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Erik ten Hag insists he is “very happy” Harry Maguire remains at Manchester United but reiterated he must fight for his place with Jonny Evans in talks about extending his short-term deal.

Maguire looked set to leave Old Trafford after West Ham agreed a fee in the region of £30m to sign the England international last week, but negotiations broke down and the transfer fell through.

Sky Sports News understands a departure for Maguire, who lost the United captaincy earlier this summer, this late in the transfer window would have left the club with little time to bring in a replacement.


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Asked about Maguire’s situation ahead of United’s Premier League trip to Tottenham on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, Ten Hag said: “I don’t know about the process, only that Harry is a player for us, I’m happy he’s here, and we need a good squad.

“We have four good centre-halves, with Luke Shaw then we have five. We need that because we could go on to play 50-60 games this season.

“All the players are internationals, we have a lot of fixtures to cover, so I’m very happy Harry Maguire’s here. He has to fight for his position, as does everyone in the squad. We construct a squad with double positions, but we need it.”

Harry Maguire's stats since he joined Manchester United from Leicester in 2019
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Harry Maguire’s stats since he joined Manchester United from Leicester in 2019

Ten Hag has always maintained there is a place in his squad for Maguire and re-emphasised the 30-year-old still has the quality to succeed in Manchester.

“It’s up to him,” Ten Hag replied when asked what Maguire can realistically hope for this season.

“He knows what I expect from him. He can do it and I’ve told you many times before that he has the ability to do it, so now he has to show it.

“It’s about character, to be convinced, and to play the role. He has all the abilities to do it and it’s up to him.”

What to watch on Sky Sports this week

Enjoy live action from the Premier League, EFL, Scottish Premiership and more

Leeds v West Brom – August 18 – LIVE on Sky Sports Football
Plymouth v Southampton – August 19 – LIVE on Sky Sports Football
Tottenham v Man Utd – August 19 – LIVE on Sky Sports Premier League
Norwich v Millwall – August 20 – LIVE on Sky Sports Football
Aston Villa v Everton – August 20 – LIVE on Sky Sports Premier League
West Ham v Chelsea – August 20 – LIVE on Sky Sports Premier League
The Hundred – August 1 to 27 – LIVE on Sky Sports Cricket
BMW Championship – August 17 to 20 – LIVE on Sky Sports Golf

Ten Hag: I want Evans to stay

Speculation over Maguire’s future this summer has also intensified following the return of former United defender Evans.

Evans signed a short-term deal for pre-season after his contract with Leicester expired and Ten Hag confirmed the Northern Ireland international is in talks with the club about extending his stay.

“Harry Maguire’s situation doesn’t affect it,” Ten Hag said. “We will see what happens. We are in talks and when we have news we will bring that, as always. For this month, Jonny is under contract.”

On whether he would like Evans to remain at the club, Ten Hag added: “Yeah, otherwise we wouldn’t be talking.”

‘All positions are covered’

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Manchester United are finding it ‘increasingly difficult’ to make further signings with Scott McTominay and Harry Maguire both currently staying at Old Trafford

As well as Evans, United have brought in goalkeeper Andre Onana, midfielder Mason Mount and striker Rasmus Hojlund during the summer transfer window so far.

There have been suggestions more signings could be made before the deadline on September 1, but Ten Hag insists he is happy with his current squad.

“Our squad is covered. All the positions are covered,” he said. “But of course, we are Manchester United, we are always looking for improvement and if there is the opportunity then we will strike in the last two weeks.

“We’re always looking for opportunities, but I think we have a good squad and with this squad we are convinced that we can go for our targets.”

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Manchester United signed striker Rasmus Hojlund from Atalanta for £72m this summer

‘We must step up’ – Ten Hag on away form

United travel to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday evening looking to improve on last season’s dismal away form.

Against the teams that finished in the top 10 during the 2022/23 campaign, United collected just four points from a possible 27 and Ten Hag is determined to ensure that does not happen again.

“This is one of our aims this season,” the Dutchman said. “We have to step up in away games and bring higher levels because that is the foundation for more points.

“It’s often to do with personality, so that’s the demand from me on the players. We have to show more personality on the pitch to win such games and to gather more points.”

Erik ten Hag, Man Utd
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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag insists his side’s away form must improve this season

Ten Hag: Off-field issues don’t affect us

Ten Hag was also asked about issues off the pitch including Mason Greenwood’s future and the ongoing ownership saga.

United released a statement on Wednesday announcing they are in the “final stages” of making a decision on Greenwood, while confirmation of the Glazers potentially selling the club to Sheikh Jassim or Sir Jim Ratcliffe is yet to be announced.

Mason Greenwood
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Manchester United have said they are in the ‘final stages’ of making a decision on Mason Greenwood’s future

Asked if that uncertainty affects the players and staff, Ten Hag said: “No, that doesn’t concern me. We focus on our way of playing and on team performance.

“It’s about the players who are available, and so we’re focusing now on Tottenham Hotspur. Every start of the season is difficult, we know that and we are really aware of it.

“We had a start [against Wolves] but we know the performance was not what we hoped. But we won, it showed our character and personality, and that’s one of the things we had to step up.”

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Ten Hag: Martinez should be fit to face Spurs

Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez was substituted at half-time against Wolves on Monday because of an ankle problem, but Erik ten Hag confirmed he should be available to face Tottenham this weekend.

The United boss said: “He was training on Thursday, so I think he will be okay.”

Follow the summer transfer window with Sky Sports

Who will be on the move this summer when the transfer window opens on June 14 and closes at 11pm on September 1 in England and midnight in Scotland?

Keep up to date with all the latest transfer news and rumours in our dedicated Transfer Centre blog on Sky Sports’ digital platforms. You can also catch up with the ins, outs and analysis on Sky Sports News.

By Sandra Winters

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