Sunderland vs Manchester United: Sunderland add to United pain but Real Madrid confirm £64m Angel Di Maria move

Further horror for Van Gaal after 1-1 draw at Sunderland however deal for Argentine winger should be concluded shortly

The stadium of light

Angel Di Maria was last night on the brink of completing his £63.9m British transfer record move from Real Madrid to Manchester United.

The Manchester United manager, Louis van Gaal, refused to confirm the transfer of the Argentine to Old Trafford had taken place, but he did not hide his admiration of the 26-year-old. Di Maria is expected to sign a five-year deal with a salary of around £180,000 a week.

“I cannot say anything about transfers, you have to understand that,” said Van Gaal after United’s 1-1 draw at Sunderland yesterday. “When a transfer has been finished then we can say something. But now you have to wait and see. When the moment is there Manchester United shall announce it.

“It is not only Di Maria, maybe Vidal or Messi! We are a big club. The club always has to announce, and when we think it is the right time we will come to you and say, ‘OK, we have bought this player or that player’. At this time we can’t say anything but I like Di Maria.”

 The Real Madrid coach, Carlo Ancelotti, confirmed that the player had already said his farewells to his team-mates. “Di Maria has not trained with us today [yesterday] and he came in to say goodbye to the players and people at the club,” he said. “There is nothing official yet but it is being sorted out. The decision is his and the club has done what it could to keep him here.”

Read more: Ferguson looms over Van Gaal at Stadium of Light

Real Madrid stunned Manchester United by asking for nearly £75m for the forward. Manchester United had expected to pay nearer the £60m that Paris Saint-Germain had been quoted when they sought to take the player to France.

The compromise figure of £64m is believed to have satisfied both parties and Van Gaal is eager to add the player to a squad that has struggled for form in their opening two Premier League games.

Angel Di Maria in action in the Spanish Super Cup for Real Madrid Angel Di Maria in action in the Spanish Super Cup for Real Madrid  

The transfer will top the £50m Chelsea paid Liverpool for Fernando Torres in 2011. United have already spent £72m this summer to sign left-back Luke Shaw from Southampton, midfielder Ander Herrera and defender Marcos Rojo. Di Maria joined Real Madrid from Benfica for £36 million in 2010.

The potential signing of the Argentine was hailed by the club’s former defender Gary Neville.

“He can run and Manchester United haven’t got any pace in wide areas. It is incredible,” said Neville. “That is what the club has been built on for the last 10 to 15 years - being able to get from box to box quickly, being able to spring on teams, having people that can dribble and are quick in the final third. They have Adnan Januzaj but they really have lost that variety.”

That veiled criticism was backed up by Van Gaal’s verdict following another unconvincing display at the Stadium of Light. United could only manage a one-one draw after going ahead through Juan Mata, a result that leaves them with just one point from opening games against Swansea and Sunderland. Van Gaal conceded that is not good enough and also criticised the pace of his team’s passing.

Read more: Di Maria has said his goodbyes - Ancelotti
Di Maria factfile
Van Gaal has gone from 'king to devil'

The passing was all too slow, or all too fast, all too hasty. And then you lose a lot of balls and the tempo goes out of the game so that in my opinion was the reason.

“No, I cannot say that (it was a better performance than last week) because last week we created more chances. Football is all about creating chances and scoring goals, and we didn’t create enough chances today.

“We probably had more ball possession and were more dominant than the last match but you still have to win the game and we couldn’t so that is a pity.”

Van Gaal did defend Ashley Young, who was booked once more for diving.

Ashley Young was booked for diving but Van Gaal said his player should have had a penalty Ashley Young was booked for diving but Van Gaal said his player should have had a penalty  

He lifted the ball across the player and the player was kickng him. And after that I think he was jumping too muchbut what counts is that he was kicked by the opponent. And the referee could have given a penalty.

“He could also have given one when when Van Persie. You oculd see Van Persie was already losing the ball but the tackle was coming and htta is why the referee has to give a penalty.

“Nevertheless we have to create more chances than look for penalties.”

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