The football being played by Manchester City this season is some of the best that the Premier League has ever seen.
With their record-breaking 18 game winning streak, the club hold a 15 point lead atop the Premier League table and still have a shot in all four major competitions this season.
While their form has been impeccable and their team has more than sufficient depth in almost all areas, many have identified the team’s depth in defensive positions as the weakest aspect of their side.
City have been hit with injuries to both John Stones and the aging Vincent Kompany, meaning that defensive reinforcements would not go amiss in their squad.
The most common criticism hurled at this signing is that Maguire isn’t a stylistic fit in Pep Guardiola’s team.
However, Maguire represents a valuable and unique commodity that would greatly benefit Manchester City. The side have clearly lacked a traditional, stopper center-back. Maguire, who has been an asset in aerial duels and won many last-ditch tackles this season, is precisely the traditional center-back that City need.
Additionally, he is one of the few such center-backs that is adept on the ball and capable of functioning in a Pep Guardiola system.
Even if we accept that Maguire’s ability on the ball is not on the level of his potential Manchester City teammates, he is a player that has the purely defensive aspect of his game fine-tuned.
This is in stark contrast to Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti, who has also been linked to ‘the Sky Blues’ this season. While being an excellent center-back, Guardiola will be forced to place more emphasis on improving the defensive aspects of his game while he adapts to life in the Premier League.
On the other hand, such aspects of Maguire’s game are his forte, and Pep would only have to coach the passing style that he is famous for and is surely more adept at improving in a player.
At 24-years-old with plenty of first team experience on his belt, Maguire is not only a significant upgrade on the current backup option, Eliaquim Mangala, but also represents something unique for Pep Guardiola’s side that can give them another avenue when they are faced with difficult challenges.
This signing would show a level of pragmatism that may just be needed from Guardiola in order to make advances in the latter stages of the Champions League, something that is clearly a crucial objective of his.
It can be argued that one of the reasons his Bayern team were never able to make it all the way in the competition was because of his refusal or even inability to depart from his ideological principles, which sometimes disadvantaged him in crucial situations.
Guardiola’s teams are excellent, and it is rare that such a situation will arise often, but it is surely better to have a contingency plan when it does.
Another positive aspect of this signing is the potential of Maguire forming a long-term partnership with countryman John Stones, which could serve both Manchester City and the England National Team for years to come.
The main stumbling block for such a move is the price, as Leicester are said to demand £50 million for the defender’s services.
Even though it only represents two-thirds of the fee paid for Virgil Van Dijk to acquire a player who has arguably been better this season, it is still a hefty sum that most clubs would reasonably balk at.
However, if Manchester City are going to sign a defender, with the history they have for splashing the cash on unfashionable positions, any club they approach will demand a large fee.
While a signing may not be necessary at this time given their success this season, if they are to look for defensive reinforcements, Leicester City’s Harry Maguire should be at the top of Pep Guardiola’s wishlist.