Manchester United target Ángel Di María has been ruled out of Argentina’s semi-final clash with the Netherlands after the winger tore a thigh muscle in the previous round. The winger, who plays for Real Madrid in Spain, has been one of the best players in what has generally been a disappointing Argentina side.
Di María is almost unlikely to return for Argentina for the final should his side make it due to the time required to repair the right thigh muscle. He picked up the injury in the quarter-final against Belgium when he was lining up a shot, which was then blocked by Vincent Kompany. Di María attempted to play on, but suddenly fell to the ground and winced in pain before he was replaced by Enzo Pérez.
Argentina manager Alejandro Sabella initially said he hoped the injury would heal quickly especially as the first set of scans did not show the injury to be too serious. However, it became clear that the tear was worse than hoped and expected and so now Di María looks like being a spectator for the rest of the finals and instead will target the pre-season friendlies to regain match fitness.
On the domestic front, Di María has been linked with a move away from Real and a number of clubs have been mentioned in connection with him. United, Arsenal and Liverpool are just three of the names associated with the player, but the former are said to be leading the chase. Incoming United boss Louis van Gaal, who will manage the Netherlands against Argentina this week, is keen to secure cover for the wings. With Ryan Giggs now retired and Antonia Valencia expected to play more as a wing-back, Adnan Januzaj is the only recognizable winger in United’s first-team squad. Although Di María usually starts out on the right for Real, he often switches to the other side.
If United do manage to secure Di María’s signature, van Gaal will have to wait until the real extent of the player’s injury is clear. They also have to make Real and offer they cannot refuse. It is understood Real expect all offers for the player to be north of $68 million with a club outside Spain preferred. Before the World Cup in Brazil, Di María said he would consider a move should the right offer come in. However, in recent weeks he has gone quiet and done his talking on the pitch.
Should Di María choose to move to a different country, French champions Paris Saint-Germain could provide United with stiff competition. PSG, who have been linked with the player in the past, know United will not be able to compete with their financial muscle. Furthermore, the French side have Champions League football to offer the player and United do not. Now that Di María is set to miss the Netherlands clash, the top target for a number of Europe’s elite has the time to think about his next move. In the meantime, his international teammates, La Albiceleste, will have to line up without him in on Wednesday in São Paulo.
Commentary by Robert Shepherd