Paul Merson believes Chelsea missed a trick by not attempting to sign Manchester United captain Harry Maguire.
Erik ten Hag dropped Maguire to the bench for United’s match against Liverpool on Monday.
The England defender has kept his place amongst the substitutes for Saturday’s trip to Southampton, with Ten Hag favouring the partnership of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez.
The latter was superb against the Reds as his side won 2-1 at Old Trafford, though many still have reservations over his ability to thrive as a central defender in the Premier League.
Maguire will have to be patient for his opportunity to get back into Ten Hag’s strongest XI, but knows he must succeed in doing so, especially in a World Cup year.
The 29-year-old has struggled for confidence at club level but has always been excellent for England under Gareth Southgate.
With the World Cup just around the corner, former Arsenal midfielder Merson says he cannot see Maguire starting in Qatar if he is not consistently playing for the Red Devils.
“It soon comes round the World Cup, it’s November, it’s not next year,” Merson said on Sky Sports.
“If you’re not getting in the team and they get on a little run and you’re not playing I don’t see how you can play in the World Cup and he’s a big part of England’s World Cup.
“It would be a massive decision for Gareth Southgate.”
Maguire has been linked with a shock move to Premier League rivals Chelsea, though the Blues are now close to finalising the signing of Leicester City’s Wesley Fofana, meaning they are unlikely to sign another centre-half before the transfer window slams shut.
“If I was Chelsea, I would’ve gone for Harry Maguire. I would have,” Merson continued.
“Harry Maguire in a three is very good, believe me, he’s played for England and he never gets ripped for England; he’s a good defender in a three.
“Chelsea have to play a three, he would have suited Chelsea.
“He’s an English player as well, sometimes they like English players.”
Merson was then asked if he could see Maguire fitting in alongside 37-year-old Thiago Silva, who often operates in the middle of the back-three under Thomas Tuchel.
“Maybe he plays on the left at Chelsea, he has done it with England,” he replied.
“You’ve got to remember that Chelsea dominate football matches as well. Plus you’ve got Thiago Silva who talks to players.
“It’s a hard one. You know football, it changes. They could get beat today by Southampton, you wouldn’t be shocked, and then all of a sudden someone else is back (out of favour).”
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