Brendan Rodgers says Frank Lampard is the "perfect" coach to take Chelsea forward.

Lampard has lost his opening two competitive matches in charge of the Blues, going down 4-0 at Manchester United in the Premier League before Tammy Abraham's shoot-out miss saw Liverpool edge the UEFA Super Cup.

Chelsea welcome Rodgers' Leicester City – who drew 0-0 with Wolves in their opening outing – to Stamford Bridge in Lampard's first home match on Sunday.

Despite a difficult start, Rodgers believes former Derby County boss Lampard is an ideal fit for Chelsea, where the former England midfielder spent 13 years as a player and became the club's record goalscorer.

"I think Frank has done very well since he has gone in," Rodgers, a former Chelsea youth coach, told a news conference.

"This is a team that finished third and won the Europa League. I think Frank is perfect for it. He and Jody [Morris], they understand the fabric of Chelsea, what it's about.

"You go with your gut feeling. He's been around a long time. He understands the club, the expectancy.

"He's a hero for the supporters. He'll want to win and succeed as a manager. He's got great staff around him who also understand Chelsea and then he'll have that support."

While first-team regulars Eden Hazard and David Luiz left Chelsea in the close season Lampard has been unable to bring in any new signings due to a transfer ban, though Rodgers has no doubt the 41-year-old will still succeed.

"I don't think it will have a bearing," Rodgers added. "They will have the squad to cope with that, when you're in European competitions you have to have the squad to compete in that. They'll be looking to put on a good performance in their first home game under Frank."

Lampard was equally as complementary about Rodgers, whose side have been tipped to challenge for a top-six finish this season despite selling England defender Harry Maguire to Manchester United for a reported £80million.

"[I've got a] really good relationship with Brendan," Lampard told reporters. "It was obvious when he was here he was going to go on to big things.

"He's forward thinking, very open with his players and he's proved that in his career. I look forward to seeing him."

Leicester City midfielder Andy King has joined Steven Gerrard's Rangers on loan, both clubs have announced.

King will spend the 2019-20 campaign with the Glasgow side having fallen out of favour with the Foxes.

The midfielder made 25 appearances as Leicester won the Premier League title in 2015-16 and he then helped Wales reach the Euro 2016 semi-finals.

King becomes Rangers' 10th signing of the transfer window, following players including Steven Davis, Brandon Barker and Sheyi Ojo to Ibrox.

The 30-year-old was present as Rangers beat Midtjylland on Thursday to reach the Europa League play-off round.

Gerrard's men will next take on Polish side Legia Warsaw for a place in the competition's group stage.

Frank Lampard's bid for a first Premier League victory in charge of Chelsea shifts to Stamford Bridge this weekend but a happy homecoming is far from guaranteed.

Why? Largely, because of Jamie Vardy.

The fast-moving, hard-pressing, all-action Leicester City striker is a nuisance the competition's best sides have often failed to contain over the past five years.

His record against England's big six of Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and the two Manchester clubs makes for captivating reading.

But the Opta data on Vardy might just leave Blues boss Lampard - who saw his side beaten on penalties by Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday - in a cold sweat ahead of Sunday's encounter.

More goals than Aguero

Marooned in non-league football not so long ago, Vardy is now a veteran of five Premier League campaigns.

The 32-year-old has scored 80 goals in that time - more than Eric Cantona achieved - and no fewer than 31 against the big six.

That impressive second figure becomes exceptional when you consider he has faced such opposition on 55 occasions, his goals arriving at a rate of one every 141.2 minutes.

Sergio Aguero and Harry Kane have each managed more than 20 against the competition's heavyweights but neither boasts as many as Vardy since 2014-15.

Factor in a modest supporting cast, occasionally weakened by departures to the teams he continually troubles, and the Foxes frontman seems to defy logic on big occasions.

How, then, are his scoring figures so high?

Staggering conversion rate the cornerstone of carnage

In short, Vardy simply performs better when faced with a tougher task.

