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Will Angel Di Maria Really Change Manchester United's Fortunes?

26/08/2014 16:43 BST | Updated 26/10/2014 09:59 GMT

Fernando Torres in 2007. The Spanish wizard who could score from nothing, the man who became a star for Liverpool and a legend at Anfield.

Fernando Torres in 2011. The £50 million flop who failed to make any impact at all at Chelsea, becoming one of the worst signings in the history of English football.

Two sides of a coin over one career, Torres is still playing at Stamford Bridge, but is a shadow of his former self and sadly no longer considered a goal scoring threat.

Roman Abramovich broke the bank to sign him and set a new British transfer record in the process, with the club and its fans pinning their hopes on the fantastic forward.

Alas, it didn't pay off. We all know the story of Torres as a total failure.

£60 million Flop?

This is the predicament which could face Angel di Maria, who looks to be joining Manchester United for a staggering fee thought to be around £60 million.

The main difference here is that almost every single hope of a decent season for United rests on the Argentian's shoulders.

Chelsea had a successful squad when Torres arrived, whilst United start the new season off the back of a torrential storm under the helm of David Moyes. Louis van Gaal has been tasked with rebuilding the historic club of Manchester United into the dominant force they were pre-Moyes, but almost everything went wrong.

Van Gaal, the winner of two La Liga titles, the Eredivisie four times, a Bundesliga title and the man who steered an unlikely Netherlands side to a third place finish at this year's World Cup.

The Dutchman has spent £72 million on bringing Ander Herrera, Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo to Manchester United in order to add some much needed spark to the squad. Add to that the signing of di Maria and you have a total of £132 million and the spending might not even stop there.

But even alongside the other signings, di Maria is quite simply the man who must perform in this new-look side.

The midfielder created 22 goals for Madrid last season, more than Ronaldo, Bale, and James Rodriguez. He also made a monumental 1756 passes, completing 82% of them, as well as creating 111 chances for the Spanish giants.

Di Maria was a pivotal cog in the Real Madrid machine and Manchester United are desperate for top quality players, so he almost justifies the £60 million pricetag.

United definitely missed a creative force last season, with Michael Carrick looking lost in the midfield and Juan Mata, signed in January, not offering as much as he should have, but is di Maria really what United need? And will he succeed?

Defensive Cracks

He is versatile, has an excellent work rate and his passing ability is all but obvious. But it seems the real problem with van Gaal's side is the defence.

Chris Smalling hasn't lived up to his potential, Phil Jones is yet to prove that he can handle top class strikers and Luke Shaw is only 19, it's hard to expect an incredible season from him despite his talent.

Di Maria could play as a wing-back in van Gaal's formation, but he wouldn't add as much defensively as he would going forward and if United fail to perform again, the 26-year-old could become an extremely expensive fall guy.

Van Gaal must bridge the cracks in the defensive unit to take the pressure off of the star players in the squad so they can take more risks. Bad defending mixed with a lack of confidence and the haunting of last season means that once they concede a goal or two, the heads drop almost instantaneously,

United need someone like Nemanja Vidic of two seasons ago. Someone who is reliable, consistent and can win big tackles at the back. £60 million can get you a quality defender and a quality defensive midfielder with some change to stuff back into pockets.

But £60 million might get van Gaal a Torres. The manager really is flipping a coin.

The man with multiple titles must know what he's doing, however. Van Gaal is moulding United to his liking and he even said before the season had started that it would take time for the squad to adapt.

Di Maria could be the key to unlock the goal scoring potential of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, but he must also adapt, both to the formation and to the rough-and-tumble of the Premier League, which we've seen so many players fail to deal with.

Heads or tails, Louis?

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