Manchester United's club-record signing Angel di Maria is adamant that a whopping £59.7 million fee is not something that weighs heavy on his shoulders, but did admit he's yet to fully acclimatise to life in the Premier League and needs more time to find top form.
Di Maria has shown glimpses of the rampaging form that made him such a success at Real Madrid since completing a stunning summer switch to the Theatre of Dreams, but injuries and have also been a source of frustration alongside patchy form over the last two months.
The Argentine international is currently sidelined by a hamstring strain and is struggling for fitness ahead of United's trip to Southampton on Monday night, but the absence may actually be a blessing in disguise if it gives Di Maria extra time to deal with the difficult transition to winter in Manchester.
Di Maria determined to deliver for United
In an interview with Sport Magazine the 26-year-old spoke at length about a whirlwind first few months as a Manchester United player, with producing on the pitch very much at the forefront of his thinking beyond teething problems off it.
Di Maria said: “It is difficult to come to a new country and start a new life. It is also complicated going through a change in terms of the style of game. So it is not easy. But when things go well on the pitch, that makes the adaptation a bit easier.”
New United hero determined to play to strengths
“I am thankful to Manchester United for bringing me here,” he says. “Regarding the fee paid for me, it is an arrangement between clubs. I just play. If the amount paid reflects my value and United decided to pay it, then I am thankful and happy for that.”
“I must adapt to my team-mates, because there are still some moments in the game in which I feel I am not fully adapted yet. The language barrier has also made it a bit harder, but I am trying to overcome that as soon as possible so I can communicate with everyone.”
Number seven was the obvious choice
The 26-year-old also revealed that he had his heart set on following in Cristiano Ronaldo's footsteps of wearing number seven for United, despite also having the option of picking number nine before Radamel Falcao emerged as a shock transfer target for the Red Devils.
“I knew that the number seven was available,” he says. “So I could either choose that or the number nine. I wanted the number seven, though, because I knew who had worn it in the past. Also, I have the same number when I play for Argentina.”
The £280,000-a-week star is conscious that he needs to improve performances to achieve his ultimate goal of a swift return to Champions League football, but given the quality he's shown for Argentine and Madrid over the last two seasons don't be surprised if United fans see a swift upturn in fortunes when their new talisman finds top form.
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