Opta statistics show his 31 goals against the big six have come from 105 attempts on goal, spawning a shot conversion rate of 29.5 per cent.

For comparison, the former Fleetwood Town striker converts with 18.8 per cent of his shots when squaring off against the rest the Premier League has to offer.

That accounts for a difference of 10.7 per cent.

The discrepancy is remarkable, particularly as his expected goals (xG) figure barely changes: from 0.46 per 90 minutes against the big six to a superior 0.48 against the rest.

Take penalties out of the equation and the gap in Vardy's shot conversion between big-six opposition and the rest of the Premier League widens further, to a difference of 12.7 per cent (28 per cent versus 15.3 per cent).

Earlier this year, after Vardy moved ahead of Gary Lineker on Leicester's list of all-time top scorers, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers described the fiery forward as being "very hungry to improve and get better" even in his post-England years.

Chelsea, you have been warned.

Neymar may be close to securing his return to Barcelona after all.

After leaving Barca for a world-record fee in 2017, Neymar has made it clear he wants out of Paris Saint-Germain and re-joining the LaLiga champions has emerged as an option.

While Real Madrid have been linked, Neymar could be granted a Camp Nou comeback.

 

TOP STORY – PSG EYE COUTINHO IN NEYMAR TRANSFER

Paris Saint-Germain would accept Philippe Coutinho in a deal that would send Neymar back to Barcelona, reports RMC Sport.

Neymar sat out Sunday's 3-0 Ligue 1 victory over Nimes amid links to Barca and LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

Talks between PSG and Barca have hit an impasse as the French champions look to recoup most of the €222million they invested in Neymar two years ago.

Barca have already invested heavily in the transfer market, however, talks between the two clubs have accelerated thanks to the possible inclusion of Coutinho and cash. At the other end of the spectrum, Sport says talks have stalled as PSG demand three players in addition to a fee.

 

ROUND-UP 

- Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is top of Inter's wish list before the transfer window shuts in Europe. Tuttosport claims Mauro Icardi's possible exit to either Juventus or Napoli would finance a deal for the Serbia international, who was tipped to move to Manchester United if Paul Pogba left for Real Madrid. Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic is also a target for Inter, according to reports in Spain.

- The window may have closed in England, however, The Sun says Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard wants to sign Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell when the club's transfer ban ends.

- Inter winger Ivan Perisic is scheduled to undergo a medical at Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, according to Corriere dello Sport. Former Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg star Perisic is poised to return to Germany via Bayern on a season-long loan deal with the option to buy.

- Tuttosport says Juventus full-back Luca Pellegrini is set to re-join Cagliari on loan. Pellegrini – who spent the second half of last season on loan at Cagliari – only arrived in Turin from Roma in June.

Napoli are poised to sign PSV star Hirving Lozano, according to Calciomercato. The Mexico international's agent Mino Raiola has reportedly travelled to Naples to wrap up a deal.

Manchester United kicked off their Premier League season in style with a 4-0 victory over Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The final game of the weekend saw United run out comfortable winners on Frank Lampard's bow as Chelsea head coach, with Marcus Rashford scoring twice.

Arsenal also made a positive start to the 2019-20 campaign as they edged out Newcastle United 1-0 at St James' Park, while the clash between Midlands rivals Leicester City and Wolves finished goalless.

That game was not without its controversy, though, with VAR playing a big part in the outcome.

 

RASHFORD, MARTIAL SPOIL LAMPARD'S BIG DAY

Despite starting the match slowly and never really hitting top gear, United put four unanswered goals past Chelsea in a result that can be considered a statement of intent.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer started two of his new signings - Aaron Wan-Bissaka and the world's most expensive defender Harry Maguire - before bringing Daniel James on as a second-half substitute.

Rashford opened the scoring for the hosts from the penalty spot against the run of play, after being brought down by Kurt Zouma.

