Manchester United supporters were understandably beside themselves when it was announced their club had completed a British record deal worth £59.7 million for Real Madrid’s Angel di Maria last August.
This was a world star widely regarded as one of the best attacking players on the planet; the player named Man of the Match in the Champions League final just months earlier.
That the Argentina international enjoyed a fine start to his United career made the Red Devils faithful even more excited. He looked settled, happy, and ready to help fire Louis van Gaal’s side to a top-four finish - at the very least.
But nine months down the line and it’s no exaggeration to suggest 27-year-old has, overall, been a bitter disappointment.
He might have three Premier League goals and 12 assists to his name this term, but his overall influence has not met the high standards neither Van Gaal nor the club’s supporters would have expected.
Part of this has been down to off-field problems - including an attempted break-in at his Prestbury mansion earlier this year - while confidence and fitness issues have contributed to his poor performances on the pitch.
Ahead of United’s clash against West Brom this evening, Van Gaal has spoken out about the South American, and had several very interesting things to say.
To read the United manager’s comments - plus this morning’s other top stories from the world of football - click ‘BEGIN SLIDESHOW’ at the bottom of this page.
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