Harry Maguire would have benefited from a loan move away from Manchester United, claims Louis Saha.
The United captain has endured a difficult season, falling down the pecking order under Erik ten Hag and starting just eight games across all competitions so far.
However, a good showing at the World Cup proved that the England international is still a top defender and as such there was plenty of interest in him during the January transfer window.
West Ham and Aston Villa were linked with a loan move for Maguire, while Inter Milan also made enquiries after their move for Victor Lindelof was also rejected.
However, both the player and United rejected these approaches, as Ten Hag wants to have as many players on hand as possible as his side enters a difficult second-half of the campaign.
As well as fighting for a place in the top four, the Red Devils now have a Carabao Cup final against Newcastle to worry and are still in contention for the FA Cup and Europa League.
Former United forward Saha is hopeful that Maguire can continue his career at Old Trafford, but concedes a short-term switch away from Manchester may well have also helped his cause.
‘It’s a difficult one, especially after he had a good World Cup,’ Saha told The Games Cabin.
‘It’s right that he’s not in the starting line-up because Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez have shown a good understanding with one another. You have to expect this competition at big clubs and Harry just needs to be patient.
‘A loan move may have been a good option for him to show that he’s worth another try because he’s still a key player and he’s Manchester United’s captain.
‘Even if Erik ten Hag isn’t playing him often, I expect that Ten Hag still respects the player and wants to see him improve. It’s still possible for him to contribute.’
After starting the FA Cup fourth round win against Reading, Maguire was surprisingly back on the bench as United booked their place at Wembley on Wednesday night – despite already holding a 3-0 advantage from the first leg of their semi-final tie against Nottingham Forest.
The 29-year-old could next be back in action on Saturday when United host Crystal Palace in the league.
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