Transfer speculation has swirled around Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain throughout the summer and their respective preseason campaigns, and it likely won’t let up when the sides clash in International Champions Cup action Wednesday at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Both sides have been linked to some of the world’s premier players, with United the most active as evidenced by their acquisition of former PSV winger Memphis Depay. Unfortunately for supporters, PSG’s yet to pull off a major swoop this summer, but it could very well be one of the Red Devils top midfielders.
Reports have linked Angel Di Maria to a move to Parcs des Princes, with stars like David Luiz and Zlatan Ibrahimovic actively calling for the Argentine who floundered at Old Trafford for much of last season. He totaled five goals in 32 appearances, a disappointing campaign, but Di Maria is still viewed as one of the more talented at his position and his struggles may have been due to the adjustment under manager Louis van Gaal.
Now it appears Di Maria, after one year of service and a £59.7 million transfer fee, is on the cusp of joining PSG and the speculation will be a major subplot throughout the exhibition. In fact, according to Daily Mirror, PSG are confident the 27-year-old playmaker will leave North America aboard their plane by next week.
Though no signature has been secured, the bid is reportedly worth as much as £46 million, but reports and even PSG manager Laurent Blanc have all but confirmed an agreement.
"The matter is close to being finished," Blanc said according to ESPNFC. "I'm rather positive about it but, in transfers, we have seen what can happen -- so as long as it's not official...
"When I tell you that, it's the truth. The most important thing is to see him in the PSG squad. But as you know, he belongs to a great club called Manchester United. Be patient!"
The potential move would be beneficial to both squads, especially PSG. The French titans are expected to rule Ligue 1 once again this year, but the addition of Di Maria would bolster a midfield that relied too heavily on 32-year-old Thiago Motta last season and is still waiting for promising 20-year-old Adrian Rabiot to develop.
United can also make room for Depay as well as its most recent acquisition, Sergio Romero, and former Bayern Munich star Bastian Schweinsteiger while making a significant run at Champions League and the Premier League title.
After helping Argentina reach the Copa America final earlier this month, Di Maria’s sat out United’s preseason match ups but it’s allowed Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin more time to mesh with their new squad. United’s won all three of their matches, most notably taking down Barcelona 3-1 and MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes by the same score, and Schneiderlin’s header goal proved to be the difference against Club America in the preseason opener.
Meanwhile PSG are hoping to recover from a disappointing 1-1 (6-5) penalty shootout result against Chelsea. Ibrahimovic’s goal in the 25th minute seemed to be enough until PSG’s defense collapsed and Thiago Silva couldn’t convert his final penalty attempt. But PSG still own a winning 2-1 record in the preseason after dropping Fiorentina, 4-2, and Benfica, 3-2.
Prediction: Manchester United over PSG, 2-1