Manchester United’s record signing Angel Di Maria has continued his rich vein of form as the Argentine scored one and provided an assist in United’s 2-1 victory over Everton in the Premier League.
The 26-year-old is fast establishing himself as one of the best foreign imports the country has ever seen.
Deemed as a panic buy for United by many fans across the world, the pacey winger’s stats read – five games, three goals and three assists.
This has certainly succeeded in creating a bit of a ‘panic’ in the minds of rival fans. An earlier report by The Football Observatory suggested that United had overpaid for the former Real man by a whopping £23.9m.
Did they really? In an era where mediocre players are sold at over-inflated prices, did United really paid over the odds for a genuinely world-class player in Di Maria? No.
We also have to take United’s incapability of providing Champions League football for a year into account. And when you see Real Madrid paying £63million & £85million for James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale respectively, two players who had little to no experience in Europe’s premier cup competition prior to their moves, justifying Di Maria’s big money transfer to United is hardly a Herculean task.
We are talking about a player who topped the assists charts in La Liga and played a significant role in Real Madrid’s La Decima success.
Most foreign acquisitions take time to settle and adapt in a new country. There’s a transitional period involved where new players try their best to acclimatize themselves with their new surroundings. But if this is the said ‘transitional period’ for Di Maria, imagine what he would be capable of once he properly settles in.
The Argentine produced another fine display against Everton as he scored from a beautiful curling shot after picking up the ball laid off by Juan Mata, who was starting the game in the absence of captain Wayne Rooney.
Di Maria’s second major contribution to the game was when he miscued a shot from outside the d-box but the ball fell in the path of another one of United’s summer signings, Colombian striker Radamel Falcao, who opened his United account with a fantastic predatory finish. Even his miscued shots are leading to goals and assists. That’s how brilliant he has been so far in the red of Manchester.
Former Everton, Barcelona and Tottenham striker and England legend Gary Lineker was quick to offer his opinion on Di Maria’s rising reputation in England.
Lineker knows his onions
“Most foreign players take time to adapt to Premier League football, but if Di Maria is still adapting then heaven help his future opponents,” he tweeted.
Goalkeeper David de Gea though, stole the limelight in the game against Everton after producing three genuinely world-class saves. The Spaniard also became the first goalkeeper in Premier League history to save a penalty off Everton and England left-back Leighton Baines.
Di Maria was once sold for 35 footballs back home in Argentina. Now he is the shining light of Manchester United’s revamped attacking style of play full of vivacity and panache.
He has single handedly managed to bring that aura of exuberance around Old Trafford and injected the much needed urgency and flair to United’s attack. Something that was perspicuously missing last season.
Every time he got the ball, the crowd seemed to be filled with exultation. Firing in crosses from all angles, going for the jugular from distance, providing defence splitting through balls, the Old Trafford faithful are finally witnessing one of their own capable of the seemingly impossible.
The kind of player they have sorely missed since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid back in 2009. Isn’t this what football is all about? Watching players lift you up? Making you cling on to the edge of your seats so hard that even the shuffling of your pants echoes throughout the stadium?
“When you give assists and also you score goals, what can you ask more of a player?”, said manager Louis Van Gaal, the man responsible for bringing the magical Argentinean to Manchester.
“But of course we have to improve in a lot of things and also Di Maria has to improve. When you do that every week – and he does that every week – then we have to be very pleased with him,” he added.
The word ‘improvement’ has been the Dutchman’s motif so far in his United career. And you can hardly dispute the fact that the former Madrid man’s addition to United’s attack has been a glaring augmentation to last season’s.