Andy Gray reacts to £63.9m Angel di Maria rumours; talks tactics

Angel Di Maria Argentina

Renowned football analyst Andy Gray claims Real Madrid star and Manchester United target is a level below the elite but still high on quality.

The transfer that takes Angel di Maria to Manchester United and a British club record £63.9 million to Real Madrid has seemingly been finalised, but for Andy Gray the move should perhaps not be celebrated if acts also as the conclusion of the Old Trafford's club activity in the current transfer window.

If Manchester United are to crack the top four in the current 2014-15 Premier League season then manager Louis van Gaal will have to re-enter the market, perhaps to sign one of Kevin Strootman, Daley Blind or even Alexandre Song, so that di Maria is given additional "help" in the senior starting XI.

"He's a quality footballer but he's not top bracket of Luis Suarez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Gareht Bale," offered Andy Gray of beinSports, when discussing the prospective move with colleague Richard Keys on the latter's official website.

"There are levels, but he's a level below that. He is still a quality footballer though and that's what United need to get in. They haven't bought anyone like that since Ronaldo. So that's a positive for Louis van Gaal and Manchester United fans.

"But he alone is not going to transform United from a team that finished seventh to a team that could possibly finish in the top four and possibly win the title, nope… he's going to need a lot more help than that."

Di Maria, a 26-year-old athlete from Argentina, is a versatile attacker capable of playing on either flank or centrally. He is famed for his ability to creatie goal-scoring opportunities from the floor, his ball-striking ability from distane and his craft from set-play. If there is one area in his game that is deficient, it is defensive responsibility and so Gray cannot foresee a scenario where he fits into van Gaal's 3-5-2 wing-back formation at Manchester United.

"He does not slip comfortably in 3-5-2… he'd have to be hugely adventurous in central midfield ahead of Ander Herrera, alongside Juan Mata. That's a gamble - as does not have enough defensively and I don't see him being a wing-back.

"It wouldn't surprise me to see Van Gaal go back to 4-4 and then one off one but then will Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie be happy. With a 3-4-3 he can still play everybody."

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