Manchester United have accepted a €65 million (approx. £45.5 million) bid from Paris Saint-Germain for Argentinian winger Angel Di Maria, according to France Football (h/t Marca).
The report also suggests he is due to sign for the Ligue 1 champions in the "next few hours," bringing an end to one of the summer's longest-running stories.
Jeremy Cross of the Daily Star revealed on Thursday that PSG assistant sporting director Olivier Letang previously flew to London to discuss the deal with United chief executive Ed Woodward. PSG are "desperate" to confirm an agreement for the player they missed out on last summer, which saw United pay a British record sum of £59.7 million for his services, per Jonathan Green of the Star.
Matt Smith of talkSPORT added to the story:
Matt Smith @msmith850
Angel Di Maria on his way to @PSG by weekend. @ManUtd will hope to bring big name in to replace.2015-7-22 20:59:12
Sport Witness provided further word from the continent:
Sport Witness @Sport_Witness
Nothing in L'Equipe or Le Parisien on Angel Di Maria. France Football last night said it agreed.2015-7-24 07:27:30
Green reports Barcelona's Pedro Rodriguez is United's likely replacement. However, Blaugrana president Josep Maria Bartomeu is adamant the forward's £22 million buyout clause must be met if the player is to leave.
"We have not received any offers for any player," he said, reported by Sky Sports. "I refer back to what head coach Luis Enrique said: If someone wants to sign our players then the release clause must be met. So far, no one has made an offer, so we are calm."
Louis van Gaal's acquisition of Memphis Depay—who scored during his second appearance for the club in the recent win over San Jose Earthquakes—can numb the pain of Di Maria leaving. However, United will be letting a proven world-class star move on without reaching his potential at the club. Making a financial loss means very little, especially if Di Maria performs admirably for PSG.
We saw glimpses of his quality last season. United fans will think back to the goal against Leicester City or his pass leading to Juan Mata's winner against Liverpool. Yet, there's the moment he caught the ball on the pitch at Anfield and got sent off in the FA Cup defeat to Arsenal.
Adding Pedro to Depay and Ashley Young on the left side should be more than adequate for United if Van Gaal also secures a prolific striker. Wayne Rooney is currently the squad's only proven goalscorer, but he needs competition to remain at the top of his game.
Sportsmediaset (h/t Will Giles of Metro) reports PSG's Zlatan Ibrahimovic has turned down a three-year contract offer from United, favouring a return to AC Milan instead. Ibra would provide a short-term fix to Van Gaal's attacking needs at the age of 33. Robin van Persie worked similarly for Sir Alex Ferguson prior to his departure this summer.
Few would have anticipated Di Maria's likely sale after just one season. Van Gaal still has time to ensure United are adequately stacked for the 2015-16 campaign, though. He loves to attract big-name players and has the right reputation to convince incoming stars United will be successful in the future.
Even so, many will be disappointed by the seemingly imminent departure of Di Maria, an individual who could have written his name into United folklore.