Manchester United are trying their best to sign Harry Maguire! If the recent stories in previous days were just rumours, now we can be pretty certain that the Red Devils have approached Leicester City in their quest for signing the English centre-back.
Jose Mourinho will need a new centre-back before the end of the transfer window and with several names being thrown around, Sky Sports have announced they had sources close to the clubs, revealing to them that Manchester United have approached
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) July 26, 2018
Several journalists also reported that Manchester United have sent an offer of around 65 million pounds, but that it has been rejected. Whether that story is a truthful one or not, remains to be seen. What is more important is that Manchester United will have to “lose” one centre-back if Maguire is to join the club. With Victor Lindelöf coming to Manchester just last season and Eric Bailly looking as the best of the bunch, one of the three remaining central defenders will have to go. Who would that be?
Looking at Marcos Rojo, it is not that hard to see why his departure would look logical from United’s point of view. Last season he played just nine times in the Premier League and somewhere around 900 minutes in all competitions. That is basically 10 full matches and United need more from him. The Argentine is also 28 years old. That does not mean he is old, especially for a centre-back, but until now, Rojo has not really showed that he is Man United material. If he has not done it by now, it is hard seeing him do that this season.
Also, Rojo is not English, so he does not count for Champions League and domestic quotas. That is not something that usually worries Man United, but it is something that can give advantage to the cases of Jones and Smalling.
Phil Jones is in a slightly different situation. The 26-year old has had his periods of really good performances, when he would look like someone that can be a Man United starting centre-back for a longer term. However, his injuries and lapses of poor performances made everyone think hard about him potentially leaving.
Yet, with Phil Jones, the story looks a bit brighter because he is the youngest of these three players. He is not really expected to explode in the upcoming seasons, but he feels as a better backup option than Rojo. Jones is more of an old-school defender.
Chris Smalling will be 29 once the season hits December. Last season, Smalling made 28 starts in the Premier League. With Bailly injured, he had to become one of the pillars of the defence and that continuity that he had could be his biggest argument for earning the trust of the manager. Smalling is also better at passing the ball than Jones and is also really good in the air, something Rojo is not. It is hard seeing Smalling go before Rojo and that is why this feels like another season for Smalling in Manchester United’s red shirt.