Zlatan Ibrahimovic has cast doubt over Paris Saint-Germain's move for Angel Di Maria, indicating he doesn't believe the Ligue 1 champions need to invest so heavily in the Real Madrid star, perhaps perking up the interest of Manchester United in the process.
Both teams have been heavily linked with Di Maria throughout the summer, per Alex Harris of the Express.
Ibrahimovic suggests the French side are already in winning shape without spending heavily on the £63 million-rated star, whose move would likely need to take place on a loan basis due to PSG's recent failure to comply with UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations, reported by Nick Lustig of the Daily Star:
"I don't know if we need Di Maria," said Ibrahimovic. "We have a team that in recent months has won many trophies without him. It's not me who decides. It is better to talk to the manager, not me."
Do PSG need Angel Di Maria?
The outspoken Swede remains a key influence at the Parc des Princes, so there's no doubting his words could influence the situation. If Di Maria's future is as tightly in the balance as many suspect, such quotes may force the Argentine away from wanting to play in the French capital.
Laurent Blanc is obviously craving added spring and energy across PSG's midfield, something Di Maria can bring in abundance.
Madrid's seemingly unwanted player has adapted to playing centrally over the last year, providing his game with a well-rounded edge that sees him carry out defensive duties with greater vigour. Di Maria remains a bullet going forward, where he is used to influencing games from wide positions.
The La Liga giants have spent lavishly this summer, dropping over £95 million on Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez and Keylor Navas, per Transfermarkt. Di Maria's sale can help recoup some of the costs, but a loan deal only commits PSG to paying his wages at best.
If Manchester United want Di Maria, offering somewhere in the region of his £63 million valuation will likely put them in an excellent position, reported by Jamie Anderson of the Express.
The player may be tasked with adapting to Louis van Gaal's 3-5-2 formation if this happens, perhaps in a left wing-back position. While United's new setup doesn't accommodate the player, Di Maria would tread on the toes of a current PSG star before making an impact.
He could play on either side of Blanc's 4-3-3 at the Parc des Princes, but this would come at the expense of stars such as Edinson Cavani or Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Di Maria's gut-busting runs from deep may offer United an explosion of pace alongside new signing Ander Herrera in the centre of midfield, but this duo wouldn't be able to dominate against physical opponents.
United would likely have to revert to a 4-3-3 or transitional 4-4-2 if Di Maria was to naturally fit in. Acknowledging his switch in emphasis, Van Gaal insists United will remain ready to adapt if the current lineup fails to inspire, per the Guardian's Jamie Jackson:
The other system they can play is 4-3-3 and they have played it for many years. I can change back if the system doesn’t work. With the quality of the players we have, I can play 4-3-3 with three strikers on the bench, but want to play with two strikers.
A topping up of cash for Madrid would allow the team to land Radamel Falcao, a likely prospect after AS reported a meeting between Florentino Perez and Jorge Mendes, the player's agent.
Falcao recently highlighted his imminent return to fitness with the winning goal during Monaco's 1-0 victory against Arsenal at the Emirates Cup, but Madrid would need to move an expensive player on before even committing to a potential £10 million loan deal, per Ben Burrows of the Mirror.
Jonathan Johnson of ESPN FC indicates the excessive time taken for Di Maria to make a move could impact a deal ever happening:
I'd be more surprised if Real Madrid's Angel Di Maria does end up joining PSG than I would be if he doesn't. Deal dragged on for too long.— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) August 3, 2014
Zlatan's comments will likely be dismissed by Blanc, and indeed, many PSG fans. Di Maria is the type of exciting player supporters wish to see, even if he isn't needed to capture domestic success. This is certainly how he can be viewed at Madrid, where Carlo Ancelotti has more than made up for the player's departure before he steps foot through the door.
Many United followers will hope a deal can be pushed through just so the club can say they made a marquee signing this summer. Van Gaal is running out of time if he wants to significantly improve the team upon their opening Premier League fixture with Swansea on August 16, but he is unlikely to spend so heavily on a player who doesn't immediately fit into his tactical plans.