Cristiano Ronaldo has scored an excellent equaliser to spare Manchester United a third successive Premier League defeat as they drew 1-1 at home to…
A winger with pace, close control and the ability to dribble past defenders and cross. The scene at Manchester United has been barren for this type of player since Cristiano Ronaldo made his historic move to Madrid.
A number of attempts have been made to sign a winger of comparative effect, however the results have been comparatively fruitless.
Antonio Valencia was quick and direct but lacked finesse and accuracy of crossing, Ashley Young demonstrated glimpses of his ability to cut inside and shoot from distance but ultimately was not a consistent or reliable option.
Meanwhile Nani has been a peripheral figure, his frustrating tendency to destroy chances and the perception that he wasn’t contributing in a defensive respect influencing his gradual phasing out.
Adnan Januzaj, the baby-faced Belgian, was a player of promise in last season’s dire campaign and should feature heavily in this one, but a major coup that is set to be completed is the signature of Real Madrid’s lithe attacker Angel Di Maria.
Di Maria is an elite winger with rapid pace and a direct style. He was a vital cog of Madrid’s Champions League winning team and posed an ever-present threat during Argentina’s successful World Cup campaign. He is a player able to manipulate his body and his slim build helps in deviating past opponents.
Ideally, Di Maria functions best in a 4-3-3 system as the left-sided attacker, however it has been suggested that he could adopt a role as a wingback in Louis van Gaal’s system.
Di Maria certainly possess the speed to operate in that role but it would impede his attacking output and potentially expose his defensive deficiencies. He could effectively be positioned as one of the two forwards in a 5-3-2 as this would maximise his forward impetus, and he would have greater freedom to integrate himself into the game as he sees fit.
Di Maria evidently provides versatility, and at a purported 60 million pound price tag, it is hopeful that he will have the immediate effect that Manchester United desperately requires. With the acquisition of Marcos Rojo, the fiery wingback from Sporting Lisbon, Angel will be an impressive arrival to Old Trafford and will be aim to revitalise the somewhat static nature of Manchester United’s attack.
Van Gaal, however, should not only be satisfied with this signing as glaring gaps still exist in the centre of the midfield and the centre of defence. Manchester United have grabbed one fortunate point in two matches and have limped through with little semblance of the confidence that was exerted in pre-season. Angel Di Maria will be a necessary step to restore some of the lost hope, but it is clear more recruits are necessary.