Barcelona defender Gerard Pique believes Harry Maguire can help lead Manchester United back to the top of the Premier League.

Maguire replaced Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk as the world’s most expensive defender when he left Leicester City for United before the Premier League transfer window closed.

Not since Alex Ferguson’s final season in 2013 have United won the Premier League but former defender Pique backed Maguire to help the Red Devils challenge for silverware.

“It happened before with Van Dijk and before about 10 years ago with Rio Ferdinand [when he joined United from Leeds],” Pique told Express Sport.

“Culturally they invest a lot in good defenders and Harry Maguire is a great defender.

“I hope that they can be at the top again. Manchester United in the last few years they have been fighting to qualify for the Champions League but they have to be trying to win the Premier League.

“I hope with this signing they can return to the top.”

United have experienced a mixed start to the 2019-20 campaign in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first full season as manager.

After routing Chelsea 4-0 in their Premier League opener, United drew at Wolves before suffering a shock defeat against visiting Crystal Palace last week.

Pique spent four years at United – where he was in the same squad as Solskjaer – before returning to boyhood club Barcelona in 2008.

The 32-year-old Pique, who won the Premier League and Champions League during his time at Old Trafford, was asked about Solskjaer and he added: “I saw him last year in the Champions League tie and I think he’s a great lad and a great guy.

“He is doing a very good job at Manchester United, let’s see this season how it goes for him and the team.”