Real Madrid aren’t the only ones hoping they complete the £35 million signing of AS Monaco playmaker James Rodriguez this summer - Manchester United will be, too. The reason: only once Real Madrid have signed the Colombia superstar will they sanction the sale of Angel di Maria, who would be a revelation at Old Trafford under Louis van Gaal.
The 26-year-old’s future at the Bernabeu is currently up in the air, despite the fact he has just enjoyed his best season for Los Blancos, scoring 11 goals and providing a staggering 26 assists in 52 matches for the recently-crowned European champions.
Are Real Madrid making the right decision?
Di Maria, four years after arriving at the Bernabeu from Benfica, can be considered a real success. With 36 goals and 87 assists in 189 games, the Argentina international will have every reason to consider himself extremely hard done by if replaced by Rodriguez.
However, the gifted Rodriguez has shown the world exactly what he’s capable of with four outstanding performances at this summer’s World Cup finals. The Colombia ace currently leads the race for the coveted Golden Boot award, with five goals, and scored the best goal of the tournament - an outrageous volley - in the last 16 against Uruguay last weekend.
Is the 22-year-old an upgrade on Di Maria? In truth, there’s very little between the two players. But if Real Madrid do choose to sell the Argentine, they will be letting go of an immensely talented attacking star.
Di Maria: World-class winger
Manchester United No. 7: Angel di Maria?
Manchester United still need an injection of quality on the flanks, despite extending the contract of Antonio Valencia, who hasn’t looked the same player over the past two seasons. Meanwhile, Nani wants to leave Old Trafford and Ashley Young simply isn’t up to scratch.
Adnan Januzaj is, of course, set to become Manchester United’s next superstar - but it’s sometimes difficult to forget that he’s still just 19 years old. The arrival of Di Maria needn’t relegate the Belgium international to the substitutes’ bench, though. Both wingers are capable of playing on either flank, or in a more central role. In fact, Di Maria flourished for Real Madrid after Carlo Ancelotti moved him infield.
United haven’t had a world-class number seven since Cristiano Ronaldo left Old Trafford in 2009.
But all that could change if Di Maria, one of Ronaldo’s current teammates, moves to Manchester later this summer.