Harry Maguire has been stripped of the Manchester United captaincy as West Ham consider a move for the out-of-favour England defender.

Erik ten Hag informed Maguire of his decision during talks with the centre-back on Sunday as uncertainty over the player’s future intensifies.

Bruno Fernandes, who wore the armband for the majority of last season with Maguire no longer a regular starter, seems likely to be given the captaincy on a permanent basis. But Ten Hag has yet to inform the squad of his choice and an announcement on the new captain is not expected before all the squad are together in New York on the first leg of their pre-season tour.

Telegraph Sport reported on Saturday that Maguire was a leading transfer target for West Ham following the £105 million sale of Declan Rice to Arsenal.

With United aiming to finalise a deal with Inter Milan for goalkeeper Andre Onana in time for the Cameroonian to fly with the rest of the squad to New York on Wednesday for the start of their pre-season tour of the US, and Ten Hag hoping to add a pedigree striker, the manager is ready to sell Maguire to help raise funds to reinvest in the squad.

And by removing the captaincy from Maguire, the United manager has ultimately left the 30-year-old in little doubt about where he stands.

Maguire fell to fifth in the centre-back pecking order last season behind Raphael Varane, Lisandro Martinez, Victor Lindelof – whom Ten Hag intends to keep this summer – and even left-back Luke Shaw, who deputised in the role on occasion.

Maguire left ‘extremely disappointed’

Revealing the outcome of discussions with Ten Hag on Sunday, Maguire said on Twitter: “After discussions with the manager today he has informed me he is changing captain. He outlined his reasons to me and whilst I’m personally extremely disappointed, I will continue to give my all every time I wear the shirt.

“So I wanted to say a massive thank you to the Manchester United fans for all their brilliant support whilst I’ve been wearing the armband.”

Maguire was appointed captain by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in January 2020, less than six months after joining United from Leicester in an £80 million deal, a world record for a defender.

But Maguire has struggled to win over United fans and was quickly demoted by Ten Hag, who dropped the defender after just two league matches last season. Maguire never regained his place, making just eight league starts last term.

Maguire said he had been proud to captain the club. “Since the day I took on the role, three and half years ago, it’s been a huge privilege to lead Manchester United and one of the proudest moments of my career to date,” he said.

“It’s one of the greatest honours in club football. I’ve done everything I possibly could to help United be successful – on and off the field.

“I will always be grateful to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for first giving me the responsibility and I wish whoever now takes it on every success and they will have my full support.”

Maguire is understood to be happy at Old Trafford and has felt he could force his way back into the team but whether Ten Hag’s latest move changes that stance remains to be seen. Gareth Southgate, the England manager, has described Maguire’s lack of playing time as “concerning” and there appears to be a genuine risk to his place in the national team going forward if he does not find regular football.

David Moyes, the West Ham manager, wants to add a right-footed centre back to his Europa Conference League winning squad next season and has identified Maguire as a primary target. It is unclear at this stage how a deal would be structured. United are thought to want up to £50 million for Maguire, whose £190,000-a-week wages are likely to be an obstacle for West Ham and other potential suitors.

United have already signed England midfielder Mason Mount from Chelsea for £55 million and Onana is set to become Ten Hag’s second signing of the summer after the manager identified his former No 1 at Ajax as the ideal long-term replacement for the departed David De Gea.

United have been finalising the payment structure with Inter over the weekend, with the final fee likely to be around £47 million including add-ons, as well as personal terms with Onana.

Ten Hag’s squad are due to fly to the US after playing Lyon in a friendly at Murrayfield in Edinburgh on Wednesday afternoon and the manager hopes to have Onana on the flight providing a medical is completed in time and does not throw up any issues.