Since the season concluded, there have been constant rumours linking Angel Di Maria with a summer exit to either Paris St Germain or Bayern Munich. Statistically analysing the Argentinian’s season, John Murphy explains why The Red Devils should cut their losses and get a solid return on their misfiring super star.
When Manchester United completed the late signings of Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao at the beginning of the season, there was a feeling that the Old Trafford giants would not only surge back into the top four, they would compete for the title.
They fell well short and should look to their two block buster names for explanations.
Falcao flopped from the offset and few could argue that Louis van Gaal made the wrong decision in sending the Colombian striker back to France. However, despite a strong start from the Argentinian winger, when one takes into consideration the record breaking price tag paid for his services, Di Maria has been almost as disappointing.
The former Real Madrid man had left the Bernabeu to the disgust of the Real Madrid faithful. He had been exceptional in the season prior to such an extent that he was awarded man of the match in the very game that saw Los Blancos claim their highly coveted ‘Decima’. For United supporters, they had signed one of the best players in the world.
Only that’s not what they saw on the pitch. Or rather, that’s not what he gave them.
Di Maria undoubtedly had flashes of brilliance as the season began, with his effort against Leicester arguably Manchester United’s goal of the season. However, in defining a truly ‘world class’ player, a player that merits the highest fee ever paid in Premier League history, one need only look to one attribute.
Consistency. To be a truly world beating footballer, one has to not only be brilliant, they have to be consistently so. Angel Di Maria is not.
Today, Paul Scholes wrote in The Independent that “for £59.7m, the hope was that he would give United much more.” As it transpired, the Argentinian gave less than former United scapegoat Ashley Young.
Next season, on the left wing, United will have to choose between Young, Depay, Mata and Di Maria. Using Squawka’s comparison matrix to analyse the four options, Di Maria comes out with the lowest overall score. The former Madrid man scored just 3 goals in the league this season. Mata, in comparison, scored 9, while Depay finished with a whooping 22. Ashley Young scored one less with 2 goals to his name, however in almost every other category the Englishman comes out ahead.
Depay’s goal scoring stats may indeed be deceiving as he was playing in a far weaker league but when you consider United’s philosophy of believing in youth, surely the young superstar should be given plenty of opportunity to prove himself at Old Trafford. After all, one Cristiano Ronaldo didn’t exactly set the world alight during his first season at The Theatre of Dreams yet United stuck with him… historically, a terrible decision.
Statistics released in February revealed that United had a higher net spend over the past six seasons than any other team in the Premier League. When one considers the money fueled reputations of Manchester City and Chelsea, the stat was a damning one for United.
Chelsea have in recent years performed a master class in the transfer market. Selling smartly, the London side have become comparable to Arsene Wenger when it comes to maximising fees for top players who are surplus to requirements.
At present, consistent reports suggest that if United were to sell this summer, they could receive a fee equal to the sum that was paid to Real Madrid for his services.
Given the cover that United have in Di Maria’s position, given his performances this season, given United’s absurd net spend figure… all signs suggest that The Red Devils should pounce at the opportunity that is currently on their doorstep and sell, sell, sell.
It’s been forgetful Angel. So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen and goodbye.