Angel di Maria has been an expensive player for Manchester United in more ways than one. He cost more than any other player in the club’s history when he arrived for £59.7m last summer.
And he was expensive on the pitch where he gave the ball away more times than we care to remember.
We felt at the time that he was overpriced. But, here’s the shocker. Despite having a dreadful season at the club, by his standards, we now feel positive that the club should hold on to him.
Di Maria’s form has been really bad. His confidence has waned and, with it, his quality has become deeply hidden beneath the surface. There was a definite sense, in the second half of the season, that he was trying too hard to impress.
Every time he came off the bench he tried to take on every player in the opposition team, when a simple pass would have got Manchester United on their way.
He ceded possession constantly and was obviously affected by the attempted burglary at his house soon after the joined the club – until then he looked like United’s best player.
But whereas a player like Ashley Young will never be good enough for a team challenging for a Champions League title, Di Maria most certainly is.
Even at his very best Young couldn’t get into Bayern Munchen, Real Madrid or Barcelona. But, on his best form, Di Maria could. He’s exactly the sort of player that Manchester United needs going forward. And, working on the basis that form is temporary but class permanent, we should see a completely different Di Maria next season – if he stays.
For us, the idea of Di Maria and Depay playing either side of Rooney in a 4-3-3 – or a 4-2-3-1 with Di Maria, Depay and one other causing havoc in behind the Englishman – is exactly where United need to be.
Let Di Maria play himself back into form and Manchester United fans will soon see what all the hype is about. Because the goal against Leicester wasn’t a fluke.
FINAL WORD: KEEP all day long