Manchester United have agreed a £30 million fee with West Ham United for Harry Maguire, thus concluding a spell at the club that had gotten increasingly toxic.
However, in the process, the club might have to take a huge financial hit.
Reports say that United will have to pay Maguire millions for him to leave for West Ham, in the absence of which a move could collapse.
So, why is Harry Maguire paid to leave? What’s the story behind the Harry Maguire payout and how can United avoid similar situations in the future?
Here’s an explainer-
Why is Harry Maguire paid to leave?
As soon as the Englishman’s move to the Hammers was reported, new reports emerged that United will have to fork out millions of their own to facilitate the transfer.
This is because Maguire was on huge wages at Old Trafford, the sort of figure that West Ham would never come close to matching. So, United have to make up for the wage loss Maguire will face by joining West Ham, which has been reported as close to £6 million.
How does that work though? Here’s the whole background.
As a part of the contract he signed when he joined from Leicester City for a world-record fee in 2019, he is being paid about £200k/week at the club.
A pay rise was also in the works this summer as United were back in the Champions League.
The club puts wage reduction clauses in the contract of players at the club which come into effect if the team fails to qualify for Europe’s premier cup competition.
The loss of revenue is directly compensated by reduced wages.
Erik ten Hag steered them back into the Champions League, meaning Maguire’s wage was back to the normal amount of £200k/week.
Now West Ham, despite recent European success of their own last season (winning the UEFA European Conference League), don’t come anywhere near United in terms of their wage bill.
As per Capology, their highest-earning player is Lucas Paqueta, who takes home £150k/week. There are only five players at the club who earn six figures per week.
Compare this with United, where there are 17 players earning six figures, with Maguire, who would be West Ham’s top-earner on United’s wages, coming in as just the 9th highest earner at the club.
Naturally, as the club is insistent on selling the player, the power lies in his hands to demand from United the difference in the financial loss he is about to take by agreeing to a pay cut.
Although Hammers manager David Moyes reportedly rates him highly, even promising him the captaincy if he arrives, he is unlikely to tear up the wage bill for him.
Consequently, Maguire’s pay cut is the only way this move happens.
If we consider that West Ham make Maguire their top earner at the club, it would match him with Paqueta at £150k/week.
That’s a 40k/week wage difference, which when extrapolated to two years (Maguire’s remaining contract length at United), the payout comes to about £4 million.
The £6 million fee which is being reported could be a result of adding the loyalty bonus to the wage difference, as Maguire has never officially put in a transfer request, which leads to the player foregoing his loyalty bonus.
Harry Maguire payout- How do United avoid a repeat?
£6 million is undoubtedly a huge amount. It is pretty much the fee United received for Alex Telles now being spent to sell Maguire. So, how can United avoid this scenario in the future? They’re already on the path.
The main thing for the club to do is to be intelligent with contracts.
A restructuring of the wage structure was necessary at the club after the previous regime handed exorbitant amounts to players in the name of “protecting their value”.
These players, when they become dispensable, become an albatross around the neck. No club matches those wages, leading to a situation like the Harry Maguire payout.
Backloading the contract with performance-based incentives is an ideal way to get around this issue, something which United are reportedly already starting to do.
This would lead to the club having an easier time shifting players, while also saving themselves the hassle of a financial hit while doing so.
Fans would hope that the experience with Maguire serves as a learning curve for the club which looks to be finally finding a direction in the transfer window.