Diego Forlan says Manchester United will regret it if they sell Angel di Maria this summer and urged his former club to give the £59.7 million signing from Real Madrid another chance to prove his class next season.
The Uruguayan forward - who now plays in Asia for Japanese outfit Cerezo Osaka - reckons the 27-year-old will be a much improved player during his second campaign in the Premier League and justify the club-record fee paid to bring him to Old Trafford.
Di Maria has impressed for Argentina at the Copa America in Chile this summer and appears unrecognisable to the man that struggled so badly at the Theatre of Dreams last term, and Forlan feels that Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal has to take some of the blame for not getting the best out of the South American.
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"I thought he was a superb signing for United because he is one of the best players in the world, but I was slightly surprised, too," he wrote in his National column as quoted by the Daily Mirror.
"Louis van Gaal has never been a fan of South American players, as my good friend Juan Roman Riquelme will tell you from his time under the Dutchman at Barcelona.
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"Van Gaal also had a habit of letting his South Americans leave when he was at Bayern Munich, yet United signed both Di Maria and Radamel Falcao, the Colombia striker, on huge money last summer.
"Players are not robots and if there's something wrong then their coaches need to find out what the problem is. Di Maria is worth the effort. He offers something different from almost every other player."
With two goals and an assist in this week's emphatic 6-1 victory over Paraguay to help Tata Martino's side book their place in the Copa America final against the tournament hosts on Saturday, it's easy to see why Forlan speaks so highly of Di Maria and also the reason for his warning to Manchester United.
"Real Madrid really missed his driving runs last season," he added. "He is quick, he makes assists and he can also do the hardest thing in football — beat a player one-on-one.
"United will regret it if he leaves. He should be given another season to prove himself and United should try to understand him better and trust him.
"Great coaches and great players don't always get on and not every player fits into rigid systems, but Di Maria is worth persisting with."
After starting all five games and contributing three assists in the competition all eyes will be on Di Maria tomorrow when he attempts to help his country secure another major trophy.
Manchester United supporters will be hoping he can carry the kind of form that he's shown during the off-season into the 2015/16 campaign and Van Gaal heeds Forlan's advice and stands by the wide-man for 12 more months at least.
Manchester United fans: Do you think Angel di Maria deserves another chance at Old Trafford? Or would you be happy to see him sold in the transfer window? Have your say below…