Manchester United would be prepared to sell Angel Di Maria this summer, even though their record signing has been at the club for less than 12 months.
That’s the view of the Daily Star’s chief sports writer Jeremy Cross, who told the Sunday Supplement that Louis van Gaal will sell the player if he expresses a desire to leave when the transfer window opens.
United signed Di Maria in a British record £59.7million deal from Real Madrid last August, but he has struggled to settle in Manchester and has not started any of their last nine matches.
Cross believes United would prefer to keep the Argentina international, but says the imminent arrival of Memphis Depay could pave the way for his exit.
"The fact they have signed Depay increases the speculation about Di Maria,” he told the Sunday Supplement.
"I don’t think United want to sell him because they know deep down they have got a wonderful player.
"The issue with Di Maria is he has just not settled. His home was burgled earlier in the year and his wife and family were there at the time. On the face of it you might say that’s no reason to pack in and go somewhere else, but it had a big impact on him.
"He started off really well when he first joined United and tailed off. This burglary happened and his form has never been the same. He just looks disinterested when he’s on the pitch.
"While United would want to keep him because they’ve invested so much in him, if they got a good offer for him – and I’m pretty sure there will be some club wanting to sign Di Maria – they would probably sell him."
Van Gaal said this week he wants to keep hold of the player, but says Di Maria, who has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain, would ultimately decide his own future.
And Cross was surprised by the honesty of the Manchester United manager.
“The players have all the power,” he said.
“I’m surprised a manager of that experience actually admitted it, but he’s spot on when he says that. Players sign these big contracts and essentially they don’t mean a thing.
“Di Maria signed a big contract with United and he’s only been there a year. He could be gone within 12 months.
“If Di Maria goes to Ed Woodward and says ‘I’m not happy, can I go?’ then they would let him go.”