Month: March 2015

How do you solve a problem like Di Maria? Manchester United’s Argie Bargy

Angel Di Maria is again the target for flush French club Paris Saint-Germain, the side that missed out on the Argentine just last summer. After a disappointing debut season in England, should Manchester United dismiss Di Maria?

Numerous reports today suggest that PSG would be willing to splash the £59.7 million that United paid for Di Maria back in August (which broke the British transfer record in the process).

It would not be unfair to suggest that he has been a let down since his arrival, contributing just nine assists and three goals in the Premier League since arriving at Old Trafford.

Only PSG’s financial frustrations prevented the winger signing the dotted line at the Parc des Princes eight months ago, with UEFA implementing a spending restriction on the club after they breached Financial Fair Play regulations.

Di Maria told French broadcaster Telefoot in November that “PSG, I think they had a money problem and they couldn’t buy players, this is the main reason I didn’t go there”.

Real Madrid cast him aside in favour of the more marketable and star of the-then recently finished World Cup James Rodriguez as well as Gareth Bale who was signed for a world record £80 million from Tottenham the previous summer.

Right from the start, life in England seemed like hell for United’s Angel.

In an open letter to the Madridstas (Real Madrid fanbase) after leaving, the unwanted man admitted he never wanted to say sayonara to Santiago Bernabeu.

“Unfortunately, I have to go but I want to make clear that this was never my desire.

“I went to the World Cup with the hope of receiving a gesture from the board, which never arrived. Many things and many lies were told. Someone may not like me. The only thing I asked for was something fair. There are many things that I value and many of them have nothing to do with my salary.”

Big heart, but shown no love: "broken promises" led to Real Madrid binning Di Maria.

Big heart, but shown no love: “broken promises” led to Real Madrid binning Di Maria

Now United could too sell to recoup their transfer fee for a player who has not produced the sort of world class performances that were displayed during Real Madrid’s run to La Decima (a 10th Champions League triumph) just the season before.

The decision Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal faces, however, is one of does Di Maria want to be here, or is he just struggling to settle?

Van Gaal defended his stellar signing pre FA Cup defeat to Arsenal, noting “we are all human beings and we all have bad days.

“When you bring players into a team from a number of different countries it always takes time for them to settle both personally and with their family but also on the pitch as part of the team,” he wrote in his programme notes.

“Away from the football you have to adapt to a new culture that you are living in, while on the field you have to learn the new rhythm of the game, which is very high in the Premier League and very different to any other league, plus the competition is also very high”, Van Gaal continued.

“We are all human beings and we all have bad days but I am very pleased with the players we have here. They are improving all the time and I don’t think it will be very long before we see the team competing as a unit.”

Off-the-field issues are beyond simply missing home, though. Di Maria has had his house raided and his wife is rumoured to have recently relocated back to Spain.

Paris Potential: Could PSG be saying "Halo" to Angel this summer?

Paris Potential: Could PSG be saying “Halo” to Angel this summer?

If Di Maria’s debacle is simply down to cultural differences, and these are overcome, then United have the player on their hands that has won domestic and continental honours, but this is a conclusion that needs to be drawn between now and August.

If not, United may not get the required transfer fee and end up selling what could have been a star asset for a cut-price deal next January.

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Patience is a Virtue: Radamel Falcao Needs Time at Manchester United

Radamel Falcao has had a rocky start to life in Manchester, but given time, he will become the man that many expected him to be back in August.

Expectations were high on the Colombia striker when he arrived at Old Trafford on Transfer Deadline Day for £6 million on a season-long loan deal and has only managed four goals in 16 league games.

United have not been their usual fluent best this season with the playing staff appearing nervous and trapped under a rigid system by manager Louis van Gaal – a coach famous for his abrasive nature but decorative trophy haul.

Falcao is no exception to this, with the aforementioned poor goal return. but there is enough reason behind that.

A serious knee injury was suffered on January 23 2014, which ruled him out of the rest of the season and the World Cup in the summer – his return was confirmed in mid July – six months out in total.

Goals soon came in pre-season, and at the beginning of Monaco’s Ligue 1 season (two in three matches, one of which a penalty), but they have dried up since his arrival in England.

Although he looked fit and firing in France, coming into one of, if not the, most physical league in the world cannot be easy for someone who has faced that long on the side lines.

The class of the Colombian has came in glimpses, his first for the Red Devils was a crucial winner in the 2-1 win over Everton, as well as goals in 1-1 draws against Aston Villa and Stoke City.

If he can finally lose the shackles of a serious injury, adjust to the Premier League, and break free of Van Gaal’s regimented tactics – we could see the rebirth of one of the finest goal scorers in the modern game.