Ahead of Sunday’s matchup versus Sunderland, Manchester United are reportedly in the closing stages of negotiations for Real Madrid midfielder Angel Di Maria. The Argentine has been a target of manager Louis van Gaal’s all summer, and it was believed United could pry him from the Bernabeu at a discount, considering the glut of midfielders on Madrid’s roster and the fact that Di Maria’s contract talks with the Spanish side had reached an impasse.
However, Sky Sports reported Sunday that the Red Devils are poised to set a new British transfer fee record worth up to £56 million for the 26-year-old who’s totaled 22 goals in 124 appearances for Madrid over the last four years.
Di Maria’s agent Jorge Mendes apparently boarded a flight to Europe to finish the deal off, and its been agreed that Di Maria will wear No. 7 on his shirt, just like David Beckham, George Best and Cristiano Ronaldo before him.
Sky Sports also reported that it was Ronaldo’s opinion and experience with United that further excited Di Maria about the possibility of playing at Old Trafford.
Di Maria’s signature should certainly help, but Van Gaal understands he’ll need more than four signings to complete the overhaul of a squad that finished a disappointing sixth in Premier League last term. The Dutch was quoted by The Sun as saying it would take a “miracle” to claim the title this year, and compared it to his turnaround of Bayern Munich in 2009.
In kind Van Gaal has continued his pursuit of Juventus star midfielder Arturo Vidal. United have made a second bid for Vidal in excess of £32 million, Daily Star reports. The bid also includes at least one player, but the Star ruled out Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez or Danny Welbeck. It’s very possible that Nani, Anderson or Wilfried Zaha could be on the move, especially after reports surfaced last week of their banishment from team strategy sessions.
In other news, any plans Van Gaal might have had of sprucing up the backline with Olympiacos and Greece defender Kostas Manolas appear to be dashed. Express reported Sunday that Arsenal are the favorites to land the 23-year-old who’s fresh off an excellent performance in last month’s World Cup. Mostly playing center-back, Manolas has scored four goals in 49 appearances for Olympiacos the last two years.