Free spending French giants Paris-Saint Germain look set to add Manchester United winger Angel Di Maria to their squad in the very near future. The flying Argentine failed to settle at Old Trafford and seems ready to make the move across the Channel and sample life in the French capital. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has welcomed the move, suggesting the former Real Madrid midfielder’s stock hasn’t plummeted that much despite a disappointing year in England. Angel the Red Devil could take Paris to Champions League heaven it would seem.
On the face of it, selling your record signing after one year at a loss suggests the player has been a complete and utter flop. However, Di Maria has been plagued by niggling injuries and his family have not been able to get settled in England after they were burgled at the start of the year. It is hard to doubt his class after his stellar final season in Madrid, and a spectacular start to life at Old Trafford, though. The Parisians’ Qatari owners clearly see the value in the 2014 Champions League final Man of the Match, and are set to splash the cash to secure his services.
Much like the situation at Chelsea, the men in charge in Paris are hell bent on securing the top European prize for their club. After three consecutive domestic title wins, the European Cup has become the Holy Grail for Laurent Blanc’s men. Viewed mainly as a typical quarter final team, PSG undoubtedly have the class to hold their own against Europe’s elite – think Chelsea last year – but lack that extra something to win the cup outright.
Adding a player like Angel Di Maria will go a long way to rectifying that. The squad assembled since their takeover is top class, blending a mix of exciting younger internationals and world class talent. However, players like Ezequiel Lavezzi and Lucas Moura can be exposed when squaring up to the likes of Bayern Munich, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The impending arrival of Man United’s No.7 adds another layer of class to an otherwise stellar squad. The sight of him lining up alongside the maverick Swede Ibrahimovic is a lot more menacing, even for the best defences in the world.
Another potential team-mate in David Luiz praised Di Maria as he prepares for life in Paris, describing him as ‘one of the top three wingers in the world.’ The prospect of lining up with him clearly excites the Brazilian centre back: ‘Di Maria is a player who can help us go up another step.’
In fact, he is exactly the sort of player Manchester United are missing, funnily enough. Louis van Gaal earlier this week declared his intention to buy a game changer. ‘We at Manchester United have to compete with these clubs’, the Dutchman mused as he discussed the likes of Chelsea, Barcelona and Manchester City, ‘so we have to look also for those kind of players.’
The Argentina international is that kind of player. He’s a fast, technical winger who can conjure up something out of nothing. The Manchester United manager earlier this week lamented his lack of world class players, praising the ‘fantastic’ Ashley Young (who replaced Di Maria for much of last year), but adding ‘he is not Neymar.’
It is a great shame that Di Maria move never truly worked. If United are going to take on Europe’s big boys, a Di Maria on song lining up with the likes of Mata, Rooney and Schweinsteiger would no doubt add that extra quality.
Both PSG and Manchester United appear to be a step below Europe’s elite in their quest for the ultimate prize. Securing the services of an in-form Angel Di Maria may allow the latter to take that step, though.