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Aug 26, 2014

Angel Di Maria seals United transfer

ESPN FC's Craig Burley analyses how new signing Angel Di Maria will help get Manchester United back on track.

Manchester United have completed the British record signing of Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid on a five-year contract.

Louis van Gaal's side have paid an initial 59.7 million pounds ($99 million) for the Argentina international, who becomes their fourth summer addition.

Di Maria passed a medical after arriving in Manchester on Monday evening when a fee, which will also include add-ons, was agreed with the European champions.

Di Maria told his new club's official website: "I am absolutely delighted to be joining Manchester United. 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.

"Louis van Gaal is a fantastic coach with a proven track record of success and I am impressed by the vision and determination everyone has to get this club back to the top -- where it belongs. I now just cannot wait to get started."

Van Gaal added: "Angel is a world-class midfielder but most importantly he is a team player. There is no doubting his immense natural talent.

"He is a tremendously fast and incisive left-footed player who puts fear into the most accomplished defence. His dribbling skills and his ability to take on and beat opponents are a joy to watch. He is an excellent addition to the team."

United wrapped up the deal for the 26-year-old quickly after moving for the former Benfica player, who had told Real he would not sign a new contract and wanted to leave the Bernabeu following the arrival of Colombia's James Rodriguez from Monaco.

Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti confirmed on Sunday that Di Maria had opted to go, saying: "He's said his goodbyes. Nothing is official yet, but it's close to being solved. The club did all they could to keep him, but he's decided to leave. We thanked him for what he has done for us."

Di Maria replaces Juan Mata, a 37.1 million-pound signing in January, as the most expensive player in United's history and his move exceeds the previous record fee paid by a British club, after Chelsea spent 50 million pounds on Fernando Torres in 2011.

He takes United's expenditure this summer to 132 million pounds, following the arrivals of Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao for 28.8 million pounds, Luke Shaw from Southampton for an initial 27 million pounds and Marcos Rojo from Sporting Lisbon for 16 million pounds.

Di Maria could make his debut against Burnley on Saturday as United, who have only taken one point from their opening two games of the season, look for a first win, but he will not be eligible for Tuesday's Capital One Cup tie against MK Dons.

The winger, who helped Argentina reach the World Cup final, scored 36 goals in 190 games during his four years in Spain and was named man of the match by former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, the UEFA adjudicator, in May's Champions League final win over Atletico Madrid.

As well as becoming United's record signing, his fee is also the most Real have ever recouped for a player in the transfer market.

Paris Saint-Germain were also interested in Di Maria but, having failed UEFA's financial fair play test in May, were unable to bid for him after spending 50 million pounds on Chelsea's David Luiz.

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