Back in 2016, Manchester United spent big on signing Paul Pogba from Juventus.
Jose Mourinho was convinced the midfielder would be the solution to the club’s woes, adamant the France international was the midfield general he needed.
Alas, things haven’t worked out so far. And Harry Maguire is now starting to resemble a similar signing to his current team-mate.
Pogba was one of the best players on the pitch as United were held to Burnley on Tuesday night.
The France international put in a solid showing in the middle of the park and scored, too, finding the net after good work from Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes in the build-up.
While Pogba has been good when called upon for United this season, however, he’s still been a flop since arriving from Juventus nearly six years ago.
For every moment of brilliance, an error. For every neat pass, a sloppy one. For every surge upfield, a hesitancy when it comes to tracking back.
Pogba will be gone at the end of the campaign, with United resigned to losing the 28-year-old for a second time.
And there are some who would love to see club captain Maguire follow him out the door.
Like with Pogba, United spent big on the England international – shelling out £80million to prise him away from Leicester in 2019.
Only Pogba has cost more in the club’s entire history, with the 2018 World Cup winner costing £89m upon returning from Juventus in 2016.
And, like his French team-mate, Maguire has never been able to achieve consistency in his game. So far, at least.
With Victor Lindelof still recovering from illness, and Eric Bailly sidelined through injury, United had no choice but to start Maguire alongside Raphael Varane against Burnley on Tuesday.
However, it was a gamble that backfired spectacularly at Turf Moor.
Maguire, whose confidence has appeared shot for a while now, struggled amid the heat of the battle.
His defending was poor for Jay Rodriguez’s equalising goal, with the skipper putting in a half-hearted attempt at a tackle.
It came just days after he’d allowed Cristiano Ronaldo to do the motivating before United’s penalty shootout defeat to Middlesbrough in the FA Cup.
And Maguire has attracted criticism for his performance in Lancashire, with Rio Ferdinand and Alan Shearer both unhappy.
Ferdinand told BT Sport: “This comes from Man United attacking.
“Two or three of them lying down, playing forward and running forward. It’s about feet, that bit of skill is beautiful, can it be prevented?
“There’s McTominay, he’s your protection, all he’s got to do, Maguire, is keep pushing him away, he hasn’t got to overcommit, as soon as he over commits, it’s a great piece of skill, this pass is sublime, if Kevin de Bruyne does that [Weghorst pass] we’ll all be going crazy.”
He continued: “This touch across Maguire takes him completely out of it. I don’t think Maguire is quick enough to have got there to affect that situation once it got beyond him.
“It’s about stopping it at the source, once he has the big number nine, keep him facing [away from] the goal, he’s got the security of McTominay in front of him, he can deal with him a little bit, these are small mistakes leading to big moments.”
Shearer, too, ripped into Maguire.
“From Manchester United’s point of view, I mean Maguire and McTominay?” he told Premier League Productions.
“The lack of effort and the lack of a tackle from Maguire and McTominay was embarrassing in that midfield.
“It was far too easy and that’s how Burnley scored.”
Maguire arrived with a huge reputation and for huge money.
But, like Pogba, he’s been unable to prevent United enduring a torrid malaise.
The progress they once seemed to be making under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been undone. Maguire is a weak link and, so it seems, a questionable captain.
United need their players to lead by example but, with such an error-prone centre-back as their leader, what hope do they have?
Pogba hasn’t been worth the money and neither has Maguire. United fans would likely rather want the defender to leave instead but, given his huge price tag and role with the club, that’s unlikely to happen.
Now, the onus is on the former Leicester and Hull star to get back to the player that made him worth £80m in the first place.