Angel di Maria claims he had other offers on the table this summer, but his mind was made up as soon as Manchester United showed interest in him.
The Argentina international has spent the past four years in Spain with Real Madrid, who he has helped win one La Liga and two Copa Del Rey’s. Even more impressive, he was the Man of the Match back in May when he starred in Los Blancos UEFA Champions League win over city rivals Atletico, bringing an end to their long wait for La Decima.
However, speculation over his future at the Bernabeu has been rife for much of the summer, and last week he confirmed his intention to leave the club. United were always in the running for his signature but were thought to face competition, notably from Paris St Germain. Yet di Maria claims once he had the chance to head to Old Trafford, his mind was set.
“I am absolutely delighted,” he told the club’s official website. “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. Louis van Gaal is a fantastic coach with a proven track record of success and 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.”
United have paid a club, and indeed a British, record of £59.7million for di Maria, topping the £50million Chelsea paid Liverpool for Fernando Torres in January 2011. Van Gaal, though, is confident he has signed a player who firmly belongs in the world-class category, and he feels the 26-year-old will add a fresh dimension to his side’s attacking options.
“Angel is a world-class midfielder but most importantly he is a team player,” he 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 defence. 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 began his career in his homeland with Rosario Central, before moving to Benfica in 2007 and then, three years later, he linked up with Real. He has 52 caps for Argentina, and has registered 10 goals during this time. The midfielder has penned a five-year contract at Old Trafford, designed to keep him at the club until the summer of 2019.
Having already signed Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo, di Maria becomes van Gaal’s fourth signing of the summer. The Dutch coach is still hopeful of adding at least two more players to his squad before the window closes, with his compatriot Daley Blind, the Ajax defender, and Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal his reported top targets.
United fans, do you think the signing of di Maria will ensure your return to the top four, or can he even help you to the title? And now he’s in the bag, who else should van Gaal look to sign before the window closes? Have your say by joining in the discussion below!