Angel exits cold Trafford

Angel di Maria, who moved to Manchester United from Real Madrid 12 months ago for a record sum, reportedly never saw eye to eye with manager Louis van Gaal.
Angel di Maria, who moved to Manchester United from Real Madrid 12 months ago for a record sum, reportedly never saw eye to eye with manager Louis van Gaal.PHOTO: ACTION IMAGES

PSG agree transfer terms for $94.5m as winger becomes 4th big name to leave

CHICAGO • Manchester United have written off Angel di Maria as an expensive mistake, with Paris Saint-Germain on the verge of signing the Argentina winger for £44.1 million (S$94.5 million).

PSG finally reached agreement with United during talks in the French capital on Wednesday.

A deal for di Maria is likely to be announced early next week, only 12 months after the player's British-record £59.7 million move from Real Madrid.

Di Maria becomes the fourth high-profile departure of the summer at Old Trafford after the exits of Robin van Persie, Radamel Falcao and Luis Nani.

United - whose squad arrived back in Manchester on Thursday from their pre-season tour of the United States - have lined up a £22.8 million deal for Barcelona winger Pedro on a four-year contract as a replacement for di Maria. But Louis van Gaal's problems are deepening on the eve of the new Premier League season.

Having been unable to sign a striker to ease the scoring burden on Wayne Rooney, or a central defender following Real's reluctance to sell Sergio Ramos, the United manager also has pressing problems to deal with in the goalkeeping department.

There are concerns that David de Gea's desire to join Real is affecting his focus.

The Spaniard produced an error-strewn display in the 2-0 defeat by PSG in Chicago on Thursday. Van Gaal admitted that the speculation about de Gea was "not favourable" for the goalkeeper or the Red Devils.

In addition to the £11.96 million that di Maria cost United in wages, the deal with PSG represents a headline £15.6 million loss on the initial fee the club paid Real.

Sources at Old Trafford have claimed that the hit would not be that great given the euro's depreciation. The club also do not have to pay certain performance-related payments and bonuses.

Nonetheless, it is thought that United had agreed on signing di Maria to compensate Real for £3.2 million of Fifa-related solidarity payments to the player's former clubs, which increased the size of the fee.

Di Maria did not see eye to eye with van Gaal and although the Dutchman encouraged the player to give it another season, relations soured in the final months, with repeated substitute selections.

Di Maria subsequently failed to board a planned flight from Buenos Aires to join United's squad in the US on Saturday. Van Gaal still claimed that he was unaware of the player's whereabouts on Thursday as the saga turned ugly.

Van Gaal said it was imperative that all players, including di Maria, bought into his philosophy.

But despite a blistering start, the winger seldom looked comfortable in the manager's systems.

The loss of di Maria , van Persie, Falcao and Nani has removed in excess of £42 million from the club's annual wage bill.

Still, with the continuing uncertainty over de Gea and van Gaal battling to sign both a pedigree forward and a formidable centre-half, United are facing an anxious final few weeks of the transfer window.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2015, with the headline 'ANGEL EXITS COLD TRAFFORD'. Print Edition | Subscribe