December 13, 2017

English Premier League

Monday, August 25, 2014

Di María close to becoming a Red Devil

MADRID — Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said Ángel Di María is leaving the European champions amid media reports linking the Argentina forward to a move to Manchester United.

Ancelotti says “it’s still not official, but his transfer is close to being confirmed.” He did not say where Di María is heading.

The Italian coach added Di María has said goodbye to his teammates.

Yesterday, English Sunday Mirror Sport said on its website: “Ángel Di María will join Manchester United in a British record transfer — after rivals Manchester City turned down the chance to sign him. Sunday Mirror Sport can reveal that United will pay Real Madrid £60million for the Argentina winger.”

The 26-year-old Di María spent the previous four seasons at Madrid and helped it win the Champions League last season.

The arrival of James Rodríguez and Toni Kroos this summer increased competition for the Argentine to keep his place in Madrid’s first-choice squad.

United laboured to a ponderous 1-1 draw at Sunderland yesterday that delivered a first Premier League point for Louis van Gaal but laid bare its dire need for reinforcements and exposed frailties at both ends of the pitch.

United’s problems were there for all to see as Juan Mata’s opening goal on 17 minutes proved a unique scoring opportunity while their lack of a commanding centre half was exploited by an unmarked Jack Rodwell for Sunderland’s equalizer.

United now finds itself five points adrift of early Premier League pace-setters Tottenham Hotspur, which was yesterday’s big winner with a 4-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers that ensured Harry Redknapp suffered a second straight defeat and a miserable return to his former club.

For new coach Van Gaal, who has already claimed it will take a miracle to propel United to the Premier League summit, yesterday’s woes stemmed from midfield.

“The purpose of the game is to create more chances and score goals. We haven’t created more chances,” the Dutchman told the BBC.

Nacer Chadli, among the expensive patchwork of players recruited when Gareth Bale left for Real Madrid, scored Tottenham’s first and third while record signing Erik Lamela was pivotal in a playmaker role.

Eric Dier profited from a Lamela corner to net Tottenham’s second, scoring for the second time in two weeks, and Emmanuel Adebayor rounded off the scoring with a crisp low finish.

Herald staff with agencies

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