Nobody can argue that in the current transfer market, Angel Di Maria is worth every penny of his £59.7m transfer fee.
Real Madrid’s best player last year bar Cristiano Ronaldo, Di Maria recorded 17 assists in La Liga last season from just 27 starts – the highest in all of Europe’s top leagues.
Anyone who argues that the Argentinian winger isn’t worth the money has not only not watched him, but has not taken into account the over-inflated prices in the current climate.
One of the key components to the unparalleled success of Sir Alex Ferguson was the flair and pace on the wings – players who could run from box to box and stretch defences.
Nani (now departed), Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Wilfried Zaha do not provide that genuine world class threat from wide that Di Maria will.
We saw a lot of the player last year, but we also learned about his personality. Initially deemed surplus to requirements with the arrival of Gareth Bale, the former Benfica man was determined not be left behind by Bale’s big money arrival.
He switched from being a traditional winger to more of a complete attacking midfield player – transforming and improving his game to show his willingness to compete at the top.
And United need not just players, but people of that ilk – winners – as they face their worst start to a Premier League season since 1992/93.
Many may question why Di Maria is being allowed to leave so easily.
But he was offered a new deal, and turned it down. James Rodriguez’s arrival does not guarantee him a place in the Madrid side – the outlay of the Colombian will always give him that edge over Di Maria, as the manager cannot leave out someone who has just cost £63m.
The same argument can be made for Di Maria at United though, he will have the comfort of being one of the first names on the team sheet. He shone in a midfield trio last season for Los Blancos – and he could find a similar role in Louis Van Gaal’s 3-5-2. His delivery from wide areas, his elecrifying pace and dribbling will cause plenty of full-backs problems, but Di Maria has been more dangerous in the middle of the pitch. It is well documented that Carlo Ancelotti wanted to keep Di Maria, but as brutal as this sounds, James sells shirts whereas Di Maria doesn’t, and that revenue stream will be eyed up by Florentino Perez.
But United will be getting a player who can lift others around him – and that is exactly what they need during their tricky transition.
Fans judgments are clouded though, because United are desperate for a centre-back and another midfield player.
There is no denying centre-half is a massively problematic area, but they do need a winger too. This transfer should be part of a trio which will help improve United, but this deal has to be appreciated on its own merits.
Di Maria is obviously not being bought in to help with the basic defensive problems that United have – people need to appreciate he is there to provide more of an attacking thrust that they lack – those problems are a side issue to this transfer.
A centre-back and industrious midfield player should follow, but on this deal alone, United are signing one of the hottest properties in world football – and someone who can potentially play a key role in resurrecting United from their current slumber.