Premier League - Di Maria joins Manchester United for British transfer record fee

Argentina midfielder Angel Di Maria has left Real Madrid to join Manchester United for a British transfer record of £59.7 million.

Eurosport
Premier League - Di Maria joins Manchester United for British transfer record fee
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Angel Di Maria has joined Manchester United from Real Madrid (Reuters/Eurosport)

The former Benfica winger, who can also play as a central attacking midfielder, spent four seasons at Real Madrid but was deemed surplus to requirements following the signings of James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos.

The deal to sign Di Maria, 26, eclipses the £50m Chelsea paid Liverpool Fernando Torres. He had joined Real for around a third of the amount United have spent, making 190 appearances and scoring 36 goals.

Di Maria starred for Argentina in their run to the World Cup final, although he missed the last two matches with a thigh injury.

Renowned for his skill, pace and industry, he was La Liga's top assister last season, creating 17 goals, and was man of the match in Real's 4-1 a.e.t. Champions League final triumph over Atletico Madrid.

Manchester United finished outside the European places last season, and new manager Louis van Gaal is trying to change the culture and system at the club.

He is also seeking to rebuild the playing squad, with Di Maria joining Argentina team-mate Marcos Rojo, Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera and English left-back Luke Shaw as summer acquisitions.

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Di Maria and Woodward (Manchester United)

WHAT THE PLAYER SAID

"I am absolutely delighted to be joining Manchester United. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Spain and there were a lot of clubs interested in me, but United is the only club that I would have left Real Madrid for.

"Louis van Gaal is a fantastic coach with a proven track record of success and I am impressed by the vision and determination everyone has to get this club back to the top - where it belongs. I now just cannot wait to get started."

WHAT THE MANAGER SAID

"Angel is a world-class midfielder... there's no doubting his immense natural talent. He is a tremendously fast and incisive left-footed player who puts fear into the most accomplished defence.

"His dribbling skills and ability to beat opponents are a joy to watch. He's an excellent addition."

OUR VIEW

There is no doubt that Manchester United lack creativity and drive. Juan Mata was supposed to provide it, but he has been swallowed up in the malaise at Old Trafford.

Di Maria has it all - pace, energy, creativity, determination... He has also won it all, having played the game of his life in the Champions League final last season.

It's odd that Real are offloading him. Los Merengues care as much about marketing as they do ability, and - while he is a fantastic player - he will not sell as many shirts as James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos, who are equally effective. His sale also frees up a non-EU slot for Radamel Falcao or another big-name striker.

It is also strange that United have paid £10m more for Di Maria than PSG were set to spend earlier this summer - and for a player Madrid were keen to sell.

Real could sense United's desperation, and Ed Woodward's reputation as a terrible negotiator appears to be preceding him.

This is the right signing, without doubt - but it has not come at the right price. The ramifications will be wider for the club and Woodward - don't expect Juventus to roll over for Arturo Vidal, while Ajax will play hardball over Daley Blind.

Separately, this could spell the end of Shinji Kagawa's careeer at Old Trafford. The Japanese has struggled to fit into English football and may return to Germany with former club Dortmund.

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