Chelsea struck the frame of the goal through Tammy Abraham and Emerson Palmieri either side of Rashford's opener. However, the game soon slipped away from them following the interval as Anthony Martial rounded off a swift counter-attack and Rashford slotted home a third in the space of 95 seconds.

Debutant James completed the scoring to leave Lampard's men in the relegation zone for the first time since September 30, 2000. It was Chelsea's biggest top-flight defeat to United in 54 years.

AUBAMEYANG THE DIFFERENCE FOR ARSENAL

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang picked up from where he left off last season by scoring the only goal of the game as Arsenal claimed a 1-0 win in Steve Bruce's first competitive match in charge of Newcastle.

A game of few clear-cut chances was settled by last term's joint-Golden Boot winner, who made the most of some slack defending - loanee Jetro Willems being most at fault - to punish United with just under an hour played.

Arsenal, who named new signings David Luiz, Nicolas Pepe, Emiliano Martinez and Dani Ceballos on the bench, saw out the final half an hour to match their away clean sheets tally from the whole of last term in a pleasing result for Unai Emery.

 

DENDONCKER DENIED BY VAR

Two sides tipped to possibly gatecrash the established top six this season faced off at the King Power Stadium, with Leicester and Wolves sharing the spoils.

Dendoncker thought he had scored the only goal of the match after bundling in from a corner early in the second half, but it was ruled out as VAR official Jon Moss spotted a handball from Willy Boly in the build-up.

Raul Jimenez also came close to scoring for Wolves, who were in action three days on from a 4,000-mile round trip to Armenia for a Europa League qualifier, but his deflected shot was dealt with by Kasper Schmeichel.

Harry Maguire effectively became Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's number one transfer target after Manchester United faced Leicester City in February.

United boss Solskjaer says the England centre-back showed he could become the man around whom to build a revamped defence after the Red Devils' 1-0 Premier League win at the King Power Stadium last season.

Maguire, who joined for a reported £80million fee on August 5, is in line for his United debut against Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Solskjaer says the 26-year-old has already had an impact on the dressing room and expects him to give his side "another dimension" - although he stopped short of comparing the player to Liverpool star Virgil van Dijk.

"I'm delighted we have got Harry in because he's going to be great for this club," Solskjaer said.

"He was always my number one target. I more or less made my mind up when we played Leicester that if it was possible to get him, we should at least try. He is so composed on the ball and he gives the team another dimension.

"He has already shown what a presence he will be and what an impact he will have in the squad. Harry is a leader, an established international, a goal threat and a very, very good defender.   

"I don't want to compare us to Liverpool or Harry to Van Dijk, but I know Harry is going to have a massive impact on us, yes."

Maguire was one of three United transfers in the close season, with Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka also moving to Old Trafford.

The arrival of Maguire and two 21-year-olds, coupled with United's use of youngsters including Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong and Angel Gomes in pre-season, highlights Solskjaer's commitment to constructing a side based on youth.

"You can call it a gamble. I am just staying true to what I believe in," he said. "I believe in this way of managing a football club.

"I am paid to manage for the club and it is not just about me getting results now to get my reputation. It is about the club going forward in the right direction.

"If we don't make these decisions now, they will have to be done in 12 months or 18 months or 24 months because at some point these kids will have to be a part of Man United. That has always been the case.

"That is the upside and downside of who you want to keep. For us, to give our kids the best chance, we decided this is the right way."

Brendan Rodgers says Leicester City were priced out of buying a replacement for Harry Maguire, who has earned praise from his former manager for his conduct while he waited to join Manchester United.

Maguire became the world's most expensive defender on Monday when United's reported bid of £80million was accepted by Leicester, ending a transfer saga that lasted throughout the transfer window.

City spent the final few days of the window looking to fill the void left by Maguire, with Bournemouth's Nathan Ake and James Tarkowski of Burnley said to have been their two main targets.

