Manchester United could soon be adding a world-class winger to their squad, with reports in Spain suggesting that Angel Di Maria is on the verge of leaving Real Madrid after his agent, the ever-present and incredibly powerful Jorge Mendes, was instructed by the European champions to find a buyer for the 26-year-old.
With Real Madrid president Florentino Perez seemingly determined to bring Colombia’s World Cup star James Rodriguez to the Bernabeu this summer, the Spanish giants might have to sell one of their stars before pursuing the Monaco playmaker and Di Maria looks set to be the latest high-profile casualty at Real, 12 months after Mesut Ozil was allowed to leave as Perez welcomed Gareth Bale to Madrid.
Spanish newspaper El Confidencial claims the Argentine will leave the Bernabeu for a fee of around €50m (£39.7m) this summer, despite enjoying a stellar season under Carlo Ancelotti – he was named man of the match in the Champions League final against Ateltico Madrid, when Real clinched their 10th European Cup in May – and earning plaudits for his performances.
Monaco and Juventus are also thought to be in the running for the winger but El Confidencial says the deal that will take Di Maria to United is “all but done”, partly thanks to the strong links Mendes has with the club, to whom he brought Cristiano Ronaldo in the summer of 2003 – Mendes, admittedly, was also responsible for luring United into signing Bebe.
With United’s wingers offering little in terms of quality and even less in terms of consistency, a world class player is required to fill the gap in the position, particularly considering Louis Van Gaal’s preference for quick, sharp, counterattacking football. A fast winger capable of beating his man and creating chances is crucial if the Dutchman’s 4-3-3 formation is to be at its most effective, which would explain why United have been linked with Memphis Depay, Arjen Robben and Juan Cuadrado in recent weeks.
While it remains to be seen whether Di Maria will indeed leave the Bernabeu this summer, the Argentine would a fantastic signing for United as he’s a natural winger, comfortable on the right as well as on the left but, crucially, versatile enough to be deployed through the middle, a position he flourished in at Madrid last season.
Di Maria, who netted Argentina’s extra time winner against Switzerland on Tuesday, has scored 36 goals in 189 appearances in all competitions for Real Madrid since joining the Spanish giants from Benfica in the summer of 2010 for a deal worth around £29m and provided 87 assists over the last four seasons.