Poor old Angel Di Maria. The man with a price tag touching £60m around his slender neck was hauled off on the hour mark during Manchester United’s Premier League win at Newcastle and in all honesty he could have been canned before then.
The dynamic Champions League winner of last season at Real Madrid has been replaced by a seemingly clueless player unsure of his role in the team and suffering from a Susan Boyle-esque crisis of confidence.
Di Maria’s current plight is even more bewildering given he began life at Old Trafford in such sparkling form for the 11/5 FA Cup hopefuls, scoring a flurry of exquisite goals which promised United plenty of bang for their sizeable buck.
Being asked to play in more positions than the Kama Sutra under Louis van Gaal cannot have helped the Argentine midfielder, but could Di Maria have been the latest overseas player to be cursed by breaking the British transfer record?
The previous four foreign stars before Di Maria to set the British transfer bar all struggled to justify their enormous price tags.
2001 – Juan Sebastian Veron: Lazio – Manchester United £28,100,000
Di Maria isn’t the only Argentine capable of the sublime to frustrate at Manchester United. Sir Alex Ferguson said of Veron: “If I managed him for 100 years I wouldn’t know where to play him.”
Two years after he signed the Red Devils flop was sold to Chelsea for just £15m.
2006 – Andriy Shevchenko: AC Milan – Chelsea £30,800,000
Roman Abramovich’s thirst for a Champions League trophy at Stamford Bridge led the Russian to splash out on AC Milan’s deadly Ukrainian striker.
Despite racking up goal tallies around the 30 mark in his three previous seasons Shevchenko just couldn’t adapt to Chelsea life and left in meek fashion having scored 22 times in 76 appearances.
2008 – Robinho: Real Madrid – Manchester City £32,500,000
To call Robinho a total flop would be unfair as he bagged 14 Premier League goals in his first season.
However, the mercurial forward only contributed a single goal in 10 European appearances and clearly struggled with injuries before heading back to Brazil on loan after only one-and-a-half seasons at City.
2012 – Fernando Torres: Liverpool – Chelsea £50,000,000
The man Liverpool brought across from Spain had previously sent shivers down spines of Premier League defenders before heading to the King’s Road.
Things started badly for Torres in blue and he quickly became a figure of derision for his ability to miss glaring chances despite being a double European Championship and World Cup winner.
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