But Rodgers claimed the Foxes were quoted prices that did not reflect the value of the club's targets and is hoping others already in the squad can now step up.

"We looked but the market proved too difficult. But we're equally comfortable working with the players we have," Rodgers said.

"It was always going to be a very difficult market. But the club prepared for that eventuality a year ago by bringing in two outstanding young centre-halves in Caglar [Soyuncu] and Filip [Benkovic].

"We knew we had those guys there, along with Jonny Evans, who is a top centre-half. Wes Morgan as well, who is a great leader and great captain."

Maguire had been the subject of intense interest from United prior to the big-money deal going through this week, while Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola also admitted to being a big fan of the England international.

Speaking ahead of Leicester's opening Premier League match of the season against Wolves on Sunday, Rodgers was keen to thank the outgoing defender for the professionalism he showed in the final stages of his Foxes stint.

"We lost a very important player in Harry, who was a very good man," he said.

"What Harry did over the course of the summer was show how to conduct yourself with professionalism and respect for your club and your team-mates. He showed that good guys get what they want in the end."

Romelu Lukaku has at last secured his move to Inter from Manchester United, having signed a five-year contract.

The Belgium international said the Nerazzurri were the only club he wanted to join after United accepted an €80million (£73m) deal.

Arsenal have finally managed to bolster their defence - and twice, too. Kieran Tierney moved from Celtic with around 11 minutes of the window to go, while David Luiz's transfer from Chelsea for a reported £8m was announced later.

Tottenham have completed the signing of Ryan Sessegnon from Fulham in a package that saw them pay around £25m and send Josh Onomah to the Championship club.

Spurs also managed to get Giovani Lo Celso over the line on a season-long loan with the option to buy, although talks for Paulo Dybala ended in frustration, the Argentina star instead staying at Juventus.

Watford broke their transfer record for Rennes winger Ismaila Sarr after landing Danny Welbeck on a free and tried to get Danny Rose in at left-back, but they were unable to get it done.

Spurs have allowed Cameron Carter-Vickers to leave, though, with the 21-year-old heading to Stoke City on loan.

Danny Drinkwater should get the chance for some first-team football - at least until January 6 - after Chelsea sent him to Burnley on a half-season loan.

Leicester City did not manage to replace Harry Maguire, but they did strike a late deal for Sampdoria midfielder Dennis Praet.

Manchester City could not resist signing one more full-back before the window closed - they splashed out a reported £11m (€12m) on Pedro Porro of Girona, who is expected to spend the season on loan with Real Valladolid.

The Premier League champions also brought in goalkeeper Scott Carson on loan from Derby County for the season.

One player who did not move was Wilfried Zaha, with Crystal Palace refusing to sanction a sale to Everton. It marked a positive day for Roy Hodgson's side, who signed James McCarthy and Victor Camarasa to bolster the midfield.

Instead, the Toffees turned to Arsenal's Alex Iwobi and are believed to have got the formalities of a deal concluded before the deadline - although they have not yet announced his arrival - while they have loaned Muhamed Besic to Sheffield United.

Aaron Mooy joined Brighton and Hove Albion on a season-long loan from Huddersfield Town, who got Trevoh Chalobah from Chelsea for 2019-20. West Brom secured Charlie Austin on a two-year deal and Grady Diangana on loan, and Leeds United snapped up Eddie Nketiah from Arsenal to boost their promotion push.

There was also a notable homecoming at Newcastle United, as free agent Andy Carroll finalised terms before the deadline, while Jacob Murphy left St James' Park for a loan move to Sheffield Wednesday.

Aiyawatt 'Top' Srivaddhanaprabha has been named Leicester City chairman, replacing his late father Vichai in the role.

Srivaddhanaprabha served as the Foxes' vice-chairman but took on the main leadership position following the death of his father in a helicopter crash following the Premier League clash with West Ham last October.

