Manchester United have splashed out nearly £60million on one player, but they could have solved most of their problems with almost an identical outlay.
Manchester United have completed the £59.7million transfer of Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid.
Not only does it smash United’s club-record fee for Juan Mata, but it also beats the £50million Chelsea splashed out on Fernando Torres in 2011.
But as fans ponder whether it is a smart move or a desperate one, the simple fact is Louis van Gaal could have brought in players who would have solved more of his problems for considerably less.
Here we take a look at four players who could have been brought to Old Trafford for a combined fee of just £1million more than Di Maria’s record transfer:
Eric Dier (£4million)
The former Sporting Lisbon defender already looks like one of the bargains of the summer. With two goals in two games, and able to play at right-back, centre-back or in defensive midfield, the 20-year-old would have been an outstanding addition to United’s squad for relative pennies.
Emre Can (£9.75million)
United are crying out for a defensive midfielder and for less than £10million they could have signed Emre Can, a player who was turning out for Bayern Munich as a teenager. He may be young but he is likely to grow into an outstanding player at Liverpool, and for a cut-price fee United should have made an offer to Bayer Leverkusen while they had the chance.
Dejan Lovren (£20million)
Another new Liverpool recruit, Lovren would have been the perfect defensive reinforcement with plenty of experience who would have helped the club’s younger players develop. United are in desperate need of a quality centre-back and it is a big surprise that they did not move for the Croatian international.
Cesc Fabregas (£27million)
Yes United signed Ander Herrera – reportedly opting not to pursue their previous interest in Cesc Fabregas – but for just £27million they could have signed an outstanding creative outlet with plenty of Premier League experience. Chelsea are already benefiting from that, while United struggle to create chances for their quality front-line.
Total amount: £60.75million
Di Maria’s transfer fee: £59.7million