Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal is monitoring Real Madrid winger Angel di Maria after identifying the Argentina international as a potential summer signing. There has been much speculation in recent days that the Red Devils are keen to sign the 26-year-old, but it has now emerged that Van Gaal himself is keeping close tabs on the player’s situation at the Bernabeu.
This information comes courtesy of the Guardian, who claim that Van Gaal could offload several players in order to finance a £75 million double deal for both Di Maria and Borussia Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels.
Di Maria out of the World Cup semi-final
Van Gaal will not be able to watch Di Maria at close quarters this evening, even though his Netherlands side go head-to-head with Argentina in Sao Paulo. The veteran Dutch coach will be relieved that the world-class winger is currently out of action with a thigh muscle injury; Di Maria is one of Argentina’s best players and capable of preventing the Oranje from reaching their second consecutive World Cup final.
However, the Real Madrid ace could be fit in time for Sunday’s final against Germany. If Argentina fail to qualify for the final, though, Di Maria is unlikely to be play in Saturday’s third-place play-off against humiliated hosts Brazil.
Van Gaal admires Di Maria’s strength and pace
The Guardian report that Van Gaal admires Di Maria’s deceptive strength and eye-catching pace. The winger, who adapted brilliantly to a central role under Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti last season, is capable of sparking swift counter-attacks with his searing speed, which Van Gaal could utilise at Old Trafford.
The world-class winger is also an assist machine. In his four seasons at the Bernabeu, Di Maria has set up a remarkable 87 goals. This begs the question: why would Real Madrid even contemplate selling such an effective player?
Real Madrid willing to sell Di Maria
Unsurprisingly, the reason Real Madrid will consider selling the £48 million-rated Di Maria - provided the price is right - is because they are keen to upgrade. The Galactico culture is alive and well at the Bernabeu with Florentino Perez at the helm - and the Real Madrid president wants Colombia’s new superstar James Rodriguez to become the European champions’ latest signing.
Los Blancos are also keen to add Rodriguez’s AS Monaco and international teammate Radamel Falcao to their ranks ahead of the 2014/15 campaign. A deal for both players would command a total fee well over €100 million - so offloading Di Maria will be crucial in order to avoid falling foul of UEFA’s strict Financial Fair Play rules.
Angel di Maria: Man United's next No. 7?
Di Maria willing to join United?
Arsenal target Di Maria was expected to leave the Bernabeu last summer, following the arrival of Gareth Bale, but stayed to fight for his place and ended up enjoying his best season yet as a Real Madrid player.
But, with United now on the scene, it’s possible that Di Maria could be convinced to come to Old Trafford by Van Gaal.
An interview published by the News of the World in 2009 quoted Di Maria as stating that his dream is to play for Manchester United.
And that dream, it seems, could become a reality sooner rather than later - at least if Van Gaal gets his way.