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Manchester United’s Angel Di Maria Dilemma

Angel Di Maria was brought over to Manchester United last summer from Real Madrid for a British record fee of roughly $85 million. The nifty Argentine midfielder started out the season well, and was one of few bright spots in the team. But as the season went on, Di Maria’s performances dropped and he ultimately found himself benched by manager Louis van Gaal.

Several teams have expressed interest in buying Di Maria, but is it too early for United to give up on their record signing?

Di Maria scored three goals in the opening five games of the Premier League season, but United only got 10 points out of those games, that included a 0-0 draw against Burnley on Opening Day, and a 5-3 to Leicester. In all, he had three goals and six assists after the first 10 games and was seen as being worth all the money in the world. The team wasn’t playing all that well, but Di Maria was always a threat to the opposing team, as his technique and dribbling skills can put any defenseman up in the seats.

After that nice start for Di Maria, the 27-year- Rosario, Argentina native only scored one more goal throughout the whole season. That goal came in early January against Yeovil in the FA Cup. So it’s safe to say that the second half of the season was far from a success for Di Maria.

Van Gaal started figuring out how he needed the team to play and Di Maria just didn’t fit that mold. Ashley Young resurged as the dangerous winger we saw him be during his years in Aston Villa. He was one of United’s better players this season after rumors of him leaving after the disappointing 2013/2014 campaign under David Moyes where United finished in 7th place in the table and missed out on both the Champions League and the Europa League.

Having a $85 million player on the bench is madness, so Di Maria will either have to find a way to adjust to van Gaal’s system or tell his agent that he wants to move away from Manchester.

United legend Paul Scholes summed it up nicely in his column in the Independent.

“For £59.7m, the hope was that he would give United much more. I accept he has had problems off the pitch settling into life in Manchester, but there is no way he can see the season as anything other than a disappointment. This was, after all, the best player in last season’s Champions League final. Nevertheless, the quality is there and I don’t think United can afford to lose him. They need that kind of player if they are to compete in the Champions League. Let’s see what next season brings.”

Di Maria has had some difficulties adjusting to life in Britain, and his family had a scare back in February when burglars tried to break into their home while they were inside. The thieves left empty-handed after the alarm system went off, and that could have played a factor in why his performances dropped off.

So is it really an option to sell Di Maria after just a single season at Old Trafford?  

Paris Saint-Germain is one of the big clubs that could afford to bring in Di Maria, especially now when it looks like UEFA is going to lighten up a bit on the Financial Fair Play rules. There’s no shortage of cash in Paris and they were one of the teams that tried to sign Di Maria after he was told he was no longer needed in Madrid. So if United got an offer for around the same amount as they paid for him, I don’t think United would just laugh and hang up the phone.

Big transfers like this are usually pretty complicated and there’s a lot of moving parts. There are rumors that Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale could be available, and if United thinks that he would be a better fit in the system, he’s one of few players that could replace Di Maria.

So it could be a three-team deal where Di Maria goes to PSG and then United use that money to buy Bale. Real are interested in United’s Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea, so that adds another layer to the transfer cake.

As long as United can recover most of what they paid for Di Maria, and bring in another big star like Bale, there’s a possibility that he would leave despite his extraordinary talent.

The silly season has only begun, and it looks like all transfer rumor junkies can look forward to a very interesting summer.

 

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