The 34-year-old, who is the CEO of sponsors King Power, was confirmed as the permanent Leicester chairman on Thursday, with brother Apichet replacing him as vice-chairman.

A Foxes statement said Srivaddhanaprabha would "continue to lead the club in the pursuit of a vision he and his father began when their Leicester City journey started nearly a decade ago".

"It is a privilege to become the next chairman of this great club and to lead the Leicester City family into the next chapter of what has already been an extraordinary story," added Srivaddhanaprabha.

"It feels like there is so much more to come."

Dennis Praet has left Sampdoria for Leicester City in a move reported to be worth £18million (€19.5m).

Belgium international midfielder Praet signed a five-year contract at the King Power Stadium.

The 25-year-old established himself as a star performer in three seasons at Samp and was said to be the subject of interest from Juventus last year.

Praet subsequently signed a new contract that ran until 2021, but he has now moved to the Premier League.

He joins a midfield that already includes the talents of compatriot Youri Tielemans, Wilfred Ndidi, James Maddison and Hamza Choudhury.

Manchester United "caved in" during negotiations to sign Harry Maguire from Leicester City, according to football finance expert Kieran Maguire.

England centre-back Harry Maguire agreed a six-year deal at Old Trafford, joining Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side for a reported fee of £80million - a world record for a defender.

The transfer sparked widespread debate about the size of the fee, with Liverpool's £75m centre-back Virgil van Dijk warning "the price comes with pressure".

Kieran Maguire, senior teacher in accountancy at the University of Liverpool, believes Leicester made the most of having the upper hand in talks.

"In terms of the price paid for Harry Maguire, Leicester were in an excellent negotiating position," he told Omnisport.

"They know Manchester United are desperate to get back into the Champions League positions, Harry Maguire was on a long-term contract, Leicester didn't need to sell.

"Therefore, they were able to reject all of the initial offers and hold back until we're nearly at the end of the transfer window, and United caved in."

Kieran Maguire thinks huge fees for defensive players will become increasingly common as clubs use detailed analysis to ascertain the value of having a solid rearguard that can also help build attacks.

He said: "Many companies these days are using big data, and they can see that the value of having a solid defence can make a significant difference to your end of season haul of points.

"As a consequence of that they've started to invest in defenders, when historically the focus would have been on attacking players.

"I think what we've seen over the course of the last couple of years is that the price of goalkeepers has gone up as clubs have realised that actually they want to play 11-man football, so they're using goalkeepers who are competent with their feet.

"But also they're looking for defenders who can bring the ball out, who can link up with the rest of the team as opposed to being merely a player who could clear the ball. So therefore somebody like Harry Maguire, who is a ball-playing defender, carries a premium price."

Harry Maguire has been handed the No.5 shirt at Manchester United and a famous former owner of the jersey, Rio Ferdinand, is sure the England defender will thrive despite the expectations at Old Trafford.

After a saga lasting for the much of the close season, Maguire's move to United was finally confirmed on Monday.

The former Hull City and Sheffield United centre-back is reported to have become the world's most expensive defender, with United said to have paid Leicester City an £80million transfer fee.

Despite the pressure that comes with such a fee, United great Ferdinand believes Maguire will more than live up to the billing.

"Is there pressure? Yes. Is there expectation from across the world? Definitely. Are all eyes on me [after being the subject of a record-breaking transfer]? 100 per cent," Ferdinand, who became the most expensive British footballer when he signed for United from Leeds United in 2002, wrote on Instagram.

"Will your team-mates be expecting big things? Of course. Will people be expecting a massive change in the team's fortune? Most definitely.

"These were the feelings and questions that were surrounding me when signing for the great club United.

"He's grown into someone who can lead and be a leader of men, and shown at both ends of the pitch he can be effective.

"I think something United have needed defensively in recent years is a big character who can take on the responsibility of leading from the back and, from what I've heard from people who know him well, they are confident that he will bring that to this football club.

"I would like to wish him well in the No.5 shirt of United and hope he can help bring back success to our club."

