Mercato News: Manchester United Face Battle to Sign Harry Maguire, Chelsea Handed Hazard Boost

Harry Maguire during the World Cup Semifinal between England and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 11, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. The Leicester City defender is wanted by Manchester United. Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

The rumors around Harry Maguire show no sign of stopping, amid suggestions Manchester United might have to pay a record fee for the defender.

The 20-time champions of England reportedly made contact with Leicester City on Thursday, only to be told the Foxes have no intention of letting the England international go unless an extremely lucrative offer comes in.

According to the Daily Star, that offer could hit $105 million, making Maguire the most expensive defender in soccer. It would dwarf the record set by Liverpool when they signed Virgil Van Dijk in January.

The Daily Mirror adds that Leicester have already begun looking for a replacement for Maguire, whom they signed from Hull City for just $22.3 million last summer. They apparently have set their sights on Middlesbrough defender Ben Gibson.

The Independent, however, suggests United could secure a cheaper defender, as Tottenham Hotspur have set the price for Toby Alderweireld at $72 million. Spurs would also accept a lower bid, but only if United include Anthony Martial in the deal. That could be rather plausible given the Frenchman has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford this summer.

Much like United, Tottenham are also looking to add a few new faces before the August 9 deadline, and the Mirror claims Jack Grealish is at the top of their list. Spurs owner Daniel Levy allegedly believes he can secure the Aston Villa midfielder for around $26 million, given the Championship club may have to sell some of their assets to comply with financial fair play regulations.

However, last week Villa announced "significant investment" was on its way from new majority owners NSWE.

Across London, meanwhile, it appears that Chelsea might be able to keep Eden Hazard after all. The Belgian has been linked with a move to Real Madrid throughout the summer, but Spanish newspaper AS reports the 13-time European Cup winners have shifted their focus towards Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani instead, as they search for a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.

According to AS, Real have balked at the $233 million fee Chelsea demanded for Hazard, who was one of the stars of the World Cup and might now remain at Stamford Bridge for another season at least.

The Belgian could be joined in south-west London by Gonzalo Higuain, as Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport suggests Chelsea have beaten AC Milan in the race to sign the Juventus striker. AC Milan's financial difficulties appear to have priced them out of bidding for the Argentinian. The player would surely relish the opportunity of being reunited with Maurizio Sarri, who coached him at Napoli during his record-breaking 2015-16 season.

Meanwhile, The Times suggests the Blues are reluctant to meet Juventus' $52.4 million of Daniele Rugani. While Chelsea's officials have traveled to Italy, the deal remains far from being completed.

Elsewhere, the Daily Mirror believes Oleksandr Zinchenko turned down a move to Wolverhampton Wanderers despite Manchester City accepting a $21 million bid.