For months, Paris Saint-Germain have been most fervently linked with the Argentinian, but the Daily Star's Colin Harvey reports that the Red Devils could launch an audacious £60 million move of their own.
According to Harvey, United's offer of £120,000 a week would be almost double the £70,000-a-week salary Di Maria earns at the Bernabeu, but is Real's man really worth such expense?
PSG will continue to pose stiff competition in this particular race, but as beIN Sports' Tancredi Palmeri attests, Financial Fair Play currently means the Ligue 1 champions are on a sell-to-buy policy:
For Manchester United, rebuilding their brand name is about more than expense at present, and for that reason it may be justifiable for the club to splurge such massive figures. After all, the club needs new foundations in the fallout of the post-David Moyes "era," which saw them finish seventh in the Premier League last term.
PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has given his take on Di Maria's potential arrival, questioning whether or not his side truly require the 26-year-old's talents, per Spanish newspaper AS (h/t Alex Harris of the Express):
"I do not know if we need Di María. We have a team that in recent months has added many titles without him."
Di Maria has succeeded for both Real Madrid and Argentina—particularly at the 2014 World Cup—thanks to a system that has very much worked in his favour.
The same comfort can't be guaranteed at Old Trafford.
So far in pre-season, Louis van Gaal has mostly opted for a core of three defenders, utilising wing-backs to give his midfield crux some much-needed width, a tactic that doesn't necessarily accommodate strictly tuned wingers.
That isn't to say the opportunities won't arise where a more conventional 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 setup won't require a player of Di Maria's skill set, but the sums linked with his name are of the kind that one usually structures an entire team around.
As far as wingers go, the South American is far from the most industrious, either. According to WhoScored.com, Di Maria's average of 1.3 tackles per game last season was just 10th best at Real Madrid, while Squawka shows that he won just 36 of an attempted 97 tackles.
Of course, with the ball at his feet, the player has a tendency to devastate, but a much more balanced presence would surely be required.
The alternative for United would be for Di Maria's focus to lie more centrally, as it did for him in Madrid last season. But again, the lack of balance as a more defensively inclined asset might make such a situation untenable.
It's easy to see why PSG might eye Di Maria, with Ezequiel Lavezzi, Edinson Cavani and Lucas Moura patrolling the flanks so astutely last term, his profile would fit in seamlessly.
In fact, the Mirror's Ed Malyon even goes as far as to state that his acquisition would make the Paris outfit contenders for the Champions League:
For United, the sense in spending such figures isn't quite so easy to identify, not when the vision of how the player would be used is somewhat murkier, not quite as finely cut as it could be in the French capital.
Di Maria's impressive 2013-14 season combined with a fine World Cup in Brazil sees his stock at an all-time high, but this is a deal United would have been better off getting in on while it still held greater value.
In time, even with that expense, the forward could well go on to repay his price-tag, but when the market is full of alternative options, funds could be spent more wisely on those who fit Van Gaal's tactics more easily.
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