Football

Jermaine Jenas compares Angel di Maria to Mesut Ozil

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BBC pundit Jermaine Jenas has compared Manchester United's struggling record signing Angel di Maria to Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil.

Jenas, who is currently unattached after leaving Queens Park Rangers last summer, feels Di Maria - who was substituted after 59 minutes during United's 1-0 win over Newcastle on Wednesday night - must work on improving his body strength in order to become a success in the Premier League.

The Argentina international has failed to produce his best form on a consistent basis since completing his £59.7 million move from Real Madrid, leading to speculation that he could leave Old Trafford as early as this summer.

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Jenas: Di Maria must improve his strength

But Jenas believes the lightweight Di Maria must take a leaf out of his former teammate Ozil's book by bulking up.

"Angel Di Maria is obviously struggling at the moment," the former England international said on BBC Five Live. "He reminds me of Mesut Ozil at Arsenal, starting like a house on fire and then going downhill. He needs to work on his body strength. That's just what Ozil has done."

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Ozil has also struggled in the Premier League

Whether Ozil is the best point of reference for Di Maria, however, is debatable.

The German playmaker has also struggled to produce his best form since completing his £42.4 million move from Real Madrid in the summer of 2013, although his performances have picked up since returning from injury and he was even named as the club's player of the month for February.

Perhaps Ozil is finally finding his feet in the Premier League, although his recent performance against AS Monaco in the Champions League last 16 certainly left a lot to be desired.

United must keep Di Maria

Like Ozil, Di Maria possesses the quality to turn his current situation around. The South American, who was named Man of the Match in last season's Champions League final, showed during his first few weeks as a Manchester United player that he is blessed with extraordinary star talent.

But his form dipped over the winter months - with injuries also hampering his progress - while off-field issues also appear to have taken their toll on the most expensive signing in British football history.

Di Maria is still residing with his wife and child in a Manchester hotel following a burglary attempt at their Cheshire home in January.

It's down to United boss Louis van Gaal to get the best out of Di Maria. This is a world-class player who can cut it in English football, despite what his recent performances might suggest.

Selling him this summer - regardless of the price - simply isn't an option.

Should Manchester United sell Di Maria at the end of the season? Have your say in the comments below!

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Real Madrid
Arsenal
Manchester United

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