According to Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, Angel di Maria will hold talks over a potential £48million move to Manchester United next week.
The Argentina international has been linked with the Old Trafford club for much of the summer, as Louis van Gaal looks to rebuild a squad which finished outside of the top-four last season for the first time since the inception of the Premier League. It is believed the Dutch coach has been given a handsome transfer kitty of around £200million, and he has already brought in Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo for a total of around £71million.
And now the Reds are believed to be closing on a £48million deal for di Maria, largely recognised as one of the best talents in European football. The 26-year-old has been at Real Madrid since 2010, helping them win one La Liga title, two Copa Del Rey’s and, last season, the UEFA Champions League when they defeated Atletico Madrid in the final.
However, the Argentina international has been linked with an exit from the Bernabeu for much off the summer, and didn’t feature in the Super Cup tie against their city rivals last week. It then emerged that the forward had asked to leave the club, and it has since come to light that he will write a letter explaining his reasons if, as now seems likely, he is sold.
Paris St Germain are known to be keen admirers of di Maria, but according to Balague, United are firmly in pole position. Indeed, the Sky Sports Spanish football expert claims that there has been significant developments in the move in recent days, and agent Jorge Mendes is currently flying to Europe to put the final touches to the transfer which is likely to see United pay a club record fee in the region of £48million for the former Benfica ace.
It has also been claimed that former Old Trafford ace Cristiano Ronaldo, who left Manchester for Real in a then-world record £80million in 2009, has advised di Maria to make the move. It is believed that if the Argentine does seal the transfer, he will also wear the famous number 7 shirt which is currently vacant but has been previously adorned by the Portuguese ace as well as the likes of George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona and David Beckham.
Considering United aren’t able to offer di Maria any form of European football this season after their seventh-place standing of last term, this will be seen as a huge coup for the club. Speaking earlier this month, van Gaal bemoaned the lack of a player of di Maria’s quality in his squad, so the former Barcelona coach will no doubt be thrilled by these developments.
“We have five No 9s and four No 10s and we don’t have wingers to play attacking width, not at the highest level, of Ronaldo or Di Maria,” he said in the Daily Mail. “So I have to play also in another way and you have seen that. It’s a strategy of Manchester United to buy players who are on the way up and getting better, but I only buy when I think we need to.”
United fans, is this the transfer you’ve been waiting all summer for? Can di Maria lift you back into the top four this season? Have your say by joining the discussion below!