How true are persistent rumors linking Angel di Maria with a move away from Manchester United? Who knows.
But one thing is for sure, the most expensive signing in British soccer history has failed to settle at Old Trafford and the Argentine winger has spent most of his debut season warming his cheeks on the bench. So, what now for Di Maria?
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On Thursday more reports linking him with a $72 million move to Paris Saint-Germain have emerged and it wouldn’t be surprising to see United cut their losses and let Di Maria move on. He has exceptional qualities, there’s no doubt about that, but he has failed to adapt to the pace of the Premier League and after being given ample time to impress Louis van Gaal, other attackers such Ashley Young, Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini have jumped ahead of him in the pecking order.
Yes, Di Maria has suffered injury-hit spells this season and his campaign took another turn for the worst when he was sent off against Arsenal in an FA Cup quarterfinal in March for two yellows and then in frustration he pushed referee Michael Oliver. That action sums up his season so far, as United’s fans have been underwhelmed time and time again with his lackluster displays but he has shown glimpses of the player who shone at Real Madrid to leave them wondering, “what if he figures it out?” Di Maria leads the Red Devils in assists (10) but has scored just four times in 30 PL appearances as the main issue has been consistency and being able to cope with the powerful defending on display week in, week out.
There is hope for his United career to get over a poor first season and it is believed that LVG wants him to kick on and succeed next season with the team likely back in the Champions League. Adding to all of this unrest is the fact that Di Maria has had issues off the pitch too as his house in Manchester was burgled and his wife is apparently unsettled in the area. This has created a situation that isn’t conducive to getting the best out of a mercurial talent.
In the World Cup last summer Di Maria was a sensation for Argentina and they missed him desperately in the final against Germany through injury. He also became a key figure in Real Madrid’s run to lift the UEFA Champions League title in 2013-14 but has yet to regain that form and looks to be lacking in confidence every time he pulls on a red shirt.
Di Maria came off the bench against Everton last week and curled in three crosses which were nowhere near their targets. He looked sheepish and didn’t want to get involved. That’s not what a $99 million signing should be doing and Di Maria may well find himself on the way out this summer if United can wheel and deal to move him on.
Right now, not too many fans would be sad to see him go. But we all love a good redemption story and Di Maria’s must start now. If he shows well in the final four games of the campaign, he can take positive momentum into the summer and kick his career on next season and flourish at the Theatre of Dreams. The next few weeks are crucial for his future at United.