Harry Maguire could join Manchester United ahead Manchester City. Photo: Carl Recine/Reuters

Manchester United are now hopeful they can beat rivals Manchester City to the signing of Harry Maguire.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants the 26-year-old Leicester City defender to become the new leader of his revamped side and United will make a lucrative contract offer. Talks are ongoing between the clubs, with Leicester’s £85million valuation the obvious hurdle as United look to strike a compromise closer to £75m.

Maguire initially prefered a move to City but they are reluctant to bid that high.

Leicester have been identifying options to replace Maguire, including Burnley’s £40m-rated James Tarkowski.

United, who have six centre backs in their current first-team squad, are understood to have proposed players in return but Leicester would prefer a straight cash deal.

United are also expected to hold talks in London with Inter Milan director Piero Ausilio today regarding a deal for Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian striker underlined his desire to leave during a meeting with Solskjaer on Monday but Inter have so far failed to meet United’s £75m valuation.

But Solskjaer has told Paul Pogba that he cannot force his way out of Old Trafford, saying: ‘We’re Manchester United — we don’t have to sell players.’

Solskjaer went on to bizarrely claim that Pogba has been the subject of a media agenda, even though the player and his agent Mino Raiola have both indicated that he wants to leave this summer.

Pogba is under contract for up to three years and Solskjaer added: ‘Paul has never been a concern for me. When he is on the pitch he’s working hard — a true professional. I can’t be sitting here talking about Paul all the time and what agents are saying. We’ve got a few years left of his contract.’

Daily Mail