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Ruben Dias leads list of cheaper Harry Maguire alternatives for Man United

Manchester United were touted for a major overhaul in the summer but with their first pre-season fixture already played, only two recruits have been inducted into the squad for the upcoming campaign.
Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka were good bits of business for the Red Devils but, disturbingly, no signing has been made at centre-back yet – a position that’s widely regarded as a priority.
United have been in hot pursuit of Leicester City centre-back Harry Maguire and a fee in the region of £75 million is reportedly being negotiated.
Even for a defender of Maguire’s caliber, that figure is on the higher side especially when Juventus appear to be reaching an agreement with Ajax for Matthijs de Ligt for £63 million.
United are growing desperate though but before they pull the trigger, here’s a few cheaper alternatives they should consider. RUBEN DIAS
If Solskjaer is determined to implement a more fluid style of play at United then much of that starts with the backline and in Ruben Dias he would attain a centre-back comfortable playing out from defence.
Of course, that’s an area of strength for Maguire as well but Dias seems to at least match if not better the Englishman’s stats. A pass success rate of 86.3 per cent in Ligo NOS last season is marginally better than the 85.6 per cent the Leicester City defender registered in the Premier League.
Maguire is renowned for his tackling and rightly so having won an impressive 83.7 per cent of his 37 tackles last season. Dias was incredibly even more impressive in that regard though, winning 89.7 per cent of his 49 tackles.
Dias’ aerial prowess also fits the profile of the sort of centre-back United are seemingly looking to acquire. However, his success rate of 57.6 per cent from aerial duels in the league last season was well below Maguire’s 77.6 per cent.
That’s the only area in which the Englishman is notably superior though and Dias certainly holds a pace advantage over his counterpart. Meanwhile, the Portuguese defender is one of the most promising centre-backs in the game having established himself in the national team set-up over the past year.
Dias currently has a release clause set at €66 million, around €20 million cheaper that the fees quoted for Maguire. At only 22, he’s also got four years on the England international. NIKOLA MILENKOVIC
Nikola Milenkovic has impressed at Fiorentina as one of the best defenders in Serie A. At 6’5” and around 90kgs, the Serbian is an imposing figure, naturally drawing comparisons with compatriot and former United star Nemanja Vidic.
Milenkovic won 61.7 per cent of his aerial duels last season, an improvement on Dias’ numbers but still a fair amount shy of Maguire’s, while a tackle success rate of 78.6 per cent is effective but not entirely impressive.
The Fiorentina defender is surprisingly fleet-footed. Maguire’s main drawback has been his lack of agility which sometimes sees him struggle against diminutive forwards with a low centre of gravity.
Milenkovic is far better in those scenarios, so much so that he’s often been deployed at right-back for La Viola even though his crossing leaves a lot to be desired. That versatility is noteworthy perk of securing services as well.
One of his more underrated qualities though is his reading of the game. The Serbian, when playing in central defence, likes to stay tight to his man and nip ahead to make an interception when the opportunity arises.
According to gianlucadimarzio.com, United’s bid of €40 million was turned down by Fiorentina in January. The Italian outfit are thought to be holding out for around 50 million which would be a significantly smaller fee than the one required to sign Maguire and for a player five years his junior. WILLI ORBAN
United are in desperate need of some leadership in defence and that’s presumably why Maguire appears to be a priority. The centre-back has been a commanding presence in Leicester’s first team over the last couple of years and is proven in the Premier League.
However, Willi Orban boasts much of the same traits and has captained RB Leipzig admirably over the last couple of seasons. Like Maguire, Orban isn’t particularly quick across the turf but compensates for that with power and aggression.
The Hungarian isn’t as accomplished on the ball as the Leicester centre-back but in terms of organising the defence, he’s arguably every bit his equal. He also shares the Englishman’s levels of concentration and is aggressive in assessing and dealing with danger quickly.
Unlike the other two centre-backs on this list, Orban is the finished article and what makes him even more attractive is the fact that he could be something of a bargain.
Leipzig have an embarrassment of riches in central defence at the moment. Both Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate are among the most highly-rated young centre-backs in Europe. With Leipzig eager to hold on to both 20-year-olds possibly until they can command exorbitant transfer fees, they may be convinced to sell their skipper this summer.
According to transfermarkt.co.uk, Orban is valued at €20 million but even a fee up to €40 million would have the makings of a good deal while being about half as expensive as Maguire.

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