Manchester United in advanced talks to sign Angel di Maria

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Manchester United are in advanced talks with Real Madrid to sign Angel di Maria and have finally decided to bite the bullet on a club-record deal that could cost £60 million, a whopping figure which would also exceed any transfer fee previously paid for a single player by a Premier League club.

Di Maria has made it very clear to Real Madrid that he is desperate to force through a move before the transfer window slams shut, with his formal transfer request enough to persuade United that it was worth re-opening talks over a stunning deal on Thursday evening.

The Telegraph believes that United won't stop there and have set their sights on three signings in the next 10 days, with Shakhtar Donestk playmaker Douglas Costa also identified as a cost-effective alternative to Di Maria if the long-awaited deal hits a late snag.

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United refuse to comment but deal now in the works

Red Devils chiefs have decided not to comment publicly on tonight's developments but behind the scenes they plan to be very busy over the next 48 hours, which means attempting to find a compromise with Di Maria and his representatives over personal terms.

All the signs are though that United have been given the green light to complete one of the most sensational transfers in their history, with Paris Saint-Germain ending their interest and Madrid now willing to talk terms over selling a versatile midfield star that has shone for club and country at the highest level over the last 12 months.

Costa would prove less costly?

Plan B for United manager Louis van Gaal is a loan deal for Costa, who despite a lofty £40m price tag is also a target for AC Milan, as political unrest continues to hurt Shakhtar's chances of keeping their best South American players.

Costa would most likely be available on a season-long loan deal and has Champions League experience including an appearance at Old Trafford under his belt, but you can hardly blame United fans for hoping the Glazer family make a massive statement and finally spend big on a genuine world-class superstar if the opportunity is there.

Who else could arrive?

While the chase for Di Maria will get the headlines its clear that United also need at least one more defensive addition to spearhead their charge for Champions League qualification.

Roma's central defensive linchpin Mehdi Benatia tops that shortlist but would only be available at a premium £30m price.

Ajax captain Daley Blind is also on Van Gaal's shortlist, but with plenty of under-performing stars still on United's wagebill you can expect the next week or so to be full of comings and goings in dramatic end to a long summer at the Theatre of Dreams.

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