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Pique: Harry Maguire can lead Man United back to the top

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Gerard Pique believes Harry Maguire could make a Virgil van Dijk-like impact by restoring Manchester United’s glory days in the Premier League.

Maguire became the world’s most expensive defender when he completed an £80m (€86m) transfer to from Leicester City this month. He has since started all three of United’s Premier League games, and already looks like a key member of the squad.

In some ways, it mirrors the situation Van Dijk found himself in when he joined Liverpool in January 2018. Upon completing his then-record transfer of £75m (€84m) from Southampton, he’s since led Liverpool to Champions League glory.

To cap things off, Van Dijk beat five-time Ballon d’Or winners Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the UEFA Player of the Year award on Thursday.

Therefore, Pique cannot see why Maguire won’t be able to emulate Van Dijk and help restore United’s former glory.

The Red Devils last won the Premier League in 2012/13 during Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season. They’ve since only managed two top-four finishes in the last six league campaigns.

“It happened before with Van Dijk and before about 10 years ago with Rio Ferdinand [when he joined United from Leeds],” Barcelona defender Pique told the Express.

“Culturally they invest a lot in good defenders and Harry Maguire is a great defender.

“I hope that they can be at the top again. Manchester United in the last few years they have been fighting to qualify for the Champions League but they have to be trying to win the Premier League.

“I hope with this signing they can return to the top.”

Pique himself spent four years at United during the early stages of his career. However, he only made 23 first-team appearances before returning to his boyhood club Barcelona in 2008.

Nevertheless, the former Spain international won the Premier League and Champions League during his time at Old Trafford.

March 2008: Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United (2R) celebrates with teammates Nemanja Vidic (L), Louis Saha (2L) and Gerard Pique (R) as he scores against Bolton.