English Premiership

Price tag problems at United

2015-03-03 09:31
Ander Herrera, Angel di Maria and Juan Mata celebrate their victory. (Jon Super, AP)

Manchester - Juan Mata and Angel Di Maria are the two most expensive players in Manchester United's history, costing a combined £97 million last year as the club looked to regain its status as England's top team.

So far, they aren't living up to their price tags, and there's a chance neither will be in United's lineup when the team visits Newcastle in the English Premiership on Wednesday.

Mata, bought for £37.1 million by David Moyes, has mainly been used as a substitute by new manager Louis van Gaal this season despite a decent scoring record when he has started for United. A World Cup and European Championship winner with Spain and twice Chelsea's player of the year, the playmaker is a forgotten man at Old Trafford these days.

Di Maria took over from Mata as United's costliest player when he was signed from Real Madrid for £59.7 million, but his form has dipped after an encouraging start.

Van Gaal hasn't found the best position for the Argentina midfielder, who admitted before the 2-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday that he was still in the "settling-in process" in English football. Di Maria was poor by his high standards against Sunderland and was substituted at halftime — quite a fall from grace for a player who was man of the match in last season's Champions League final.

"I cannot deny what I see and we have to give Angel a little bit more time to adapt to the Premier League," Van Gaal said.

"The rhythm of the game is so high here, much higher than in other countries. He has to adapt to the culture and we have to give him time to adapt and also to lift his confidence again."

With Adnan Januzaj impressing as Di Maria's replacement against Sunderland, the Argentine may even find himself on the bench at Newcastle as Man United looks to keep its place in the Champions League qualification places.

United's fight with Arsenal and Liverpool for third and fourth place looks set to go to the wire this season, with the three clubs separated by two points.

It could be more exciting than the title race, as Chelsea has a five-point lead, and a game in hand, over second-place Manchester City heading into the full midweek program in the league.


What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Saturday, 16 December 2017
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 14:30
Stoke City v West Ham United, Bet365 Stadium 17:00
Arsenal v Newcastle United, Emirates Stadium 17:00
Chelsea v Southampton, Stamford Bridge 17:00
Brighton & Hove Albion v Burnley, The American Express Community Stadium 17:00
Watford v Huddersfield Town, Vicarage Road Stadium 17:00
Manchester City v Tottenham Hotspur, Etihad Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 17 December 2017
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United, The Hawthorns 16:15
AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool, Vitality Stadium 18:30
Monday, 18 December 2017
Everton v Swansea City, Goodison Park 22:00
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2017/18 season?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2017/18 Absa Premiership season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.