United poised to push summer spending to £140m with Di Maria
MANCHESTER UNITED were last night attempting to finalise the British record signing of Argentina winger Angel di Maria in a deal that would take the club’s summer spending close to the £140m mark.
The Old Trafford side are believed to have agreed a fee of £59.7m with European champions Real Madrid, with United keen to conclude the transfer in time for Di Maria to make his debut in Saturday’s Premier League clash at Burnley.
While Real president Florentino Perez appeared keen to drive a hard bargain and push the final figure beyond £70m, the transaction still smashes the £50m Chelsea paid Liverpool for Spanish international Fernando Torres in 2011.
Di Maria has 52 caps for his country and played his part as Argentina progressed to the World Cup final against Germany in July, scoring the winner in the last-16 clash with Switzerland before suffering injury in the quarter-final against Belgium and missing the remainder of the tournament
He also made a positive impact at Real after arriving from Benfica in 2010, trailing only compatriot Lionel Messi in terms of assists over the past four seasons, while scoring 36 goals in 190 appearances.
When United take to the pitch at Turf Moor at the weekend, Louis van Gaal could have the fifth most expensive player in world football at his disposal, breaking the monopoly of Spanish giants Real and Barcelona on the top five.
It took in excess of £80m to lure Bernabeu stars Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo to the Spanish capital and £63m to sign Colombia World Cup star James Rodriguez, while Barcelona had to splash out £75m to capture Liverpool forward Luis Suarez.
The signing of Di Maria will be the fifth time United have broken the record transfer fee paid in a deal involving a British club, with the 26-year-old following in the footsteps of Rio Ferdinand, Juan Sebastian Veron, Andy Cole, Bryan Robson and Scotland striker Denis Law.
Di Maria’s arrival will push United’s expenditure beyond £200m since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson but is unlikely to represent the end to Van Gaal’s summer spending spree by the time the transfer window shuts on Monday.
United, who have one point from their opening two league games following Sunday’s draw at Sunderland, have also been linked with a move for AC Milan’s ex-Manchester City midfielder Nigel de Jong and Ajax’s Daley Blind.
Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera, left-back Luke Shaw and Argentine centre-half Marcos Rojo have already joined the United ranks this summer as Van Gaal bids to restore the club’s place among English football’s elite.
TOP TRANSFER DEALS
World’s biggest transfer fees
1. Gareth Bale – Real Madrid £86m
2. Cristiano Ronaldo – R Madrid £80m
3. Luis Suarez – Barcelona £75m
4. James Rodriguez – R. Madrid £63m
5. Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Barcelona £59m
6. Kaka – R Madrid £56m
Biggest fees pid by British clubs
1. Fernando Torres – Chelsea £50m
2. Carlos Tevez – Man City £47m
3. Sergio Aguero – Man City £38m
4. Andy Carroll – Liverpool £35m
5. Fernandinho – Man City £34m
6. Robinho – Man City £32m
= Eden Hazard – Chelsea £32m