According to Ian Ladyman of the Daily Mail, United are prepared spend up to £100 million to bring the Argentinian to Old Trafford, with £50 million covering his transfer fee and the other half covering a £200,000-a-week salary on a five-year deal.
Such an impending offer is indicative of Louis van Gaal's and executive vice chairman Ed Woodward's desperate need for world-class reinforcements, but it's also an offer—should it be officially made—that Real Madrid should accept, providing Di Maria is willing to head to north west England.
Consider this: How often can an elite European club sell a dissatisfied star for a massive sum without strengthening a rival?
Typically, when you're operating at the top end of the transfer market, only heavyweights possess the resources to complete a deal. Whether that outfit be in the same domestic league or are possible opponents in the Champions League, it's extremely difficult to sell elite talent without running the risk of bolstering a rival's armoury.
That's why the current situation is unique.
Amid Manchester United's ongoing struggles, European football has a scenario where one of the sport's biggest, most influential and financially powerful clubs is missing from the continent's brightest stage—the Champions League.
And despite Van Gaal's tactical brilliance, United face an arduous task to qualify for next season's edition, too.
Real Madrid, therefore, are in a position in which Di Maria could be sold for an exorbitant fee to a club that won't compete with Los Blancos in any competition for the next 12 months—and possibly more.
The only stumbling block, of course, is whether the Argentine is prepared to step away from the Champions League for that period.
For Real Madrid, it can't be said that Di Maria wouldn't be missed. He certainly would be.
With unrivalled running power, a relentless work rate and a demonstrated willingness to put his ego aside to accommodate others, the 26-year-old has been a vital component of Real's lineup.
Indeed, Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wilson succinctly explained why selling Di Maria could be a repeat of the Claude Makelele error from a decade ago.
While this very writer also lamented Los Blancos' purchases of James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos—and what their arrivals meant for Di Maria—those deals have now been done; president Florentino Perez has put the European champions in this position.
To justify those investments, Carlo Ancelotti simply has no choice but to integrate £83 million of new midfield talent into his XI.
Jeopardising the starting roles of Di Maria, Sami Khedira and others is just the natural extension of that.
Ancelotti will also be aware of the unwinnable battle he faces in trying to satisfy his eight elite midfield options if he has to juggle playing time.
As I explained in Sunday's column, such a scenario can only be detrimental for Real Madrid:
Yet that victory over Sevilla perfectly encapsulated the midfield issue facing Ancelotti: eight doesn't go into three.
Star players expect game time. Star players expect to start. Star players want to be stars.
Only disruption can come from unhappy players who believe their careers are stalling. After taking time to fully click last season with Gareth Bale's arrival, the last thing Real Madrid want is to endure the same chemistry and cohesion problems that surfaced during the club's last Galactico era in 2003-04.
Unsatisfied stars don't help anyone, leading to the sort of rifts that characterise misfiring teams.
Having also watched the time needed for Xabi Alonso and Luka Modric to gel last term, Los Blancos' boss will understand that the development of Rodriguez and Kroos will only be hindered if he's forced into consistent rotation of his midfield trio, that only regular minutes and roles will benefit his new stars.
None of this would be a problem, of course, if Perez and Real Madrid had been able to resist the allure of completing blockbuster, but ultimately unnecessary, signings.
However, it's pointless arguing the merit of those additions now; Ancelotti and his players must adapt to prevent their club's lavish habits from interfering with success.
While lamentable, selling Di Maria appears to be part of that adaption process. But selling him for a massive fee to a club that can't hurt Real Madrid might, at least, dampen the blow.
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