What seems clearer than daylight now is that if Angel Di Maria was bluffing with his demands of Real Madrid, then the club has finally decided the time is now right to call him on it.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti has upped the ante, either on his own volition, or more likely on instructions received from upstairs, by leaving him out of the squad for the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup. Curiously Sami Khedira has suffered the same fate (and, upset, he ended up going to Germany without the permission of the club).
The club wants to sell both as soon as possible. But is it that easy?
"Enough is enough," the club seem to be saying to the Argentinean player’s continual demands for more money, and his exclusion is their way of saying they can manage without him. Not everybody has forgotten that against Dortmund, against the wishes of the manager, he decided to take a penalty that could have been taken by Gareth Bale, and missed it.
The truth is that despite countless rumours, to date there have been no offers received for the man known as "Fideo" (Noodles, because of his very slender frame).
Neither Manchester United, who know that the purchasing of the player would represent an investment of around €120 million, nor Paris St Germain have made an offer.
Not yet anyway.
Manchester United have been told that he wants a guaranteed €8 million a year net over five years, and PSG know that, before they can shell out €60 million-plus for the player, they first need to get shot of a few who are, for the time being, staying put, even though they have indicated that they would be prepared to meet his wage demands.
Is there interest? Of course there is. But as someone who knows a lot about these things told me yesterday, “I’m very interested in Adriana Lima, but that doesn’t mean that I’ve called her.” And so we enter the last week of the transfer window.
United find themselves in a very curious situation that could bring about a change to the whole scenario at any moment.
They tried to sign five or six players early in the summer before Louis van Gaal called a halt to proceedings because he wanted to get to know his squad better before bringing new players in at Old Trafford. He now knows just how short of quality he is all over the pitch and he still has around €200 million in his treasure chest to strengthen his side.
He has given himself two seasons to build a team that can compete at the highest levels and make its way back to the very top. To that end, the last thing he wants to do is to give the impression that he is desperate to buy just anyone in the transfer market.
What is the sense of spending €120 million of that budget on just one player?
According to club sources, Wayne Rooney earns more than the €8 million a year net demanded by Di Maria, and the last thing Van Gaal wants to do is to buy any player that gets anywhere near to that figure.
The problem is that any offer received from United will have to be very attractive simply because United are not involved in any European competition this year.
Eventually, Di Maria should leave for at least €40 million even though Real Madrid will want more. No one, however, is prepared to pay more; at least not for the moment. It is going to be an interesting week.
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