Monday 18 December 2017

Man United left to wonder how they got duped by a superstar as Di Maria departs for PSG

Angel Di Maria's days at United look to be coming to an end
Angel Di Maria's days at United look to be coming to an end
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

So Angel Di Maria's miserable stay in English football is about to come to an end, with all associated with Manchester United left wondering why he ever agreed to move to Old Trafford in the first place.

Di Maria was photographed arriving in Qatar on Sunday afternoon, where he met Paris Saint-Germain officials ahead of finalising the transfer he tried and failed to secure last summer and now the post mortem can begin on one of the biggest flop signing English football has ever seen.

And yes Di Maria's title as the biggest flop of them all is justified.

Never mind that he made a few assists in his first season in the Premier League as this was a player that woefully under-performed given his lavish price tag and reputation. As he prepares to make his exit from United, we can now come to the conclusion that he never wanted to be in Manchester from day one.

While Di Maria will probably never admit as much, his commitment to Manchester United was always fragile at best, as his believed the end of his Real Madrid career last summer would end with a move to PSG.

Read more: Thaigo Silva: Angel Di Maria will be joining a bigger club in PSG

In the end, the French champions pulled-out of the deal to sign Di Maria from Real Madrid as UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules put a halt on the all-but agreed deal for the Argentine winger to move to the French capital.

A £59.7m move to Manchester United was Di Maria's alternative option a year ago, but his haste at giving up on his career at Old Trafford has led his rising army of critics to conclude his marriage to the Old Trafford club was very much one of convenience, on the part of the player at least.

United's decision to agree to take a big financial hit on Di Maria offers compelling evidence that manager Louis van Gaal and the club's decision makers have long since concluded that their record signing is far from committed to the cause.

After the rumours started early in 2015 that Di Maria and his wife have struggled to settle in Manchester, the stories linking him with a move to PSG were not long in resurfacing, with Van Gaal quick to insist he expected the player to return to his squad for next season.

When Di Maria insisted at the Copa America championships this summer that he would 'move back to Manchester for next season and do my best there', those who suggested the media were fabricating stories linking him with a move to PSG were quick to condemn the messengers.

Yet the football grapevine has been loaded with suggestions that Di Maria had told United he wanted to leave many weeks ago and now the conclusion of this high-stakes and somewhat ugly game is coming to an end.

Di Maria is set to be the big winner financially as he will benefit from two lavishly expensive transfers in quick succession, with United left to ponder whether they signed a world class player or a commodity last summer.

United insiders have been hinting for the last few weeks that they are baffled and bemused by Di Maria's refusal to commit to the club's cause for a second season, with Van Gaal among those who has not openly admitted the biggest deal he has ever sanctioned in his coaching career was a major mistake.

For whatever reason, he had his heart set on swapping life at the world's biggest club in Real Madrid for the less competitive surrounds of the French league last summer and not even a season at United's Theatre of Dreams could reshape his sporting dreams.

All too predictably, Di Maria will be a Paris Saint-Germain player next season and United are left to ponder how they got duped by a superstar who, clearly, never want to be on their books in the first place.

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