Manchester United's Di Maria move could be hijacked - by Manchester City

Angel Di Maria Argentina

Manchester United's pursuit of Angel Di Maria has taken a hit after local rivals Manchester City allegedly joined the race for his signature.

The Red Devils got their season off to the worst possible start last weekend, as Swansea City came to Old Trafford and spoiled new manager Louis van Gaal's welcoming party, heading back to South Wales with a 2-1 win following goals from Ki Sung-Yueng and Gylfi Sigurdsson.

The defeat seems to have sprung United into action in the transfer market though as a deal for Argentine World Cup star Marcos Rojo was finalised this week, with the 24-year-old defender joining in a £16m transfer. Van Gaal wants more though, and Rojo's international team mate Angel di Maria is the club's top target now.

The 26-year-old has been forced out of the Real Madrid side after Carlo Ancelotti's men wrapped up a £63m deal for Monaco playmaker James Rodriguez, and former Chelsea boss Ancelotti has admitted that not only has di Maria asked to leave the club, but he is also close to a deal elsewhere.

On Saturday night, it was widely reported that Manchester United were closing in on a move for di Maria as van Gaal looks to make at least one big name signing, but their pursuit may have taken a hit after speculation that Manchester City reportedly joined the race for his signature.

Manuel Pellegrini's side have had a respectively modest transfer window so far, bringing in Willy Caballero, Bacary Sagna, Eliaquim Mangala and Fernando after they were hit with a £50m Financial Fair Play fine. That is also the hold up in their bid for di Maria according to reports today, and City have allegedly asked the former Benfica winger to delay his decision until they can free up space to sign him.

A number of City players are being linked with the exit, including Matija Nastasic, Micah Richards, Scott Sinclair and, most importantly, Alvaro Negredo. The Spanish striker would no doubt bring in the most money of that quartet, and the speculation suggests that if City can sell the ex-Sevilla man, it will give Pellegrini the funds to sign di Maria.

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