Manchester United’s imminent British record deal for Real Madrid attacker Angel di Maria demonstrates just how “desperate” they have come in the transfer market, according to the club’s former midfielder Ray Wilkins.
Di Maria is expected to be confirmed as the most recent acquisition under Louis van Gaal later on Tuesday, with Manchester United having agreed a transfer fee of £59.7 million and a salary of £200,000-per-week with the Argentina international.
It had initially been reported that Manchester United had been informed that it would take £75 million to prise Di Maria away from the Santiago Bernabeu and, even though the fee has been reduced, it represents a significant outlay for a player deemed surplus to requirements by Madrid.
And, says Wilkins, his former club have been held to ransom somewhat given the difficult transfer window they have endured and with the deadline just one week away - something he finds “sad”.
"It's quite sad when one club - and I hate using the word regarding Manchester United - becomes so desperate that the transfer fee will be elevated massively,” the ex-Chelsea player told talkSPORT.
"This is one case where, all of a sudden, it goes from £50m on Friday to another half of that. So we've gone to £75m for a player that can't get in the first team at Real Madrid.
"He's extremely talented, but I'm worried about the money. They have to bring a few more in and it could spiral and spiral.
“This is the second year when they haven’t worked quick enough in the transfer market."
While Di Maria is the marquee player who can placate supporters, it is still evident that Manchester United need at least two more additions before the transfer window closes next Monday evening.
Marcos Rojo has reinforced Louis van Gaal’s defensive options but, following the departure of both Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand, the club remain short of one central defender of some repute.
Midfield is also a particular problem with injuries to both Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini only highlighting the lack of options in the centre of the park. Van Gaal had four midfielders out for the weekend trip to Sunderland, and will be hopeful of addressing this problem before the deadline.