Name: Angel Di Maria

Country: Argentina

Club: Real Madrid

Age: 26

International Caps: 52

Position: Attacking Midfielder

According to the latest reports, new Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has identified Angel Di Maria as a potential transfer target. Several newspapers and websites have even gone so far as to suggest that the Red Devils are in “advanced talks” with Real Madrid over a deal. Having been forced off through injury in the victory over Belgium, the 26 year old has been ruled out of tonight’s semi final against Holland, although he may recover in time for Argentina’s next encounter.

In Mesut Ozil’s absence, Di Maria has risen to prominence and assumed the creative mantle at the Bernabeu. The Argentinian recorded a staggering seventeen assists in La Liga last season, the most of any player in the Spanish top flight and the highest total across Europe’s top five divisions.  The arrival of Gareth Bale last summer meant that many believed Di Maria’s place in Madrid’s starting eleven to be under serious threat. But in a side blessed with an extraordinary array of attacking talent, the attacking midfielder established himself as an integral component in Carlo Ancelotti’s Champions League winning side.

The first signing made by Jose Mourinho in his time at the Bernabeu, Di Maria’s early years in the Spanish capital were dogged by inconsistency. The 26 year old frequently delivered impressive scoring and creative streaks, only to then disappear from the limelight for months at a time. According to Marca, the “Special One” once lashed out at his signing, saying “you’re not playing at all.”

However, Di Maria’s form this season would suggest that the attacking midfielder has finally found an impressive level of consistency. With Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo often deployed out wide, the Argentinian has evidently adapted his game to thrive in a central role. Predominantly a winger himself, the 26 year old is now capable of making surging runs forward from any starting position. The midfielder is a selfless performer that prefers to supply his team-mates rather than go for glory, a trait that would likely endear him to Robin van Persie at Old Trafford.

Having been named the Man of the Match in the Champions League football, Di Maria has seemingly cemented his status as one of world football’s elite stars. Even with the likes of Shinji Kagawa, Juan Mata and Wayne Rooney already at the club, United fans are very keen for van Gaal to secure the 26 year old’s signature.

The Argentinian would certainly provide the Dutchman with a selection headache. However, if the Spanish giants really are touting Di Maria around to potential suitors in order to accommodate James Rodriguez, United would be foolish to ignore the opportunity. Some reports have suggested that the fee may even be as high as £55 million.

But as it stands, there are not many better than the 26 year old in world football right now. Considering United’s form last season, the capture of Di Maria this summer would represent a stunning coup.

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