United makes Maguire world's most expensive defender

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Harry Maguire (R) of England vies with Albin Ekdal of Sweden during the 2018 FIFA World Cup quarter-final match between Sweden and England in Samara, Russia, July 7, 2018. (Xinhua/Chen Yichen)

Manchester United made Harry Maguire the world's most expensive defender on Monday, signing him from English Premier League rival Leicester City for around US$100 million.

United said the 26-year-old center back signed a six-year contract with an option for a further season.

A person with knowledge of the deal said that United had struck a deal with Leicester to pay 80 million pounds (US$97 million) for Maguire. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the financial details are not being disclosed.

"He is a great reader of the game and has a strong presence on the pitch," United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said, "with the ability to remain calm under pressure, coupled with his composure on the ball and a huge presence in both boxes, I can see he will fit well into this group, both on and off the pitch."

The fee eclipses the deals for Matthijs de Ligt to leave Ajax for Juventus last month for 75 million euros (then US$85 million), and for Virgil van Dijk to join Liverpool from Southampton for up to 75 million pounds in January 2018.

United is trying to return to the UEFA Champions League after finishing sixth in the EPL last season. United, which opens the campaign on Sunday against Chelsea, hasn't won the league since Alex Ferguson's last season in charge in 2013.

Jose Mourinho won the Europa League and League Cup in 2017 but left last year after a drop in form, leading to Solskjaer's hiring.

"I think we've got to start winning trophies again and that's something the gaffer (manager) wants to bring to the club," Maguire said, "and his winning mentality as well, which will help all the boys.

"It's something that I'm sure him and his staff will all try to bring to the club and we're all looking forward to it."

The England international becomes the Old Trafford club's second most expensive recruit after French midfielder Paul Pogba, who was signed for a then world-record 89 million pounds from Juventus in 2016.

Maguire is United's third recruit of the close season after it signed winger Daniel James from Championship side Swansea City and right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace.

Leicester will be receiving 80 million pounds two years after paying around a fifth of that fee to sign Maguire from Hull City.

Meanwhile, Spanish goalkeeper Adrian signed for UCL holder Liverpool on a free transfer hours after Simon Mignolet left to return to his home country and sign for Belgian side Club Brugge.

Adrian, 32, will be an understudy to the European champion's first choice 'keeper Alisson.

The Spaniard has previous experience in the EPL having played more than 100 times for West Ham United in the past six years.

"I'm very ambitious, I come here to try to win everything, to try to push Ali from the first minute and to make us better," Adrian told the Liverpool website.

"We have many competitions ahead — we're going to fight for it and try to get them.

"I'm looking forward to playing my first game at Anfield and to win as many games as we can."

Mignolet, capped 22 times by his country, had earlier signed a five-year-deal, after passing his medical, costing Brugge a reported 6.4 million pounds.   

"It's official, Simon is a Bruges boy!" the Belgian top flight club said on its website, alongside a video of Mignolet arriving at his new home.

Mignolet, 31, for his part tweeted a fulsome farewell to Liverpool.

"It's been a great ride," Mignolet said.

"There have been ups, downs and everything in between, but I'll always look on my time at Anfield with fondness.

"I have no regrets. I've given my all and I've always done my best to wear the shirt with pride, and to represent the club with dignity and professionalism.

"Once part of the family, always part of the family. Deep inside I'll always be a Red."

Mignolet played for Liverpool on more than 200 occasions after arriving from Sunderland in 2013.

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