 

The Harry Maguire transfer saga is over at last, with Manchester United confirming the signing on Monday.

The England centre-back has agreed to a six-year deal at Old Trafford and moves for a reported fee of £80million - a world record for a defender.

It has been quite the journey for Maguire, who did his time in England's lower leagues and only joined Leicester City for roughly £17m two years ago.

Even in the modern hyper-inflated market, the fee United have paid for the 26-year-old has certainly raised some eyebrows. But is he worth the money?

It may not seem like it now, but time will show United have got value for money - by Peter Hanson

The issue when analysing fees forked out by clubs in this extravagant era of spending is that people judge the fee in isolation rather than in the context of the mind-boggling market we now live in.

If we look at the reported £80m United have paid for Maguire as a single transfer then, yes, of course you can argue the sum is too high.

But, the economics of transfer fees now means that the deal is about the going rate for an England international, particularly given English players command inflated fees due to the home-grown rules in Premier League squads and a dearth of top-class domestic talent.

For those who shout loudest on Twitter that Maguire is not worth more than the £75m Liverpool spent to bring Virgil van Dijk to Anfield, again that is a valid argument but it is a distorted argument. 

Since Van Dijk made that switch in January 2018, four deals have broken the £100m barrier with Neymar's move to PSG the first to go past the quite frankly absurd benchmark in July 2017.

So, realistically the Maguire deal cannot be compared to Van Dijk's simply because Van Dijk with the market as it is would easily bring in a minimum of a £100m fee. If the question is, is there a £20-40m price differential between the two players the answer is unquestionably yes.

Moreover, Maguire perfectly fits the mould of young, hungry, British talent Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been looking to bring into United.

United have signed a player entering his peak years, who is an established international and a defender with great aerial prowess and reading of the game. He undoubtedly improves a United defence that shipped 54 Premier League goals last term – only West Ham in the top 10 conceded more.

It may not seem like it now, but time will show United have got value for money in Maguire.

Had United finally done anything to improve their recruitment network, they could have scoured for better business - by Joe Wright

Let's be clear: United's defence will be better with Maguire than without him. Does that make this a prudent transfer? Not really.

Solskjaer's centre-back options have needed serious strengthening, but signing Maguire so late in the window - for such a staggeringly inflated fee - feels a desperate act that does not entirely do the job.

Maguire stood out in a poor Hull City team that were relegated from the Premier League. He performed well for a Leicester City side that still conceded 108 league goals in his two seasons at the club - 22 more than United, if we're counting.

He was a consistent positive for England in the World Cup in Russia last year, as the Three Lions finished fourth. It was then that the first links with the Manchester clubs began in earnest.

All this sounds like the summary of a decent defender delivering generally adequate and sometimes excellent performances for teams without high expectations. It's an apt one for Maguire, and it should not be enough to make him United's top target for a defensive revolution.

He is now the world's most expensive defender. Is he the best? Of course not. He is not even the best at United's disposal - there is more to Victor Lindelof's all-round game than Maguire's.

Solskjaer has praised Maguire for being "a great reader of the game", "a strong presence" and "calm under pressure" with "composure on the ball". There are alternatives around Europe who exceed him in those qualities.

For "strength" and "calm", why not try Kalidou Koulibaly, a player Napoli would countenance selling to fund a recruitment drive that included Kostas Manolas, another fine central defender? For reading the game and composure in possession, go for Milan Skriniar and exploit Inter's interest in Romelu Lukaku to make the deal happen. More preparation in the market might have allowed a swoop for Lucas Hernandez before his Bayern Munich move, or a deal for Samuel Umtiti to help Barcelona offset their huge transfer and wage expenditure.

There is plenty of conjecture here, of course, but had United finally done anything to improve their recruitment network, they could have scoured for better business than Maguire - a good player, but little more than that.

Virgil van Dijk warned Harry Maguire that his move to Manchester United means pressure after becoming the world's most expensive defender.

