Argentine playmaker Di Maria became the most expensive player in British football history in August, moving to Old Trafford for a record £59.7 million fee having become shockingly surplus to requirements in La Liga following Real's decision to secure the services of World Cup Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez from Monaco.
The battle for Di Maria became a rather drawn-out, even tedious affair, with wealthy Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain appearing to display strong interest before ultimately ending their pursuit after deeming the player's asking price as simply too expensive to meet.
Van Gaal factor
Manchester United's terrible 2013/14 campaign and poor start to the new season had led many to question Di Maria's motives, particularly with the Red Devils not taking part in the Champions League - the competition Real won in May thanks to a tremendous final performance from the former Benfica midfielder - for the first time in almost 20 years.
Di Maria clearly has no regrets over the move, however, and has confirmed that Van Gaal was a major influence in the process.
"We get on very well, he was one of the reasons I came here," the 26-year-old - who is rumoured to earn in the region of £280,000-per-week - said in an interview that was brought to our attention by the Daily Star.
"I’m very grateful to him because he wanted to sign me. That makes me happy. Also, he’s a person who wants to win all the time, and to take the club back into the Champions League as quickly as possible, so the focus is very much on that."
As expected of a player with his considerable talent, Di Maria has made a very quick start indeed to life in the Premier League and has provided a timely boost to Manchester United's fortunes.
Providing a touch of extra class to Van Gaal's admittedly unbalanced side, Di Maria has already notched three goals and provided a further three assists in just five Premier League appearances.