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LEICESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: Harry Maguire of Leicester City during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool FC at The King Power Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)

James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

Leicester City have reportedly not inserted a release clause into Harry Maguire‘s new contract amid reports Manchester United made a strong push to sign him in the summer. 

According to Rob Tanner of the Leicester Mercury, the Foxes have avoided such clauses since they were powerless to stop N’Golo Kante’s switch to Chelsea in 2016 following their Premier League triumph.

Per the report, manager Claude Puel plans to build his squad around the England international, and he was understandably excited when he signed the new deal:

“What I can say is it is a good feeling for all the club and for our fans because this signing shows the ambition of the club, the owners and for the fans.

“It is a very good feeling for the future. For the squad also. We kept our best player.

“It is a good thing to continue to improve and develop our play with a good focus and concentration for their club.”

The report also acknowledged speculation is likely to persist, but the Foxes are confident of keeping him.

Maguire was among the Three Lions standouts during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, leading to plenty of rumours. United were believed to be in the market for a centre-back, and the 25-year-old’s combination of Premier League experience and relative youth made him the perfect target.

Among the other options, Tottenham Hotspur’s Toby Alderweireld and Yerry Mina of Barcelona were frequently mentioned, per Sky Sports News. Mina made the switch to Everton instead. 

Maguire’s rise to prominence has been a swift one, as he didn’t become a first-team regular with Hull City until the 2016-17 campaign. Per BBC Sport, he has come a long way:

Many believed the switch to a top club would be the logical next step this summer, and the new contract came as something of a surprise. While it doesn’t rule out a transfer in the near future, the deal hands Leicester leverage in potential talks.

United may be best served looking elsewhere for a cheaper deal, as it could well take a record amount to pry Maguire out of Leicester at this point. According to ESPN FC, Alderweireld’s contract contains a clause of just £25 million clubs can trigger at the end of this season, and the Belgian remains a likely candidate to move to Old Trafford.

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