Collymore’s column: Man United could have handled the Harry Maguire situation better, Liverpool should break the bank for Premier League midfielder and what Romelu Lukaku needs to do to find a new club

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In his exclusive column for CaughtOffside, former Liverpool attacker Stan Collymore discusses some of football’s biggest talking points, including the future of Harry Maguire after being stripped of the Man United captaincy, who Liverpool should sign as Fabinho’s replacement, will Declan Rice help Arsenal close the gap to Man City and Romelu Lukaku’s future, plus more.

Erik ten Hag could have handled Man United’s captain situation better

Sunday saw Harry Maguire announce that he is no longer captain of Man United, so what does that mean for his future at Old Trafford? Having just turned 30 this year, I think Maguire would be a perfect addition for a progressive club. Clubs that are pushing for the European spots could do with many of the defender’s qualities as he has shown to be a very good club man, someone who can galvanise players and bring people together.

West Ham have been mooted and I think it would be a great deal for the Hammers. The Man United star will be motivated for the new season as the EUROS are at the end of it, so maybe you could throw clubs such as Tottenham and Aston Villa in the mix as well. There are not many great defenders out there at the moment who are also impressive leaders, so for me, any club pushing for Europe would be a good fit for the England star.

His next club will certainly be a step down from Man United but I don’t think that will affect his future with England as long as he is playing in the Premier League.

Nevertheless, I think all this captaincy stuff that developed over the weekend could have been avoided with a simple conversation between Erik ten Hag and the player. The Man United manager has every right to change his captain, but it might have been best to simply tell Maguire that he is not in his plans for the new season and to go find another club over the next two or three weeks and then, announce the new captain of Man United.

In my opinion, that would have been the better political move as this situation could be seen as Ten Hag kicking Maguire while he is down; but I also understand why the manager did it.

Liverpool need one more midfielder and there is a standout candidate

It looks like Fabinho and Jordan Henderson are potentially on their way to Saudi Arabia this summer and will follow fellow midfielders James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out the exit door at Anfield. Jurgen Klopp has lost a lot of numbers in a midfield that lacked depth last season but I think they will be fine for the upcoming campaign. Alexis Mac Allister is a key player that was added to the squad, Harvey Elliott is another year older and they still got Thiago – who is a very experienced player.

To replace Fabinho, I think Liverpool should break the bank for Brighton’s Moises Caicedo and although it might be a little too soon for him, Aston Villa’s Boubacar Kamara would be an excellent acquisition for Klopp having been exceptional at times last season – although I think Aston Villa won’t be motivated to sell him this summer.

If they are looking for a defensive midfielder that will be there for the next four/five years, Caicedo would be my pick. Partnering him with Mac Allister, his former Brighton teammate, would be very good as it was a pairing that produced tremendous results over the past season.

Either way, Liverpool need to bring in one more player for their midfield. The sales of Fabinho and Henderson could bring in £60m, which will delight the recruitment team at the Merseyside club, and as I said above, the Reds should use that to challenge Chelsea for Caicedo.

Big disappointment if Romelu Lukaku goes to Saudi Arabia

Romelu Lukaku’s career over the last few seasons has been a car crash and his current situation represents that. Chelsea don’t want him after paying huge money two summers ago and the Juventus/Inter situation is turning into a mess. I think a lot of clubs are looking at Lukaku and are wary of taking a gamble on the striker as they will need to pay a fee on top of his big wages.

The question clubs will be asking themselves is, ‘Is Lukaku too much trouble?’. This constant chaos that seems to surround him as he jumps between clubs is not helping him.

In my opinion, Lukaku should sit down and do an interview whilst showing the best side of himself to shake off any negativity that has surrounded him since moving back to Chelsea; that move was a disaster and the money paid for the striker is one of the factors that derailed the London club.

My advice would be to do a bit of PR, get out there and do some interviews to highlight his motivation, and I think if he does, he will find a club to move to in Europe quickly; otherwise, managers at several clubs will have the question in the back of their minds, ‘could he cost me my job?’

I have seen that Saudi Arabian clubs have been linked to Lukaku but I think he is still a Premier League quality player and he is someone I like a lot. If he moves to Saudi Arabia, I think that would be the one where I shrug my shoulders and go ‘damn!’ as the Belgium international still has many good seasons left in Europe.

Should the striker move to the Middle East, for me, that would be the most disappointing out of all the players that have made the move so far.

Declan Rice will improve Arsenal but can they challenge Man City?

For me, I don’t think Arsenal’s signings close the gap to Man City. I think they are undoubtedly better and the signing of Rice is an exceptional one for Mikel Arteta. It remains to be seen how Timber and Havertz get on but my overriding feeling is that last year was their chance to win the Premier League and they might have missed it.

Many people are making the assumption that Arsenal will challenge Man City again throughout the upcoming campaign having ran them close this past season, whilst also taking into consideration the Gunners’ new signings; but other clubs will be there as Chelsea, Man United and Liverpool have all got stronger.

The signings should cement Arsenal as a top-four club and I think it will be nothing more than that.

Man City have lost some key players and look to lose more before the window shuts, but we have seen in the past that City lose who they want to lose. It is the exact same as Man United in their heyday when they lost the likes of Roy Keane and Jaap Stam, and then went on to replace them effectively. City’s recruitment is exceptional and they still have Pep Guardiola, who will know exactly what he needs to defend their title.

Football won’t wait for Harry Kane to be ready to leave Tottenham

Bayern Munich’s honorary president Uli Hoeness has come out and said this week that he is confident Tottenham striker Harry Kane will join the Bundesliga champions this summer and as I wrote last week, I feel that Kane should go this summer as the time is right.

It is also being reported that the player won’t push for the move and many will argue that is the difference between Kane and a serial winner.

If Kane has said to Uli Hoeness that he would like to come, now is the time to be brave and knock on Daniel Levy’s door. The striker needs to tell Spurs to let him go as that is what winners do as he has given everything to Tottenham.

His options may be better in another year being a free agent but you never know what the future holds in terms of what type of season he will have or he could even pick up a nasty injury. Football doesn’t wait for anybody, Bayern is a massive club so go and they want him, so believe Harry should go.

More Stories Declan Rice Fabinho Harry Kane Harry Maguire Moises Caicedo Romelu Lukaku Stan Collymore