When Manchester United paid £80m for Harry Maguire from Leicester City, it’s fair to say that there was a sharp intake of breath in some quarters.
Brendan Rodgers had played the Red Devils like a fiddle in the transfer market, because for all of Maguire’s evident qualities in the centre-back role, it’s hard to believe that he was worth what the Foxes were asking for him.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, by virtue of offering him the captaincy, had made his personal stance clear, but has he actually been worth the spend, a year to the day since the Red Devils opened up the wallet?
To be honest, and although it’s fence sitting to some extent, he’s neither been spectacular, nor awful.
Good days have been mixed with bad, and certainly there have been specific moments where a player of his standing has been embarrassed.
Taking the view that it’s not the player but the market that sets the fee essentially, if we judge Maguire on his general attributes and not as an ‘£80m player,’ then he’s justified his starting position over the course of the 2019/20 campaign.
Can he do better? Absolutely. Is he worth the spend? At this stage you’d probably have to err on the side of saying not yet, but at 27 he is only just reaching his peak.
With a better squad of players around him, one can expect an improvement from Maguire, and in time his fee won’t even be talked about as a bone of contention.