It's time to announce another sporting highlight from 2014 as we countdown to the number 1 moment being announced on New Year's Eve. At number 28 it is the British record transfer fee that Manchester paid for Argentina star Angel di Maria.
May 19 2014 - Manchester United announce that Louis Van Gaal has signed a three contract to become their new manager. This statement from board implied that the extremely disappointing campaign and a seventh place finish the previous season would not be tolerated.
However despite Van Gaal being announced as manager the squad from last season’s catastrophe remained and was perhaps seen as even weaker after the off season departures of defensive stalwarts Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand.
The Manchester United faithful would be demanding a hugely improved showing in the transfer market after the two disappointing transfer windows under David Moyes.
The club seemed to have learnt from its mistakes by acquiring long term targets Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao and Luke Shaw from Southampton early in the summer whilst incoming manager Van Gaal was still in charge of the Netherlands at the World Cup.
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Despite these early signings there was little activity until the season started and perhaps the false hope of a successful pre-season left both manager and fans alike feeling confident heading into the new campaign.
A shock 2-1 home defeat to Swansea in the first game of the season showed that the side was still struggling when it came to competitive action. This result was followed by a draw away at Sunderland and an embarrassing 4-0 defeat to MK Dons in the Capital One Cup.
The protracted and much needed signing of defender Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon for £16 million was completed and over the years could later be seen as an absolute bargain.
However the signings made so far by Van Gaal were still being seen as below the calibre of players needed to challenge the top four and eventually win the Premier League once again.
Step forward Angel di Maria to sign for a British record fee of £59.7 million. This signing showed that, while Manchester United may not be competing in Europe’s top competition, they could still compete with the best when it came to signing the big names.
United weren't finished making waves in the transfer market as the ongoing Daley Blind saga was completed on transfer deadline day. The surprise loan acquisition of Radamel Falcao completed an exciting and attacking transfer window for the red half of Manchester.
Di Maria was integral in Real Madrid’s previous campaign and was one of the best players in a team that won a record 10th Champions League title. He was also part of the Argentina squad that came agonisingly close to winning the World Cup.
This big money signing has lived up to his fee so far, starting superbly with a goal on his home debut against QPR in a thumping 4-0 win.
He has played his part in a number of goals since, but whether the former Real Madrid ace can lead Manchester United back into the top four at the first attempt is still up for debate.
With the substantial amount of money spent, the fans will demand results and an attacking style of play on their way back to the heights of European football.
GMS 2014 Moments so far...
28. Angel Di Maria signs for Manchester United for British Record Fee
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