Manchester United are reportedly prepared to make an offer for Leicester City centre-back Harry Maguire following his star performances for England at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but he could cost them up to £50 million.
It's said the Foxes' Thai owners will batten down the hatches in their efforts to keep hold of Maguire, but the promise of moving to a more regular major silverware contender like United could prove too tempting.
Riyad Mahrez became Leicester's record departure when he was sold to Manchester City for £60 million on Wednesday, per BBC Sport, and he picked Maguire out as another who is ready for the next step, per journalist Simon Stone:
Leicester have developed a habit of selling their players for a major profit, having sold £5.6 million signing N'Golo Kante to Chelsea for £32 million in 2016, while Danny Drinkwater, who signed for Leicester for a nominal fee from Manchester United in 2012, joined the Blues for £35 million last summer.
Maguire displaced United duo Chris Smalling and Phil Jones in the England setup, and it was a risk worth taking for manager Gareth Southgate, as writer Mohammed Ali lauded him as one of their brightest stars in Russia:
Eric Bailly is revered as a centre-back force for United, but he was in and out of Jose Mourinho's plans last season. He struggled with several injuries but also fell subject to the competition at times.
Maguire, 25, cuts an imposing figure at 6'4" and bulkier than the average central defender, and he formed a promising trio alongside Manchester City pair John Stones and Kyle Walker at the World Cup.
Leicester's star scored his first international goal in the 2-0 quarter-final win over Sweden, and despite England's disappointment, Maguire earned the praise of his peers, like Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher:
There may be other areas in the squad that are in more serious need of renovation, but it seems United have been encouraged to move for Maguire after he dazzled in this summer's showcase.
The approaching August 9 summer transfer deadline gives the Red Devils a little more than three weeks to get a deal over the line, though the player's post-World Cup holidays could cause a delay to any negotiations.