Monday 27 January 2020

Angel di Maria: How does Manchester United £59.7m signing compare to most expensive transfers ever?

Ben Bloom

Manchester United have smashed their transfer record to bring in Real Madrid winger Angel Di Maria for £59.7 million, so what are they getting for their money?

With such a huge figure putting the Argentina star among the upper echelons of big-money signings worldwide it is only fair to compare him to the other players who warranted similar obscene amounts of cash. Step forward Gareth Bale (Real Madrid, £86m), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid, £80m), Luis Suarez (Barcelona, £75m), Neymar (Barcelona, £71m) and James Rodriguez (Real Madrid, £63m).

When comparing last season's performances of the six most expensive players of all time, the statistics can broadly be broken down into shooting (Di Maria = bad) and assisting/passing (Di Maria = good).

While all six players may not necessarily be strikers, all were signed with both goals and assists in mind. Despite Suarez's phenomenal season at Liverpool last year, there is only one winner when it comes to finding the back of the net: Ronaldo is the goalscoring king. With a goal every 79 minutes, the Real Madrid man scored an average of more than four goals in the time it took Di Maria to bag one last campaign.

He also tested the goalkeeper more than any other player in the list although Di Maria's shooting accuracy was better than the lot of them at 60 per cent. He may not shoot a lot, he may not score a great deal, but at least he finds the target when he tries his luck.

When it comes to helping his team score, Di Maria was the standout player among the mega-signings last season. Assisting more goals, creating more chances and making more passes than anyone else, the Madrid man more than made up for his lack of shooting prowess.

With proven goalscorers Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie already bedded in at Old Trafford, Louis van Gaal will be hoping Di Maria can provide the key to unlock their full goalscoring potential during this campaign.

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