Sunday 2 August 2015

Manchester United agree to sell Di Maria to PSG for £44.3m

Ángel Di María is on the brink of completing a £44.3m move to Paris Saint-Germain after Manchester United opted to cut their losses on the Argentina winger. The 27-year-old was due to arrive in Doha from South America on Sunday for talks with PSG officials before a medical in Qatar, where the French club’s owners are based.

Providing all proceeds as smoothly as expected, Di María, who can also operate in a more central attacking midfield capacity, will close a disappointing chapter in his career by flying on to Paris and signing for the French champions, possibly as early as Monday night.

It is only a year since he arrived at Old Trafford from Real Madrid for a British record £59.7m fee but, after a promising start to life with Louis van Gaal’s team, his form deserted him and a player increasingly resembling an extremely expensive misfit started only one of United’s final 10 games of last season. After helping Real Madrid win the Champions League in 2014 it represented quite a come down.

Van Gaal hopes to replace Di María quickly, and preferably with Pedro, the Barcelona forward who became disillusioned with life on the substitutes’ bench at Camp Nou last term. Should Pedro complete this mooted switch, it is hoped he will enjoy the city more than Di María, whose game seemed badly affected by an attempted burglary at his former home in Cheshire in January.

Despite subsequently moving to a city centre apartment, the winger and his family never seemed to settle properly in the north-west and, after initial protestations to the contrary, it became clear that a move to Paris held considerable appeal. A reported £170,000-a-week post-tax salary on offer in France hardly diminished the switch’s attraction.

After representing Argentina in the Copa América in Chile this summer, Di María had been scheduled to join up with Van Gaal’s squad as United began the second leg of their pre-season tour of the United States late last month. When he failed to appear and Van Gaal acknowledged “I don’t know where he is” an imminent exit seemed inevitable.

Then, in the wake of United’s 2-0 defeat to PSG in Chicago last Thursday, Laurent Blanc revealed the two clubs were close to agreeing a deal for the one time Benfica creator. “Manchester United and PSG are two big clubs and negotiations can be difficult but we are close to the end,” the PSG coach said.

Credit: Louise Taylor/Guardian Sport

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