Real Madrid have given Argentine winger Ángel Di María permission to join Manchester United in an $83 million deal, according to reports. Just last week, Real boss Carlo Ancelotti said his player would not leave the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu. However, Real have appeared to have had a change of heart and are prepared to let the player go should he wish to push for a move to United.
The news will give United manager Louis van Gaal a huge boost as he had all but given up on signing the player. First Paris Saint-Germain were clear favorites to sign Di María but the package to bring the player to the French capital was “too expensive,” even for one of the richest clubs in the world. Furthermore, Di María is said to have angered Real bosses with his new wage demands and so it would appear to be good business for the Spanish club if he was to leave. United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has gone on record with the claim that his club would pay what is required to land the best players and so it is thought salary will not be an issue. Yesterday, footage emerged of former United forward Cristiano Ronaldo swearing at Di María on more than one occasion in a training session, which will only further fuel speculation that the Argentine is not happy at Real.
Ancelotti has an embarrassment of attacking riches at his disposal. The recent arrival of James Rodríguez from Monaco, who can play in an attacking midfield role or on the wing like Di María, would appear to create a battle for the United target to win back a place in the team.
Van Gaal openly praised Di María last week when he said United were missing wingers of the Argentina international’s quality. However, United have so far made no official comment on their pursuit of the player and so now they have less than a fortnight to bring him to Old Trafford.
One Argentine who is almost certain to be joining United in the next few days is Sporting’s Marcos Rojo. Not only did the player go on strike to push through a deal, he also openly said that former United and Argentina midfielder Juan Sebastián Verón had encouraged him to make the move despite the latter having a disappointing time at the club.
United would have to act fast if they want Rojo or Di María to feature against Sunderland on Sunday as the player’s would have to be registered with the Premier League before the end of the week. So far it looks like both players will end up at United at some point and so it is just a case of when.
Di María made it clear over the summer that he wants to leave Real but he stalled on a move to United because of the lack of Champions League football on offer at Old Trafford. However, United are now the only serious contenders for his signature, and it is just a case of the two clubs agreeing on a fee and the player negotiating his wages.
Commentary by Robert Shepherd