Sell him, is the short answer to that question and it looks like that is what Manchester United are going to do, with a string of reports in recent days claiming the club are in negotiations with PSG over a fee for the Argentinian after he failed to join up with the squad on the pre-season tour of America.
A move to PSG would suit Di Maria, the Parisians are backed by immense financial wealth and would have no problem giving him the huge salary a player of his stature demands. There would also be plenty of opportunities to pick up silverware with Ligue 1 being nowhere near as competitive as the Premier League. The weather in France is probably a touch nicer than Manchester too….
But the fact is, if he does go Di Maria will be remembered by United fans and indeed football fans all over the country as a huge talent who gave up when the going got tough, instead of stay and prove himself in a league where he is undoubtedly out of his comfort zone.
The Premier League isn’t La Liga as United’s number seven found out last season when he appeared to be brushed off the ball all too easily numerous times and became a peripheral figure in the big games.
Di Maria’s United career peaked with that beautiful lobbed goal in a 5-3 defeat to Leicester City last September and never reached the same heights again as he failed to justify his huge price tag or remotely resemble the player who was man of the match in the Champions League final just over a year ago.
There have been glimmers of hope such as scoring important goals against Everton in the League at Old Trafford and at Yeovil in the FA Cup but nowhere near enough for someone who has often been described as a ‘world-class’ player and who United paid nearly £60 million for last summer.
I spoke to former United winger Jules Maiorana in May and as well as prophesising that the 27 year-old would leave the club this summer he said this: “In big games top players like that should be able to turn the game on its head more often than not with a bit of magic. That’s what great players do, I think Di Maria on his day is superb but you don’t see it enough. I’ve always said that about him even when he was at Real Madrid or playing in the World Cup for Argentina.
“For him to begin to justify the fee they paid for him he needs to start playing with more consistency, I think he went to United for the money because he couldn’t get the move he wanted and could be on his way this summer.”
Hit the nail on the head. Indeed, it is rumoured that Di Maria did in fact prefer a move to PSG last summer before the French club ran into trouble with the financial fair play restrictions. Maybe he just saw his move to United as a stopgap before going where he wanted this summer.
Signing South American players can be somewhat problematic, many prefer to move to Spain where they already speak the language and where the weather is much better than the UK. The Cultural differences between Britain and the likes of Argentina are vast and can make it harder for the player to settle.
Agents and third parties can also complicate things, many of whom already own a stake in the player and you only have to look back a few years to the Carlos Tevez saga to see what a big problem this can be. This is a trap United need to be wary about falling into again, neither Falcao or Di Maria have been a success in their time at the club and maybe it’s now time to recruit players from elsewhere.
If United can get somewhere near the £45 million that was first reported for Di Maria they should take it and run for the hills. This wouldn’t represent too big a loss on a player who sealed his own fate by choosing not to board the flight to America and has been anonymous for the majority of his sole season at the club.
Di Maria should have given it another go and stuck it out for another season before deciding that Manchester United wasn’t for him. Instead he will be remember by United fans as a player who lacked the strength of character to succeed and go down alongside teammate Falcao as a player who promised so much but delivered so little.