Angel di Maria is an extremely talented player, a player who will bring pace, guile and skill to a Manchester United side currently devoid of all three. The Argentine created more chances for his team mates last year than Luis Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, James Rodriguez and Gareth Bale, yet there are still detractors queueing up to put a negative spin on the transfer. Some of these detractors are respected pundits while others are journalists using Di Maria to fill column inches. Fans are also voicing their opinions on the most expensive player in British football.
Instead of embracing the fact that one of the world’s best will soon be frequenting the Premier League, critics are concentrating on three main arguments against the transfer. The first focuses on describing Di Maria as a ‘panic buy’, and that United have been forced into action because of their poor start to the season. To describe the best player on the pitch in last season’s Champions League final as a ‘panic buy’ is a little misplaced to say the least.
Ed Woodward announcing United’s transfer budget to every man and his dog has made negotiating with other clubs increasingly difficult. As a result, lightning quick deals have become nigh on impossible. In addition, Di Maria himself has taken time to mull over what could be the last big move of his career. United have been monitoring Di Maria for some time as have others, most notably PSG, and when it became clear to Van Gaal just how much the squad needed improving, a deal for Di Maria was completed.
Just when does a transfer deal become a ‘panic buy’? Is there a set date close to the end of the window that triggers this description? Of course not. Players can have just as much impact over the course of a season whether they are signed on July 1st or August 31st, especially one of Di Maria’s stock. It remains to be seen whether this piece of business will still be described as a ‘panic buy’ come the end of the season.
The second argument, used a lot by fans of Manchester United, is that the wide positions aren’t a priority, and that the board should have used the resources to strengthen the defence and the midfield. Of course, reinforcements are required in these areas, but United also need match winners; the players that, when the rest of the team is struggling, can create a moment of magic to turn the game on its head.
It’s also a misconception that Di Maria is primarily a wide man. Indeed, Madrid fans would argue that he was at his potent best when bursting from deep centrally, rather than from the flanks. People are also stressing that Mata will make way to shoe-horn Di Maria into the side, while failing to remember that football today is not just a team game, but a squad game. It’s a necessity to have several options in each position, and Van Gaal will pick the side that he feels will have the most chance of success.
Finally of course, the cost of the transfer is being ridiculed, with reports suggesting that Paris Saint-Germain had a bid of around forty-five million pounds accepted just a few weeks prior to United’s bid being accepted. It is a ridiculous amount of money, but in a world where Andy Carroll commands a fee of thirty-five million, who’s to say that Di Maria isn’t worth sixty?
More to the point, instead of worrying where United’s transfer kitty is being splurged, focus should be placed on the ridiculous amounts of money being sucked from United’s profits to satisfy the soulless Glazer family.
So my advice to United, and football fans in general, is to stop worrying about the transfer fee. That’s the board’s job. Let Van Gaal lose sleep over Di Maria’s preferred position, and simply enjoy the sight of a world-class player plying his trade at Old Trafford.
I know I will.
This article was written by Ged Barnes.