Man United spending spree could spell the end for Angel Di Maria at Old Trafford
The Argentine and his wife Jorgelina Cardoso have become increasingly unhappy in Manchester and are keen to return to Spain
Louis van Gaal is ready to take his spending as Manchester United manager through the £300m barrier this summer after completing the signings of ‘ultimate professional’ Bastian Schweinsteiger and Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin.
Van Gaal, who spent £154m on new players following his arrival as manager last summer, has now spent £76.7m since the end of last season with Bayern Munich midfielder Schweinsteiger (£15m) and Schneiderlin (£24m) joining Italian defender Matteo Darmian (£12.7m) and Dutch winger Memphis Depay (£25m) at Old Trafford.
Further moves are anticipated for a centre-half and striker, with Van Gaal placing Bayern forward Robert Lewandowski at the top of his wanted list, despite an acceptance that the Germans would be unlikely to sell a second leading playing to United this summer.
PSG forward Edinson Cavani remains an alternative option, and could be traded in exchange for Angel Di Maria, while Ramos is the number one option at centre-half, ahead of Valencia’s Nicolas Otamendi.
With United due to arrive in Seattle on Tuesday morning on the first-leg of their pre-season tour of the United States, uncertainty still surrounds the future of goalkeeper David de Gea, who has travelled to the States, and £59.7m British record signing Di Maria.
Di Maria will not participate in the four-game trip to the US due to his exertions with Argentina at the Copa America, but it is understood that the 27-year-old and his wife, Jorgelina Cardoso, have become increasingly unhappy in Manchester and are keen to return to Spain, just a year after his arrival from Real Madrid.
Paris Saint Germain have confirmed their interest in Di Maria, who was a long-term target of the French champions last summer, but the player has identified a return to Real as his favoured option.
With Real so far showing little interest in taking Di Maria back, however, the player is likely to be left with a choice of staying at United or accepting the challenge offered by PSG.
De Gea’s Old Trafford future is shrouded in similar doubt, despite his inclusion on Van Gaal’s tour squad.
Real’s decision to hand Sergio Ramos the club captaincy has dented United’s hopes of signing the defender, but the Spaniards remain determined to sign De Gea.
United’s success in completing the signings of Schweinsteiger and Schneiderlin prior to their departure for the Pacific Northwest has strengthened Van Gaal’s hopes of mounting a serious challenge for the Premier League title this season.
The arrival of Schweinsteiger, who turns 31 next month, is an unusual capture for United, who prefer their signings to be of a younger age with a resale value, but after handing the World Cup winner a three-year contract, Van Gaal insists he has made a crucial signing.
“Bastian is, of course, no stranger to me,” Van Gaal said. “I worked with him during my time at Bayern Munich and I am truly delighted he is joining Manchester United.
“His record speaks for itself; he has won every honour at club level and was a major part of the successful Germany World Cup winning team last summer.
“Bastian is the ultimate professional and there is no doubting his talent and his ability to control games. He brings a wealth of experience and is an excellent addition to our squad.”
Schweinsteiger, who ended a seventeen-year association with Bayern to sign for United, added: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Bayern Munich, it has been an incredible journey and I didn’t take the decision to leave lightly.
“Manchester United is the only club that I would have left Munich for.
“I feel ready for this new and exciting challenge in what I regard as the most competitive league in the world and I am looking forward to working with Louis van Gaal again.”
United, meanwhile, overcame competition from Arsenal and Tottenham to sign Schneiderlin, who will solve a long-standing problem at Old Trafford in defensive midfield after signing a four-year contract with the option of a further year.
“I am delighted to be a Manchester United player,” Schneiderlin said. “Once I learned that United were interested in signing me, it was a very easy decision to make.
“I have enjoyed seven very happy years with Southampton and it’s a club that will always be in my heart, but the chance to be part of this squad to help this great club be successful was too good to miss.
“I’m excited to be starting that journey on our trip to the USA. I know what Manchester United means to fans all over the world and I’m looking forward to experiencing that.”
United are expected to sell Rafael da Silva to Galatasaray after Van Gaal omitted the Brazilian defender from the touring squad.
The 25-year-old has been told he has no future at Old Trafford by Van Gaal and is understood to be close to following Nani and Robin van Persie to Istanbul following his team-mates’ departures for Fenerbahce.
Victor Valdes, the former Barcelona goalkeeper, has also missed the trip to the States, raising doubt over his prospects at Old Trafford, regardless of whether De Gea stays or is sold to Real.
Valencia and Turkish club Antalyaspor are both interested in Valdes, who has made just one start for United since signing an 18-month contract in January.