Manchester United's reported pursuit of Real Madrid's Angel Di Maria threatens to become one of the summer transfer window's longest-running sagas. Although still in the developing stage, numerous publications suggest the Red Devils and Paris Saint-Germain are set to battle it out for the Argentinian's signature.
Di Maria had posted a poor World Cup with the Albiceleste before succumbing to injury ahead of the nation's semi-final showdown with the Netherlands on Wednesday night, but that hasn't stopped Louis van Gaal from reportedly preparing a bid of up to £47 million—a sum that wouldn't be enough, as reported by Anthony Chapman of the Daily Express:
Madrid are adamant that Di Maria will not be exiting La Liga for anything less than £56million, and Van Gaal will have to decide whether to agree with the new demands or focus on landing other targets.
Jamie Jackson of The Guardian believes a bid in the region of £45 million will land Di Maria due to Madrid's interest in signing Monaco and Colombia star James Rodriguez.
Sky Italia (via Miguel Angel Lara of Marca) suggests PSG have placed an offer of €60 million (approximately £47.7 million) on the table for Di Maria's services.
The French side would undoubtedly have to offload players if such a deal was struck, having already endured punishment from UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules and after buying David Luiz for £50 million this summer, per Sky Sports.
Juan Cuadrado can be considered an alternate option to Di Maria for United, as reported by Paul Handler of the Manchester Evening News. The Fiorentina winger captured the attention of many with his excellent performances for Colombia at the World Cup but told Radio Blu Toscana that he isn't in a hurry to secure a deal away from Serie A (h/t Enrico Passarella of GianlucaDiMarzio.com):
As for now, I haven't received any concrete offer from any club, those are only rumours on the press. I'm not in a hurry to decide my future, we'll see what will happen. I'm serene. Wherever I'll go, I'll try to play as I have always done.
United's hunt for world-class players continues to spread far and wide. Former assistant manager Rene Meulensteen admits the club looked at signing Arjen Robben during his time at the club with Sir Alex Ferguson. He believes Van Gaal may be interested in the flying Dutch winger, as told to talkSPORT:
I'm sure Van Gaal would love to take Arjen Robben to Manchester United. That's not a surprise. When I was at Manchester United, we looked at that possibility for a few years, but then he signed for Bayern Munich. He's been happy ever since and had a lot of success there.
Van Gaal arguably needs to improve all areas of his squad, but most noticeably, he must reinforce United's defence after Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand called time on their Old Trafford careers.
Mats Hummels is the perfect replacement for one of the aforementioned stars. Jackson believes a concrete bid may be enough to capture the German centre-back, saying, if Borussia Dortmund "were to accept an offer from United the defender would be open to the move."
It is likely to be a summer of many links for United. The rebuild will undoubtedly take place across the next few transfer windows, but Van Gaal can significantly improve his squad by securing world-class talent in the coming weeks. The signings of Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw represent a good start, but plenty more is needed.
Di Maria, Cuadrado and Hummels could all make an instant impact at the Theatre of Dreams.
Van Gaal is known for deploying physicality at the back and pace upfront, so they would certainly fit the Dutchman's blueprint. While United are destined to be linked with a plethora of top players across pre-season, Van Gaal is sure to purchase a mixture of developing youngsters and world-renowned names to kickstart the struggling club.