Can Angel di Maria replace Nani at Manchester United in the summer?

Manchester United are expected to bring in a new winger in the summer. But who will it be?

It had in all likelihood appeared that Nani would be departing Manchester United this month, but Sir Alex Ferguson's reluctance to deal in the January transfer window means the Portuguese will stay at Old Trafford for now.

If the winger does not have a dramatic upshot in form though, it is likely he will be shown the door as there will be just 12 months left on his contract.

The question then is over who will replace him. James Rodriguez and Wilfried Zaha are the two most commonly linked players. Rodriguez will cost big money and Porto are reluctant to sell, but that isn't to say it is impossible.

Zaha may yet force United's hand this January, as other clubs are showing an interest, but the club are expected to loan him back to Palace if they do sign him.

In case either of them do not sign, United may be wise to look at a player who once interested them previously, who is enduring a difficult spell at present; Angel di Maria.

Spanish newspaper Marca has described Di Maria as a 'fallen angel', given his own lack of form. He was once irreplaceable at Madrid, perhaps similarly to Nani at United, but has found himself on the bench in recent weeks, including last weekend Real Sociedad.

Of the 18 matches he has started for Madrid this season, he has completed just five, being subsituted in all of the others. He has provided five assists this season in La Liga, but in previous years he has contributed 16 each.

Any downturn in fortune shouldn't necessarily put United off. There is not a single Madrid player who has come out of this season looking good, including the FIFPro Goalkeeper of the Year, Iker Casillas.

He is still 24 and has plenty to contribute, what he really needs is a change of scenery. United were linked with him when he was at Benfica, and won't have missed his exciting form in recent seasons. They will also go head to head with him in the Champions League in February.

There is no chance of a deal happening this month, for a variety of reasons, but United may be wise to test the waters in the summer if they do move Nani on.

Di Maria is an excellent and proven player at a good age, and if he is out of favour it means he may well be available, and at a knock-down price. It will certainly demand consideration.

Would you like to see Di Maria at Old Trafford next season?


image: © jansolo09

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch