Harry Maguire’s position as captain of Manchester United came under increased scrutiny last season after a disastrous decline in form and problems on and off the pitch at United. And, with the arrival of new manager Erik ten Hag, many were waiting to see who would skipper the club moving forward. But that man has been confirmed as Maguire.
United, who are currently on a pre-season tour of Thailand, scheduled a press conference, and it gave the opportunity for ten Hag to confirm that Maguire would be retaining the captain's armband for now. When asked about the situation and Maguire remaining in situ, the Dutchman said, "he's an established captain, and he's achieved a lot of success."
When ten Hag first arrived at the club and spoke to the media, he didn’t comment on who would be his captain. So it’s thought that the Dutchman, alongside his coaching team, including Steve McLaren, have used the time to run the rule over the squad before making a final decision. There had been talk that others were in line and ready to step up to replace the England international as the on-pitch leader for United, but it hasn’t come to the pass.
Cristiano Ronaldo was one of those players being tipped as Maguire’s potential replacement as skipper. But, as rumours continue to spread that he has asked to leave the club as he wants to play in the Champions League next season, it makes sense for him not to have been considered. Ronaldo also remains absent from United duty and hasn’t travelled on the pre-season tour of Thailand, citing family reasons.
So, while United remain in the hunt for new additions and at least one new centre-back, Maguire will lead them out next season, which also means he’s more than likely considered as a first-choice centre-half by ten Hag. You’d think he will likely line up alongside Raphael Varane, who joined the club from Real Madrid last season. But, if a new centre-back arrives, it could mean there will be a formation change.
Ajax centre-back Lisandro Martinez continues to be heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford. The defender, who ten Hag knows well, is on the small size for the position at 5’9, but he’s proven himself capable of winning plenty of aerial battles. But whether he could adapt to the Premier League is another question, and United are seemingly unwilling to match the Eredivisie’s asking price for the Argentinian at present.
It's a similar story where Frenkie de Jong is concerned too. The player, highlighted as a key target for ten Hag and United, is said to be available from Barcelona at the right price. And United have been looking for a high-quality deep-lying midfielder for a while, with de Jing fitting the bill. But again, there has been no agreement struck to make the move happen, with United’s only signing so far being left back Tyrell Malacia from Feyenoord.