Angel Di Maria's move from Real Madrid to Manchester United for a British record fee of £59.7 million ($98.9 million) has finally been wrapped up, topping the previous record set by Fernando Torres' move from Liverpool to Chelsea in January 2011. Di Maria will provide the struggling club with help on the wing and in midfield, providing speed and creating scoring opportunities in numbers that made him extremely valuable to Real Madrid and Argentina at the World Cup before he got injured in the quarterfinals.
49 - Only Messi (57) has provided more assists than Di Maria in La Liga since the start of the 2010/11 season. Source pic.twitter.com/4AkWI8c8SQ— OptaJose (@OptaJose) August 24, 2014
"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Spain and there were a lot of clubs interested in me, but United is the only club that I would have left Real Madrid for," said Di Maria, apparently with a straight face. After writing an open letter to Real Madrid fans saying he never wanted to leave them in the first place.
Of course, the price tag he's been saddled with has prompted debate as to whether he's actually worth as much as Man United have spent on him in their time of desperation. Naturally, he is because that's what the club will pay for him, but the success of purchases that have pushed the limits of spending in the Premier League's boom-time have been mixed.
In the last 12 years, the British transfer record fee has nearly doubled, with Man United paying roughly £30 million for Rio Ferdinand in 2002. That worked out just fine, but when Chelsea paid £30.8 million for Milan's Andriy Shevchenko, it really didn't.
In 2008, Man City's new ownership used Robinho as a £32.5 million statement of intent and sold him two years later for less than half that. Then on January 31, 2011, the record was broken twice with increasingly poor decisions. First, Liverpool bought Andy Carroll for £35 million (and sold him to West Ham for £15m two years and 11 goals later) and then Chelsea spent £50 million on Fernando Torres, who has become a sad punchline. But now, after three often excruciating years, Di Maria takes the burden of carrying this record.
Despite the meager results of British transfer record signings in recent years, the number will still inflate expectations to unfair proportions for both Di Maria and his new club. But even if this move doesn't completely rejuvenate the 20-time champions, at least Angel gets a sweet Corvette from Man United's shirt sponsor.
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