At the time, Angel Di Maria’s move from Real Madrid to Manchester United in the summer of 2014 was the biggest in British football.
Reports suggested that the transfer fee involved was in the region of £59.7m, which was a record. And the way in which then United manager Louis van Gaal spoke about him, it was clear why the Red Devils splashed out big money on him.
Speaking after Di Maria’s deal was confirmed, he said: “There is no doubting his immense natural talent. He is a tremendously fast and incisive left-footed player who puts fear into the most accomplished defence. His dribbling skills and his ability to take on and beat opponents are a joy to watch. He is an excellent addition to the team.”
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Unfortunately for United, none of that was on show in the lone season that the Argentine spent with the club at Old Trafford.
Despite registering a very impressive twelve assists in 32 games, things really turned sour towards the second-half of the campaign. The winger started the season on fire with three goals and seven set-ups in the first 11 matches of the Premier League.
But after that, he scored just once more, whilst injuries also played its part in disrupting the rest of his campaign. As per Whoscored, his top-flight averages of 2.3 shots, 1.9 key passes and 1.7 dribbles per game are all significantly worse than what he is managing at PSG this season, even despite recently turning 32.
To compound United’s and Ed Woodward’s misery, the Argentine left Old Trafford just a season later, and at a much reduced cost than the amount they originally signed him for – £44.3m.
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His total of a measly four goals meant that Di Maria cost United an eye-watering £14.9m per goal, and certainly not the kind of record of someone who was brought in for a record transfer fee.
Selling him just after one year, and his performances not entirely being up to scratch, Woodward’s bold decision to sign Di Maria back-fired big time for the club.