Belfast Telegraph

Angel di Maria on verge of Manchester United exit

PSG preparing to table a £45m bid as Louis Van Gaal eyes mystery striker

By Stuart McKinley

Paris St Germain will attempt to push through a £45m deal for Angel di Maria that will end his Manchester United nightmare within the next 72 hours.

And the cash will allow United manager Louis van Gaal to step up his pursuit of a mystery striker.

PSG sporting director Olivier Letang and United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward have spoken with regards to Di Maria, but a fee has yet to be agreed.

United want to recoup most of the £59.7m they paid Real Madrid for the Argentine last summer, but PSG aren't prepared to cough up the full amount, knowing that Van Gaal isn't keen to have an expensive substitute hanging around after admitting last week that he could not offer a guarantee that Di Maria would remain part of his squad this season.

An offer of at least £45m will be needed to get the deal done and PSG want to get it over the line in order to save the player a trip across the Atlantic to join up with the United squad on their pre-season tour this weekend.

Di Maria's move will be a straight cash deal. PSG have already made it clear that Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani won't be involved in any player-exchange agreement.

And Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who the French club are willing to let go, will not be heading to Old Trafford. There are three things working against that particular move; the Swedish star is now 33-years-old, meaning he wouldn't be a long-term signing, his £300,000-a-week wage would also be off-putting and there has been friction between him and Van Gaal in the past.

But the Dutchman did confirm that United are in the process of recruiting a new forward, despite senior sources at the club insisting last week that the Red Devils were not after a new front man.

After United's 1-0 win over Club America at the weekend, Van Gaal hinted a "surprise" signing might be in store and on the eve of their second tour match in California against the San Jose Earthquakes, the United boss again dropped a cryptic clue which suggested a forward could be coming to Old Trafford.

"He is in the process," Van Gaal said bluntly when asked about his "surprise" signing.

When asked whether United were close to signing the striker in question, Van Gaal said: "No. It is not a striker that the media have written about, but you have to wait and see.

"The transfer period is open until September 1. You have to wait."

United have been linked with a number of forwards in the last few weeks, including Cavani, Tottenham's Harry Kane and Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich.

A German newspaper claimed that United had lodged a bid of £70m for Lewandowski's team-mate Thomas Muller on Monday, but sources at Old Trafford denied the story.

Just who the mystery man might be is no clearer.

Juventus' Alvaro Morata is unlikely to come cheap with four years left on the 22-year-old's five-year deal, plus his former club Real Madrid have a buy-back option.

Mauro Icardi was the joint-top scorer in Serie A last year, but he recently signed a contract extension to keep him at Inter Milan until 2019.

Borussia Dortmund's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is equally adept at playing out wide, a characteristic Van Gaal tends to covet in players.

Alexandre Lacazette's 27 goals made him the top scorer in Ligue 1 last season and Lyon have a history of selling their best players.

Hoffenheim's Kevin Volland is another who can play in multiple positions in attack and the youngster has forced his way into the Germany team since their World Cup win last year.

Van Gaal was also asked whether United were any closer to signing Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos, who they want to bring in as part of a swap deal for David de Gea. Van Gaal said: "I cannot talk about these rumours. I have said already in a lot of press conferences, it is a process. Maybe Mr Ramos is in the process. You never know."

De Gea will miss the second match of the tour with injury.

Belfast Telegraph


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