Manchester United is looking to spend its way back to the ranks of the Premier League elite by making Angel di Maria its marquee summer signing.
Manchester United is in advanced talks with Real Madrid about buying di Maria for a British-record transfer fee worth around £56 million ($92.8 million), according to Sky Sports’ Guillem Balague.
“So advanced, in fact, are the negotiations that it has already been agreed that Di Maria will wear the number seven shirt, worn in the past by no lesser players than David Beckham, Eric Cantona, Cristiano Ronaldo, George Best and Bryan Robson,” Balague said.
“As soon as Di Maria knew of Manchester United’s interest he was very excited about the possibility of coming to Old Trafford. At first Paris Saint-Germain showed interest in singing him and said they were prepared to meet his wage demands of 8 million Euros a year net (£6.4 million/$10.6 million), but the deal offered by United was much more interesting to him.
“Firstly, United is a club with much more prestige throughout Europe, and secondly, it’s a new project where he knows he will be one of the leaders. Cristiano Ronaldo has also told him some great things about United and has succeeded in persuading him that it is a good option even though the club is not playing in Europe this season.
“He is also very excited about the prospect of working with manager Louis van Gaal and everyone is expecting that the deal will be closed soon.
Di Maria’s reported transfer fee surpasses the £50 million ($82.8 million) Chelsea paid Liverpool to sign Fernando Torres in January 2011 — the current British record.
After joining Real Madrid from Portuguese club Benfica for £20 million ($33 million) in 2010, Di Maria scored 36 goals in 190 games and helped end its 12-year quest for a UEFA Champions League title last season, earning man-of-the-match honors in the final.
However, di Maria hasn’t always felt appreciated at Real Madrid. He has been shuttled around a number of positions, and his salary doesn’t reflect his on-field importance to the team. Real Madrid offered Di Maria a new contract this summer, but he rejected it and asked to leave the club.
On Sunday, Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti said di Maria is preparing to leave the Spanish capital.
“Di Maria has not trained with us today and he came in to say goodbye to the players and people at the club,” Ancelotti said, according to the BBC. “There is nothing official yet but it is being sorted out. The decision is his and the club has done what it could to keep him here.”
Real Madrid fullback Marcelo bid di Maria a fond farewell Sunday.
A tus pies fidelito !!! Gracias por todo lo que has hecho por el madrid ! Eres muy grande hermanooo ! Te quiero !! http://t.co/RwGV9nBTFz—
Marcelo Vieira (@12MarceloV) August 24, 2014
Photo via Facebook/Angel di Maria