Maguire swapped Leicester City for Premier League giants United in a world-record deal reportedly worth £80million following months of speculation.

The England international, who signed a six-year contract with the option of a further season at Old Trafford, and his transfer to United is believed to have surpassed the £75m Liverpool paid Southampton for Van Dijk in January 2018.

Van Dijk, who led Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2018-19, knows the pressure associated with huge price tags and he had advice for Maguire.

"Good luck to him," he said. "I can't say anything about that because there was always going to be a time when it was going to change.

"That's the market. He doesn't have any influence on that but I wish him well. The price comes with pressure, but it doesn't change too much because you always have pressure at big clubs like Man United. But I wish him well."

"Just focus on doing what you love to do and play your best game," Van Dijk said when asked how he coped with the pressure of a hefty price tag. "Get your qualities out of the pitch, enjoy your game and don't think about the other things.

"It is not easy to completely shut off all the pressure. Personally, I like to put things in perspective. Quite a lot of things are more important than playing football and what we do, we are blessed.

"We can do what we love to do and also to play for Liverpool – they are such a big club. You need to enjoy it but the pressure will always be there."

Harry Maguire's long-anticipated move to Manchester United has finally gone through for a reported £80million.

The England man developed into a fully fledged top-flight star at Leicester City and their reward was a world-record fee for a defender.

But have United found someone capable of making the step up from a mid-table club and helping them return as a dominant force in English football?

With the help of Opta, we take a look at how his numbers stack up against his new United team-mates and the rest of the Premier League.

 

STRONGER THAN UNITED TEAM-MATES

United struggled to establish a regular partnership in defence last term, with Victor Lindelof clearly a favourite as the rest of the cast rotated alongside him.

Maguire will go straight into the side and it is easy to see why Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was so keen to sign him; the centre-back brings an impressive blend of attributes.

Last season, he won 78 per cent of his aerial battles, bettering physical defenders Chris Smalling (64 per cent), Phil Jones (72 per cent) and Eric Bailly (76 per cent). His front-foot defending was evident as he executed 37 interceptions, too.

Meanwhile, Maguire made 61 passes per 90 minutes, more than ball-playing centre-backs Lindelof (52) and Jones (54).

Importantly, Maguire played in 31 matches - more than Lindelof, Smalling, Jones and Bailly - managing to show consistency and avoid the injury issues that dogged many of his new colleagues.

TOPPING PREMIER LEAGUE CHARTS

It is not just set against United's rather uninspiring group of central defenders that Maguire stands out either.

His aerial success rate was the best in the Premier League last season, outperforming Professional Footballers' Association Players' Player of the Year Virgil van Dijk (75 per cent).

But Maguire really comes into his own when given the freedom to carry the ball forward, completing the most dribbles (16) of any centre-back in the top flight in 2018-19.

Within the same group he also ranked joint-sixth for goals (three), eighth for passes (1747), fourth for touches in the opposition box (63) and sixth for shots (30).

Whether from set-pieces or when starting attacks inside his own half, Maguire should add to United's goal threat.

STILL WORK TO DO DEFENSIVELY?

Maguire might represent an upgrade on United's other defensive options but there are still areas for concern in his game.

In fact, some of Maguire's numbers in 2018-19 were less impressive than they had been a year earlier as he burst onto the scene and established himself in the England side.

The former Sheffield United man made just 31 tackles in 31 games last season, down from 63 in 38. A change in Leicester's approach might explain that difference, but Maguire's success rate in such challenges also fell considerably, from 73 per cent to 54.8 per cent.

Maguire clearly enjoyed playing out from the back last term - making seven more passes in seven fewer matches than in 2017-18 - but he also made four errors leading to opposition shots.

Only three players in the league (Willy Boly, Lewis Dunk and Sean Morrison) made more and must now strike a balance between defence and attack at United.

Page 1 of 21
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.