Harry Maguire is one of a number of first team players Manchester United are willing to sell this summer in order to support reinvestment into the squad for next season.
Maguire, now 30, remains the world’s most expensive defender after he joined United from Leicester for £80m in 2019, but has fallen down the pecking order under current manager Erik ten Hag – who is favouring a central defensive partnership of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez.
Installed as club captain by former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Maguire himself has admitted to finding it difficult to come to terms with playing on the bench at times this season, and while determined to force his way back in to first choice status his best chance of first team football may come elsewhere.
A number of Premier League clubs are interested in signing Maguire, and United understand they are set to receive well below the initial fee they paid for him if sold.
It’s understood Ten Hag believes he can work with Maguire and is open to the England international fighting for his place, though Maguire has been told he is no longer first choice and may sink further down the pecking order as United continue looking to strengthen their squad. Maguire has been informed he can leave and the club are on the lookout for a new centre back if they are able to balance the squad with sales in the summer, though central midfield and centre forward are the priority positions.
Newcastle are understood to be monitoring Maguire’s situation and while United would prefer an outright sale if Maguire is to leave, a loan may be considered in order to facilitate taking on his sizeable wages on the condition that deal leads to a future permanent deal.
Scott McTominay and Anthony Martial have also been made available by United, while they are looking to permanently sell a number of players out on loan such as Eric Bailly, Alex Telles and Dean Henderson.
Martial has long been a case of unfulfilled potential at United, hitting the ground running in his early years at Old Trafford under Louis van Gaal but only managing to show top form in spurts throughout his career. The French international enjoyed a strong spell under Solskjaer and was expected to flourish under Ten Hag following an encouraging pre-season, but his entire campaign has been marred by injury.
United have instead had to depend on loan signing Wout Weghorst to lead the line, and while Ten Hag is willing to work with the player he understands it may be for the best to explore sale options.
Martial’s representatives, it’s understood, are already working on securing a transfer away from United for the player in the summer, with Paris Saint-Germain among the his long-term admirers. Martial was born in Paris and would prefer to return home.
United offloading Martial, alongside Maguire, could lead to a saving of up to £500,000-a-week in wages, which will help raise funds and trim their wage bill to meet closing Financial Fair Play constraints in the years to come.
Winger Anthony Elanga may also be allowed to leave before next season, though it is as yet unclear whether United prefer a loan or full sale.
Officials at United are currently planning for next season on a Champions League budget – the club look in a strong position to return to the competition via league position next year – but still need to improve on maximising sales after a number of years of failing to clear deadwood, coupled with massive investment on incomings.
United overspent on their planned transfer budget last summer to support Ten Hag’s debut season, which showed signs of unravelling after only two matches