Updates from Saturday, Sept. 6
Jason Burt of The Telegraph provides an update on Angel di Maria's contract:
The unusual bonus is the most striking of a series of 'add-ons’ to the British record transfer fee of £59.7 million which United paid for the Argentine international last month.
Updates from Friday, Aug. 29
Manchester United provides a statement from Louis van Gaal discussing Angel di Maria's potential debut:
Updates from Thursday, Aug. 28
Angel di Maria was officially introduced to the British media on Thursday, when it was confirmed he will wear the No. 7 shirt at Old Trafford.
Di Maria quickly vowed to help get the Red Devils back into Europe:
Updates from Wednesday, Aug. 27
Manchester United announced that Di Maria would be officially unveiled on Thursday:
Angel Di Maria is officially a Manchester United player after the club announced Tuesday that they have reached an agreement with Real Madrid for the talented winger.
Manchester United's official Twitter feed passed along word of the deal:
According to United, Di Maria joins the club on a five-year contract.
United provided the winger's thoughts on the move:
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Spain and there were a lot of clubs interested in me, but United is the only club that I would have left Real Madrid for.
Louis van Gaal is a fantastic coach with a proven track record of success and I am impressed by the vision and determination everyone has to get this club back to the top – where it belongs.
Manager Louis van Gaal added:
Angel is a world-class midfielder but most importantly he is a team player. There is no doubting his immense natural talent.
He is a tremendously fast and incisive left-footed player who puts fear into the most accomplished defence. His dribbling skills and his ability to take on and beat opponents are a joy to watch. He is an excellent addition to the team.
Di Maria's arrival at Old Trafford sets the English giants back a staggering £59.7 million, per Simon Jones of the Daily Mail, smashing the British transfer record in the process.
In the process, he lays down something of a marker for Van Gaal and United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward that the fallen champions can still mix it with the best in the transfer market.
The 26-year-old Argentine international was a star contributor for Real Madrid last season, playing a huge part in their La Decima triumph. But with the La Liga club overflowing with talent following the arrivals of Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez, he became expendable for the right price.
A transfer doesn't come as a total surprise. Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti recently revealed Di Maria had turned down a contract extension at Madrid, signalling the beginning of the end, per an alternative Mail Online article:
Di Maria has said goodbye. We thanked him for everything he has done for the club.
We tried everything possible to keep Di Maria, but he has decided something else. Good luck to him.
Over the past four seasons, Di Maria appeared in nearly 190 matches across all competitions for the Blancos, racking up over 35 goals and almost 90 assists. While he's able to keep defenders honest with his finishing ability, the midfielder is a natural playmaker.
Ted Knutson of StatsBomb provided a look at the star's impact on the Real attack:
There's no doubt Di Maria is an energising force when in top form. Normally a player of his calibre wouldn't even be available, but Real have a strong crop of midfielders eager to find a first-team role.
New arrivals Kroos and Rodriguez almost certainly ended Di Maria's hopes of maintaining a central role, while Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo will always dominate the wide positions.
Additionally, youngsters such as Isco, Asier Illarramendi and Jese all need room to develop.
Given his success with Real, Di Maria should be able to make a smooth transition to United. The Red Devils are crying out for speed and invention behind the strikers, two things Di Maria offers in abundance.
First, he must completely overcome a thigh injury that he suffered during the latter stages of Argentina's run to the World Cup final. It shouldn't be a major issue barring any setbacks, though.
Beyond that, the most important thing for Di Maria is consistent playing time as a starter. The Argentine, like many star players, is at his best when he's able to fulfil a specific role instead of rotating from match to match.
With Madrid, it was likely going to become an issue because Ancelotti must continue to find a way to get his new signings involved throughout the campaign.
At United, the biggest tactical issue will likely be how Van Gaal accommodates Di Maria in a team also featuring Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie. One of that trio may well find themselves spending extra time on the bench.
However, it's difficult to see the signing of Di Maria as anything other than a magnificent deal for United. Capable of beating players, creating and scoring goals, he'll inject life into a turgid midfield that has only taken one point from a possible six so far this term.
United know they cannot afford to miss out of a top-four spot, and the reward of Champions League football, next season. Di Maria has sacrificed that stage to help the Red Devils get back there, and the club will hope their record outlay is rewarded with the riches of Europe's top table next term.
Expect Di Maria to keep playing at a very high level for years to come.
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