Tottenham should take prime opportunity to snatch £30m England star from under West Ham’s nose

Spurs have been linked with a January move for Manchester United defender Harry Maguire, by reports in Spain.
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I’m starting to believe; believe that he might be the unassuming messiah; believe that through it all, he offers protection, a lot of love and affection; believe that if it came down to it, Ange Postecoglou could probably perform a handbrake turn in a canal boat.

The Australian has done things for Tottenham Hotspur in recent weeks that many thought to be impossible. He has them playing enticing football. He has them winning matches from improbable predicaments. He has instilled a backbone and a sense of omnibenevolence in a club that far too often in recent years has resembled a spiteful, beached jellyfish. And he’s done it all without Harry Kane.

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Perhaps Saturday’s late, late, late win over Sheffield United was the most fitting encapsulation yet of the decent revolution that Postecoglou is currently enacting in north London. The two stoppage goals - one in the 98th minute and another in the 100th - were one thing, but it was the manner in which it was celebrated afterwards that really impressed; joy, togetherness, optimism - and not one ounce of it performative or hollow.

At the centre of it all, of course, was Richarlison. The Brazilian, pushed towards the South Stand during the ensuing revelry as he was by captain Son Heung-min, fully deserved his moment in the spotlight. Not only did he score an equaliser and assist the winner, but he did so in the aftermath of a taxing week in which he spoke frankly and admirably about his recent mental health struggles.

And behind him, backing him to the hilt in press conferences and the like, was Postecoglou. “Whatever Richy needs, we will help him get to the space he wants to get to”, the Spurs boss said last week.

“He put it out there because he was quite emotional after a game and we will give him support he needs, but we do that for all players and most professional clubs do. What I will say is no one has a perfect life. People think footballers do things well and have all the money they need but it does not make them immune from life.”

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Which brings us, in a roundabout sort of way, to Harry Maguire. To suggest that the Manchester United defender has been ostracised in recent times would be an understatement. Granted, there have been lengthy, painful periods when he has been excessively poor, and his tumble down the pecking order at Old Trafford has arguably been more justifiable than his continued inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s England plans.

But the way in which he has become a scapegoat for the many, a cheap punchline for the cruel jokes of the timeline’s most wearisome click matadors, is bordering on the unacceptable. So bad is the constant stream of low key abuse that even Maguire’s mother, Mrs. Maguire, has stepped in to speak out in defence of her son.

From an outside perspective, at least, the situation feels slightly more nuanced than the trolls would have us believe. Maguire is a good footballer - perhaps not as good as his Manchester United transfer fee asserted - but decent nonetheless, and don’t forget that Pep Guardiola’s Man City were also eager to sign him back in 2019. He is also a player whose nerves are held together at the present moment in time by wads of chewing gum and silly string.

What the 30-year-old really needs, then, is a fresh start. He nearly got one over the summer too, only for his proposed transfer to West Ham to collapse at, if not the 11th hour, at least around half past 10. Since then, his Mancunian purgatory has been pockmarked by agonising cameos and a more general shunning writ large, but, if reports in Spain are to be taken at their word, hope may yet linger for the centre-back - and it is provided by Ange Postecoglou.

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According to reports from Spain, Maguire, valued at around £30 million by United, is a January target for Tottenham, and it is understood that the Red Devils are more than willing to make his potential departure a reality. If there is any truth in this, it feels like an absolute no-brainer for the player. To join a project like Spurs’ under a manager as sympathetic and accomodating as Postecoglou could be exactly the catalyst he is crying out for as he seeks to revive his ailing career.

And then there is the Tottenham perspective. On the face of it, their reasons for pursuing Maguire may not be immediately obvious - but take a step back and think for a second, not through the prism of internet discourse, but through the lens of common sense. Here we have a 59-cap England international with experience at the very pinnacle of the game, who, in the right setting can be an assured defensive presence, and despite the claims of the naysayers, possesses a healthy amount of technical ability. Has he shown any of that over the past four years? In truth, rarely. But that doesn’t mean that he isn’t capable of producing the form that inspired United to sign him in the first place again. Even if he is just a squad member, just an experienced deputy to bolster the dressing room, his arrival could have its advantages.

West Ham evidently thought so, and given his early showings as Tottenham manager, there are no reasons to distrust Postecoglou’s apparent faith in him either. Because if the affable Australian has taught us anything these past couple of months, it’s that everybody deserves a second chance, and anybody can make good on it. Even Harry Maguire.

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