Manchester United complete the signing of Harry Maguire for a world-record fee

Harry Maguire goes ahead of Virgil Van Dijk as the most expensive defender of all time Credit: PA

Manchester United have completed the signing of England defender Harry Maguire from Leicester for £80million, a world-record fee for a defender.

The 26-year-old has signed a six-year contract at Old Trafford with the option of a further year after passing a medical and agreeing personal terms.

Maguire was strongly linked with both Manchester clubs over the summer but Leicester held out for their valuation and the fee surpasses the £75million Liverpool paid Southampton for Virgil Van Dijk in January 2018.

Maguire told his new club's official website: "I am delighted to have signed for this great club. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Leicester and would like to thank everyone at the club, and the fans, for their fantastic support over the past two seasons. However, when Manchester United come knocking on your door, it is an incredible opportunity.

"From my conversations with the manager, I am excited about the vision and plans he has for the team. It's clear to see that Ole is building a team to win trophies. I am now looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and getting the season started."

United had made strengthening the centre of their defence a priority at the start of the summer, with the need becoming more acute when Eric Bailly suffered a knee injury during their pre-season tour of China which is expected to keep him out for at least four months.

The deal represents a tidy profit for Leicester, who signed Maguire for an initial £12million - potentially rising to £17million with add-ons - from Hull in the summer of 2017.

The Foxes were in a strong negotiating position after the Sheffield-born player signed a new five-year deal in September.

Harry Maguire celebrates his goal in the World Cup quarter-final versus Sweden Credit: PA

Maguire could make his debut in Sunday's Premier League opener against Chelsea at Old Trafford.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said: "Harry is one of the best centre-backs in the game today and I am delighted we have secured his signature.

"He is a great reader of the game and has a strong presence on the pitch, 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."

Maguire becomes United's third signing of the summer, having last month completed deals for Swansea flyer Daniel James and Crystal Palace right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka.

Solskjaer has confirmed United are still in the market for more signings before Thursday's Premier League transfer deadline and the scrutiny is on after slumping home sixth last season.

Juventus' Paulo Dybala has been in talks over a swap deal that would see Romelu Lukaku go the other way, but PA understands the Argentina international's astronomical demands have put paid to that move.

The Belgium striker remains keen to leave Old Trafford and Inter Milan are pushing to sign him and it remains to be seen how the Dybala situation would impact a move for Juve striker Mario Mandzukic.

Star midfielder Paul Pogba has reportedly been subject of a bid from Real Madrid, but United are planning for a season with the World Cup winner despite his comments in June about being open to a new challenge.

The club are, though, understood to be keen on bolstering their midfield, even if a much-mooted move for Sporting's Bruno Fernandes now looks unlikely.

PA understands Newcastle midfielder Sean Longstaff has been a long-standing target, while United are understood to have been among several clubs that have enquired about Southampton's Mario Lemina.

A number of other players are being linked with United, but there is believed to be a calmness behind the scenes given the work that has currently been done. The impressive impact made by the club's young players has also impressed Solskjaer.