Real Madrid’s sale of Angel Di Maria for a whopping €75 million represents a fantastic piece of business for the European champions, even if it is questionable from a footballing standpoint.
While Los Blancos are constantly characterized—not unfairly—as a club that loves to splash large amounts of money to sign the world's best and most marketable players, the Di Maria windfall proves for a second year running that the club are becoming increasingly adept when seated at the other side of the negotiating table.
By selling El Fideo to a Manchester United clearly desperate for a high-profile signing to appease their coach and fans, Florentino Perez has essentially recouped the money spent on World Cup stars James Rodriguez and Keylor Navas.
Last season, Perez splashed out a world-record transfer fee to bring in Gareth Bale in from Tottenham Hotspur, but he also managed to offload Gonzalo Higuain to Napoli for €37 million and Mesut Ozil to Arsenal for €50 million.
The sale of Ozil was particularly controversial among Madridistas, but it was completely forgotten when Bale headed in the go-ahead goal in last season's Champions League final.
James Rodriguez will have a hard time making Madridistas forget about Di Maria, however.
Sid Lowe pointed out in his piece for The Guardian that Di Maria was Spain's leading assist-maker last season, and that only Lionel Messi has produced more assists over the past four seasons. El Fideo was named man of the match in last season's Champions League final and scored in the Copa Del Rey final against Barcelona.
His willingness to play in any position and sacrifice himself for his team is not something matched by Real Madrid's remaining stars, making his sale a questionable footballing decision.
But having gone ahead with the signing of Rodriguez—a pure luxury rather than a necessity—Real Madrid needed to make a big sale.
Replacing Di Maria with Rodriguez may not have been the best move for Real Madrid's coach, but it will please their accountants.
And with Financial Fair Play regulations to adhere to, that's important.