Thursday 23 November 2017

£59.7m man Angel Di Maria confirmed for United

Angel Di Maria
Angel Di Maria
Angel Di Maria is on the brink of completing a £63.9m British transfer record move from Real Madrid to Manchester United. Photo credit: VI Images via Getty Images
Robin van Persie of Manchester United is tackled by Lee Cattermole, left, and Santiago Vergini of Sunderland at the Stadium of Light yesterday. Photo credit: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Martin Hardy

Manchester United have agreed a £59.7million fee with Real Madrid for Angel Di Maria this evening, Press Association Sport understands.

The player has been the subject of speculation for the last few days.

“I cannot say anything about transfers, you have to understand that,” said Van Gaal after United’s 1-1 draw at Sunderland yesterday. “When a transfer has been finished then we can say something. But now you have to wait and see. When the moment is there Manchester United shall announce it.

“It is not only Di Maria, maybe Vidal or Messi! We are a big club. The club always has to announce, and when we think it is the right time we will come to you and say, ‘OK, we have bought this player or that player’. At this time we can’t say anything but I like Di Maria.”

The Real Madrid, manage­r Carlo Ancelotti, confirmed that the player had already said his farewells to his team-mates. “Di Maria has not trained with us today [yesterda­y] and he came in to say goodbye to the players and people at the club,” he said. “There is nothing official yet but it is being sorted out. The decision is his and the club has done what it could to keep him here.”

Real Madrid stunned Manchester United by asking for nearly £75m for the forward. Manchester United had expected to pay nearer the £60m that Paris Saint-G­ermain had been quoted when they sought to take the player to France.

The compromise figure of £64m is believed to have satisfied both parties and Van Gaal was said to be eager to add the player to a squad that has struggled for form in their opening two Premier League games. The transfer will top the £50m Chelsea paid Liverpool for Fernando Torres in 2011.

United’s record buy was Juan Mata from Chelsea for £37.1m in January this year. United have already spent £72m this summer to sign the left-back Luke Shaw from Southampton, midfielder Ander Herrera and defender Marcos Rojo. Di Maria joined Real Madrid from Benfica for £36m in 2010.

The potential signing of the Argentine was hailed by the club’s former defender Gary Neville. “He can run and Manchester United haven’t got any pace in wide areas. It is incredible,” said Neville. “That is what the club has been built on for the last 10 to 15 years – being able to get from box to box quickly, being able to spring on teams, having people that can dribble and are quick in the final third.”

“They have Adnan Januzaj but they really have lost that variety.”

That veiled criticism was backed up by Van Gaal, who refused to discuss the potential arrival of Di Maria (right), after another unconvincing display at the Stadium of Light. United could manage only a 1-1 draw after going ahead through Juan Mata, a result that leaves them with just one point from their opening two games. Van Gaal conceded that is not good enough and also criticised the pace of his team’s passing.

“The passing was all too slow, or all too fast, all too hasty,” said Van Gaal. “And then you lose a lot of balls and the tempo goes out of the game so that, in my opinion, was the reason. No, I cannot say that (it was a better performance than last week) because last week we created more chances. Football is all about creating chances and scoring goals, and we didn’t create enough.”

Van Gaal did defend Ashley Young, who was booked once more for diving. “He lifted the ball across the player and the player was kicking him. And after that I think he was jumping too much but what counts is that he was kicked by the opponent.

“He could also have given a penalty to [Robin] Van Per­sie. You could see Van Persie was already losing the ball but the tackle was coming and that is why the referee has to give a penalty. Nevertheless, we have to create more chances than look for penalties.” (© Independent News Service)

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