Balague: Real will miss Di Maria

Guillem Balague says Angel Di Maria's hefty fee is "a necessary evil" for Manchester United - and he reckons Real Madrid will miss the Argentinian.

Last Updated: 25/08/14 at 14:53 Post Comment

Angel Di Maria: Set to join Manchester United

Angel Di Maria: Set to join Manchester United

It was Balague that first broke the news of Di Maria's impending move to Old Trafford on Saturday, and now Sky Sports' Spanish football expert has given his verdict on what United will be getting and Real will be losing once the 26-year-old's transfer is finalised.

Balague told Sky Sports: "Angel di Maria's €80million transfer fee is divided between €75m fixed price and €5m add-ons, or £63.9million pounds -  a record both for the Premier League and as a sale for Real Madrid.

"It's good business and a necessary evil for Manchester United. 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.

"In terms of what Real will miss, stats wise in the last four years Lionel Messi has been number one for assists in Spain, Di Maria second and Mesut Ozil third. Di Maria has scored 36 goals in his time with Real Madrid and created 72 assists in 190 games.

"Last year he topped the assist table in La Liga but that doesn't give the whole picture. You only need to read the tweet from Xabi Alonso to understand what Real Madrid are going to miss. He says: 'Thanks for everything Fideo', or noodle - they call him that because he's very thin, 'we will never forget the zigzag in Lisbon' - meaning of course his run for Gareth Bale's goal in the Champions League final. 

"With Di Maria you get a natural forward but when Gareth Bale was signed he had to reinvent himself and of course, Bale comes in and he earns more than him. In fact, between the midfielders and forwards he's earning the least out of the regular starters – only €3.3million. His wife said he never asked for €8million but obviously he wanted a new contract and didn't get a proper offer from Real Madrid.

"With Bale's arrival at the Santiago Bernabéu he had to convert in to a midfielder and he added something to Real Madrid that they haven’t got at the moment. They've got very good positional midfielders but he was the only one that who could break the lines of pressure from midfield and could jump from being a midfielder to being a forward. And he can be dangerous in the process scoring goals from midfield too.

"Real Madrid haven't got that now and I'm not sure how they're going to sort it out. Di Maria adds extra pace and intensity with and without the ball and certainly worked coming on from the bench, but he didn't want to do that role anymore.

"Di Maria will be a very useful addition to Manchester United. 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. 

"Yes, the price is expensive, but Manchester United are playing with a handicap or two. This a new project for Van Gaal and they finished seventh in the league last season and didn't qualify Europe. Bringing in Di Maria is certainly sign of intent. 

"Cristiano Ronaldo has played a huge part in the deal. He's told his Real Madrid team-mate that United is the place to go, that the club will get back to winning ways and that there's plenty of money available. Di Maria needed convincing, and Cristiano Ronaldo helped out to make himself even more of a hero at Old Trafford."

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