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Di Maria move to Manchester United from Real Madrid is close

Di Maria move to Manchester United from Real Madrid is close

Posted by Juan Gavasa on August 25, 2014

Angel Di Maria remains tantalisingly close to swapping Real Madrid for Manchester United as Louis van Gaal looks to break his less-than-impressive Premier League start with a big-money buy.

But where will Di Maria fit in Van Gaal's 3-5-2 formation? Is he really worth £75million? Can he become a No 7 at Old Trafford to rank alongside David Beckham or Cristiano Ronaldo?

Sportsmail's Pete Jenson explains what the Argentina star will be bringing to Manchester.

The most logical position for Di Maria to play in Van Gaal’s 3-5-2 is in the midfield five, just inside the left-wing back. Luke Shaw will eventually operate wide left of the five and Di Maria would play to his right.

Last season he played on the left of the midfield three at Real Madrid and he had his best season at the club. He has the engine to get up and down the pitch covering the runs of the left wing-back when necessary, just as he did last season filling the gaps left by Marcelo and Fabio Coentrao going forward.

He was also able to make runs from a central position out to the left touchline and get around the back of teams. He gave Real Madrid dynamism and an unpredictability in attack that United look like they desperately lack.

In a 3-5-2 with Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Marcos Rojo in defence, Rafael, Juan Mata or Ander Herrera, Darren Fletcher, and Shaw in midfield, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie up front he would be very much at home.

Where else can he play?

For every tactical alternative in Van Gaal’s big black folder there is a role that Di Maria can play. The Argentine’s versatility is a one of his greatest qualities. In the 3-5-2 formation he could also play as the left wing-back.

He could play wide left in a 4-4-2. He could also play wide right in a 4-4-2 coming inside to shoot with his left foot. He can play on the left or right of a 4-3-3 both in the midfield three and the front three.

Jose Mourinho even had him down as an emergency left back. If he’s so good, why are Real Madrid selling? The same reason they sold Arjen Robben in 2009.

The insatiable desire for new players must be, in part, financed by sales. Three Champions League finals later no-one can say Bayern were wrong to sign Robben.

Is the £75m price tag justified?

No, and United should not have to end up paying that much. They are the only buyer bidding here.

Where will Real Madrid sell him if not to United? Paris Saint-Germain can’t buy him because of financial fair play restrictions. Manchester City turned down the chance to buy him earlier in the summer for the same reason.

Real need to sell and United are in a queue of one so they should not be held to ransom. It will be interesting to see if both clubs agree on the price paid.

Remember how Real claimed Gareth Bale cost about 90m euros and Tottenham insisted it was 100? The sale of Di Maria is hugely unpopular so Florentino Perez needs to justify it with the highest price possible.

Is Di Maria worthy of the United No 7 shirt?

Just think about that Xabi Alonso tweet for a moment: ‘Thanks for everything. I wish you all the best, even if you are going to United. We will never forget the zig-zag in extra-time in Lisbon’.

Tired legs everywhere and Di Maria as fresh as if it were the 10th minute not the 110th minute, hurtling down the left, darting between full back Juanfran and centre back Miranda, drawing Thibaut Courtois and crossing to Gareth Bale at the back post for him to score the Champions League winning goal.

If he produces moments like that for United he will be more than worthy.



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