Sky Sports pundit Guillem Balague believes that Angel Di Maria’s imminent arrival at Old Trafford can encourage other stars to join the club.
Di Maria is set to join United in a big-money transfer in the very near future – as he flies in to take a medical today – and the La Liga expert believes that his signing is a statement by the Red Devils.
“It’s good business and a necessary evil for Manchester United,” Balague said. “They need a player like Di Maria not only to improve the team and give that extra pace, but also because it’s their way of saying, ‘look, we’re not in Europe but this is the calibre of player we’re looking for’, and that might attract others to join.
“Manchester City did something similar in 2010. David Silva and Yaya Toure were signed when City weren’t in Europe as a step towards the title.”
The price United have paid for Di Maria – which has been reported to be as high as €90 million – has come under much scrutiny already, but there is an undoubted need for quality at Old Trafford.
Louis van Gaal’s side were expected to mount a challenge to reclaim their spot in the top four back after a poor campaign last season, but there has been very few signs of improvement.
The club are yet to win in the Premier League this season – after an opening day defeat to Swansea City and a 1-1 draw with Sunderland so far – and there are concerns that a repeat of last season’s seventh placed finish could be on the cards.
To arrest this slide, United have acted by bringing in Di Maria and Balague feels that his arrival should go some way to solving some of United’s current problems.
“Di Maria will be a very useful addition to Manchester United,” he wrote. “You can see that they need some extra pace in midfield, not just a winger, but somebody who understands when it’s time to keep the ball, pass the ball, or just break ranks and come from deep.”
One of the things United did well throughout pre-season – where they remained unbeaten – was to use their energy in midfield positions and play at a high tempo.
However, so far during the competitive season this has not been evident, with their play often looking lethargic.
Di Maria should be able to solve this due to his all-action approach and his ability to drive the team forward in possession.
He made 17 assists in La Liga last campaign and if he can repeat that tally in England then his expensive transfer could yet prove value for money.
Have United overpaid for Di Maria?