Harry Maguire's days at Manchester United are numbered. After joining for a world-record transfer fee for a defender in 2019, Maguire had two up-and-down campaigns, one nightmare season and one year spent mostly sitting on the bench. He is now about to move to West Ham where he will hope to resurrect his club career and ensure he remains in Gareth Southgate's plans for England.
What should United do next, then? They had not initially prioritised bringing in a defender, but Maguire's imminent departure will leave them with only three natural centre-backs in the senior squad. The club have already spent more than £165 million ($209m) on three new arrivals this summer and could yet add another midfielder to their squad if they finalise a deal to sign Sofyan Amrabat from Fiorentina.
They are already stretched financially and are unlikely to dedicate large funds to signing a player who is set to be behind Lisandro Martinez, Raphael Varane and potentially Victor Lindelof in the pecking order.
On the other hand, their squad will be stretched over the course of the season as they aim to go deep in four competitions and return to the Champions League - remember Martinez and Varane picked up injuries in the same game last season - and centre-back is too important a position to be left to an inexperienced youngster.
GOAL, then, assesses United's options as they consider how to replace their former captain: