“I started well [at United] and after that I got injured. Things didn’t go well for me and Van Gaal changed my position. I spoke with [Laurent] Blanc and his thinking was that I’d play in a similar position to where I did at Real Madrid.”
Those were the words of Argentine winger Angel Di Maria after his transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, the Ligue 1 champions.
The question brewing at Chezsports is, Was LVG really the reason why Di Maria never blossomed at Old Trafford?
It is widely accepted that the arrival of the Di Maria from Real Madrid on 26 August 2014 to Old Trafford was viewed as a sign of good thing to come.
United coughed out £59.7 million making him the fifth most expensive transfer of all time, it didn’t end there, the pacy Argentine was given the legendary number 7 as his jersey number, a number worn only by Red Devil legends, Geoge Best, Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, alas, to whom much is given, much is expected.
And truth be told, the former Real Madrid man sparked up the theatre of dreams with his trademark pacy run and assists hence winning the EPL player of the month for the month of October with two goals and two assists in just four games, and his goal against Leicester City won the goal of the month, Old Trafford was beaming with ecstacy, and teams were curious, “how can we contain this Argentine?”.
But, sad to say, the teams didn’t contain him, injury did. Di Maria’s plight began in the same October and got worse after the injury that kept him out for weeks, the Argentine struggled for form on return from injury, but, LVG was on a rebuilding mission, a mission that had a timeline and no patience for any player that was “trying” to garner momentum. Try as much as he can, the needed results were just not coming, week after week, game after game, he had one option left, “Take a walk”.
And he did walk, Di Maria left Man United for £44 million and his debut game against Monaco ended well with an assist giving a preview of the Di Maria that the world had in mind during his days at Benfica and Bernabeu. Hence, The question, was Di Maria’s career at Old Trafford hampered by LVG or was it just the player’s fault.
Di Maria has come out to state the reason behind his woeful stay at the Theatre of dreams was due to LVG’s decision to play him in an unfamiliar position, and such decision never went down well with the winger leading to altercations with the coach.
“Van Gaal has his philosophy and one of the things that made me want to leave is that, “It is difficult to adapt to Van Gaal. I had a couple of rows with him.”
The row continued and got to a point where the player openly declared interest to leave the club, a dream he actualised on July 25th when Laurent Blanc convinced the 27 year old player of a plan that will involve him at Paris.
LVG has gone on to sign a replacement for Di Maria in Netherlands Memphis Depay, but the trail left behind by the comment of Di Maria has kept football fans wondering if the young Argentine was really to blame for the floppy season he had at Old Trafford or he wasn’t just good at following orders or can it be said that LVG couldn’t just find a way to utilize the winger to his maximum.
Well, United’s loss could just be PSG’s gain, time alone will be a good judge of that.