Manchester United look extremely close to signing the perfect player to aid Louis van Gaal’s title charge just as one of the club’s most costly experiments finalises his exit.
It was obvious to see the attraction in landing Angel Di Maria as one of Van Gaal’s first signings at United’s helm, when at the time the Red Devils needed the sort of lift only ‘Galactico’ purchases can provide.
Di Maria was vogue, a hugely exciting talent and coming off the back of a Champions League-winning campaign which was crowned with a pivotal role in guiding Argentina to the World Cup final.
It’s also very apparent with the benefit of hindsight that the Iron Tulip hadn’t quite devised a way to integrate Di Maria into either of his preferred systems.
Crucially this is why the British transfer record has now joined Paris Saint-Germain for around £15m less than the £59.7m splurged only 12 months ago.
For whatever reason, LVG never shared Carlo Ancelotti’s view that extracting the best out of Di Maria meant deploying him on the left of a central three, nor did he trust such an attack-minded player to operate as a wing-back in a 3-5-2.
Although Di Maria arrived at Real as a classic winger before his remodelling, LVG wasn’t comfortable playing him as a wide forward in his favourite 4-3-3 system either, instead sticking him up front where he understandably looked lost.
However, now he has been relieved of his biggest conundrum, Van Gaal looks to be shaping his new squad with precision and Barcelona’s Pedro should be the icing on the cake.
The Dutch tactician has already implied 4-3-3 will be his number one system of choice with skipper Wayne Rooney being asked to revert to his best position of main striker.
This leaves LVG in need of specialist wide forwards, and having already snared another in the form of Memphis Depay, the addition of Pedro will give the Red Devils a very dangerous looking three-pronged attack.
The Spanish raider is the archetypal wide forward of the modern game and for £20m he should prove to be a snip.
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