Saturday 21 April 2018
Ángel di María signs for Manchester United in £59.7 million deal
Manchester United transfer news: Argentina winger Ángel di María, 26, smashes British transfer record in £59.7m move from Real MadridRecord signing: Argentina winger Ángel di María completed his move from Real Madrid to Manchester United on Tuesday night Photo: MUFC
By Mark Ogden, Northern Football Correspondent
8:55PM BST 26 Aug 2014Follow
Di Maria, whose move from the European champions was confirmed shortly before United's Capital One Cup encounter with MK Dons, is expected to make his debut in the Premier League clash with Burnley at Turf Moor on Saturday lunchtime.
And the capture of the Argentina winger is likely to lead to Van Gaal moving towards reverting to his favoured 4-3-3 formation at United - a move which will cast doubt over Juan Mata's role in the team less than a year after his £37.1m arrival from Chelsea - once the squad returns to full strength following the forthcoming international break.
Di Maria's arrival, which erases Chelsea's £50m forward Fernando Torres from the record books as British football most expensive ever transfer, is expected to be followed by at least one more signing by United before next Monday's transfer deadline.
But after securing the services of the 26-year-old, Van Gaal claimed that Di Maria has the ability to strike fear into United's Premier League rivals as the club attempts to bounce back from its worst start to a league season since the 1992-93 campaign.
"Angel is a world-class midfielder, but most importantly he is a team player," Van Gaal said. "There is no doubting his immense natural talent.
"He is a tremendously fast and incisive left-footed player who puts fear into the most accomplished defences.
"His dribbling skills and his ability to take on and beat opponents are a joy to watch. He is an excellent addition to the team."
Di Maria is understood to have come close to agreeing a move to Paris Saint-Germain earlier this summer prior to the French champions withdrawing from negotiations due to the cost of signing the former Benfica player.
But having signed a five-year contract worth £200,000-a-week at Old Trafford, Di Maria claimed that United were the only club capable of luring him from the Bernabeu.
"I am absolutely delighted to be joining Manchester United," Di Maria said. "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Spain and there were a lot of clubs interested in me, but United is the only club that I would have left Real Madrid for."
With United absent from European competition this season, senior figures at the club have insisted that the challenge of helping the team return to prominence has enticed new signings to Old Trafford this summer.
And Di Maria claimed that the prospect of reviving United under Van Gaal was a factor in his decision to join the club.
"Louis van Gaal is a fantastic coach with a proven track record of success," Di Maria said. "I am impressed by the vision and determination everyone has to get this club back to the top - where it belongs.
"I now just cannot wait to get started."
Reports in Spain have suggested that Real stand to receive a further £7.1m in add-ons should Di Maria help United return to the Champions League and enjoy success in the competition during the duration of his contract.
But despite the deal taking United's spending to almost £200m since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson in May 2013, the club are expected to invest further significant sums in new players before the transfer deadline.
A move for Arturo Vidal, the Juventus midfielder, is anticipated in the coming days, but issues over the Chile international's fitness have left Van Gaal considering AC Milan's Nigel de Jong as an alternative ahead of a January move for Roma's Kevin Strootman.
With Vidal having played in the World Cup after undergoing knee surgery prior to the tournament in Brazil, United are understood to be concerned about the full extent of the player's recovery from a procedure which would usually require a rehabilitation period of 8-10 weeks, rather than the month Vidal spent on the sidelines.
Vidal has been unable to complete 90 minutes for club or country since March and, with United seeing Owen Hargreaves endure countless knee problems after suffering an injury during his final season with Bayern Munich, the club are determined to avoid a similar scenario with Vidal.
Senior figures at United have played down the prospects of a move for former Manchester City midfielder De Jong, although Van Gaal is understood to regard the 29-year-old as an attainable solution to the club's midfield issues.
Daley Blind, the Ajax midfielder, is another target, with Van Gaal admitting he will monitor Strootman's recovery from a cruciate ligament injury ahead of a move for the Dutch midfielder in January.
Di Maria's arrival at United will enable Van Gaal to adopt the counter-attacking style at Old Trafford which proved so successful with Holland at the World Cup, with Di Maria likely to be deployed in the same right-wing position as Arjen Robben with the Dutch.
With Van Gaal set to turn to Adnan Januzaj on the left flank and Robin van Persie as centre-forward, Mata's prospects in the starting line-up appear bleak with captain Wayne Rooney likely to play just behind Van Persie.
Despite scoring seven goals in 17 games since arriving as United's club record signing in January, Mata's lack of pace and inability to affect games against top-level opposition have rendered him most vulnerable following Di Maria's arrival.
- Di María joins Man Utd in record £59.7m deal
- Henry Winter: Di Maria is no panic purchase
- £213.7m of signings = 35 starts and only 7 goals
- Di Maria joins the top 20 most expensive players ever
- How the British transfer record has evolved from £100
- 15 things you should know about Ángel Di María
- Mark Ogden: Di Maria transfer spells trouble for Mata
- How Di Maria compares to other big-money signings
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