LEICESTER CITY have told clubs jealously eyeing England defender Harry Maguire to START the bidding at £50million – or stop wasting their time.
However, SunSport can reveal the Foxes have already had TWO verbal offers in excess of £40m for Maguire this season and felt confident enough to say thanks but no thanks.
Leicester’s power brokers believe a good World Cup run from their Russia-bound England international this summer would allow them to TRIPLE the £17m – including add-ons – they paid Hull City for him last summer.
Since then he has blossomed into one of the best ball-playing left-sided central defenders in the country.
Leicester's original blueprint for the future was to build a new-look team around Maguire, who they regard as a future captain with the potential to push on and become a club legend.
However, they are realistic enough to know money talks.
And massive clubs at home and abroad are ready to raid their transfer coffers to try and tempt them into selling Maguire.
In the meantime Foxes chiefs are stepping up their own efforts to make a renewed push to bring West Brom skipper Jonny Evans to the King Power.
They failed to land the 30-year-old last year despite bidding £20m for the Northern Ireland international.
It is one of the worst-kept secrets in football that Evans has a get-out-clause in his contract, which allows him to leave for a bargain £3m this summer once Baggies’ relegation is confirmed.
The Foxes are preparing a bumper package worth £100,000-a-week in basic wages plus a £5m signing on fee for the ex-Old Trafford man, who will have his pick of Prem clubs this summer.
Although Leicester wanted Evans and Maguire to team up together – to give manager Claude Puel the option of switching to a three-man defence – the Albion star could now replace if he leaves.
Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho could try and tempt Leicester into selling by offering England defender Chris Smalling – the man most likely to make way for Maguire – as part of player plus cash deal.
But London giants Spurs and Arsenal also have their sights on the Yorkshireman to solve some of their defensive issues.
And they would love to splash out on one of the hottest defensive properties in European football.
The Gunners believe Maguire possesses the passing-game and defensive strength to transform their dodgy defence, while Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino sees him as a potential replacement for unsettled stopper Toby Alderweireld.
Maguire has shot to prominence this season after impressing Gareth Southgate enough to break into his World Cup plans and he is now expected to be a starter for England in Russia this summer.