Angel Di Maria’s arrival at Old Trafford from Real Madrid is a defining purchase in several ways. It’s a an assertion of Manchester United’s financial muscle. It’s a marquee signing that many will consider befitting a club of this status. It gives Louis van Gaal a player of extraordinary trickery, stamina and acceleration. And, at long last, it shows us what Ed Woodward meant weeks ago when he asked the world to “watch this space.”
Of everyone at Old Trafford, Woodward would’ve been under the most pressure to get this deal done. He’d assured supporters that United could break the world transfer record if necessary. The same supporters who watched as, much like last summer, the club closed impressive commercial deal after impressive commercial deal while failing to build on the very encouraging acquisitions of Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo.
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Di Maria is an outstanding buy by any measure. He’s been one of the leading assist providers in La Liga and the UEFA Champions League over the past few years. He was the man of the match in last season’s Champions League final. He represents, all told, an exciting gambit in Manchester United’s attempt to claw themselves back into an increasingly competitive Premier League top four.