felt like that really helped me.”
Liverpool defender and second most expensive central defender in the world Virgil van Dijk had words of advice for Manchester United’s record-breaking signing Harry Maguire.
The former Leicester City man was signed by United for £80 million on Monday, thus putting an end to a lengthy transfer saga.
Van Dijk was quick to warn Maguire that the high price tag comes with immense pressure. The Dutchman also advised the Englishman to play his game without paying much heed to the buzz around his transfer.
“Good luck to him,” the Liverpool defender told reporters.
“I can’t say anything about that (breaking the record) because there was always going to be a time when it was going to change. That’s the market. He doesn’t have any influence on that but I wish him well.
“The price comes with pressure but it doesn’t change too much because you always have pressure at big clubs like Man United. But I wish him well.
Welcome to Manchester, Harry. 🔴🙌🏾 pic.twitter.com/B40Ti98o2w— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) August 5, 2019
“It is not easy to completely shut off all the pressure. Personally, I like to put things in perspective.
“Quite a lot of things are more important than playing football and what we do, we are blessed.
“We can do what we love to do and also to play for Liverpool – they are such a big club. You need to enjoy it but the pressure will always be there.
“Just focus on doing what you love to do and play your best game. Get your qualities out of the pitch, enjoy your game and don’t think about the other things.”
Harry Maguire is convinced Manchester United have a bright future ahead after completing his £80million move to Old Trafford.
The England defender has signed a six-year contract, with the option of a further year, after United met Leicester’s demand for a world-record fee for a defender.
He is the club’s third signing of the summer after Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka as manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rebuilds his squad after last season’s frustrating sixth-placed finish in the Premier League.
The 26-year-old, who was also linked with champions Manchester City, believes he has joined the club at an exciting time.
Speaking in an interview with United’s in-house media, Maguire said: “I’m really proud to be here.
“It’s such a big club and I’m really looking forward to getting started. I’m hoping it will be a successful season and I’ll give everything I’ve got for this club.
“It’s a young team now and we’ve got big ambitions for the future. From my conversations with the manager, I am excited about the vision and plans he has for the team.
“It’s clear to see that Ole is building a team to win trophies.
“I think you’ve seen the players that we’ve brought in already this year. You can see they’re trying to build and improve on last season and I’m sure we’ll do that.”
Maguire’s future had been the subject of speculation all summer. City were interested but were unwilling to meet a valuation by Leicester that eclipsed the £75million Liverpool paid for centre-back Virgil Van Dijk last year.
The Foxes were in a strong negotiating position having tied Maguire to a new five-year contract last September.
United pursued the deal having made strengthening the centre of their defence a priority, a need that increased after Eric Bailly suffered a knee injury that could sideline him for four months during pre-season.
The fee ensured Leicester made a handsome profit on a player they signed from Hull for an initial £12million two years ago.
Maguire said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Leicester and would like to thank everyone at the club, and the fans, for their fantastic support over the past two seasons. However, when Manchester United come knocking on your door, it is an incredible opportunity.”
Maguire came through the youth ranks at hometown Sheffield United and broke into their first team in 2011. In the same year he represented the club against Manchester United in the FA Youth Cup final, and played at Old Trafford for the first time.
He said: “When you’re young and you walk out, it’s a bit surreal. The atmosphere and the stadium itself is so unique and it’s something so special.
“It’s something that I’ll never forget and now I’m here, in my home, it’s something that I’ll get to do regularly which I’m really looking forward to.”
Maguire could make his debut in Sunday’s Premier League opener against Chelsea.
Solskjaer said: “Harry is one of the best centre-backs in the game today and I am delighted we have secured his signature.
“He is a great reader of the game and has a strong presence on the pitch, with the ability to remain calm under pressure – coupled with his composure on the ball and a huge presence in both boxes – I can see he will fit well into this group both on and off the pitch.”
Maguire’s arrival may not the the end of United’s summer transfer business.
Juventus striker Paulo Dybala had been in talks over a swap deal that could have seen Romelu Lukaku move the other way, but PA understands the Argentina international’s wage demands have put paid to that.
Lukaku, however, remains keen to leave Old Trafford and Inter Milan are pushing to sign him but it remains to be seen if they make an acceptable bid.
United have also been linked with another Juve forward, Mario Mandzukic, but any deal could be affected by the Dybala-Lukaku situation.
Star midfielder Paul Pogba has also reportedly been subject of a bid from Real Madrid, but United are planning for a season with the World Cup winner despite his comments about being open to a new challenge.
The club are understood to be keen on bolstering their midfield, though, even if a much-mooted move for Sporting’s Bruno Fernandes now looks unlikely.
PA understands Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff has been a long-standing target, while United are understood to have been among several clubs that have enquired about Southampton’s Mario Lemina.
A number of other players are being linked with United but there is believed to be a calmness behind the scenes given the work that has already been done.
The impact of the club’s young players has also impressed Solskjaer.