When United finished seventh last season and failed to qualify for the Champions League many were suggesting their decline would be continuous. They claimed no European football would mean no more world class players would join the club.
However these people were proven wrong when the likes of Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria signed on the dotted line during the summer transfer window. While it is clear that many of United's top players are more than good enough for Champions League football, it seems that playing in Europe is not the be-all and end-all for some of the world's best.
This doesn't mean that they don't miss playing in the most coveted competition in world football though. Di Maria, who won the Champions League with Real Madrid last season, admitted to this very feeling in an interview with Sport Magazine.
The Argentine said: “Yes, I do miss Champions League football.
“We will have to do our best this season so that we qualify for next year’s tournament. It won’t be easy. But some weeks ago we were seventh or eighth in the table, and now we are fourth. So we have to keep on working.
"The thing we aim for the most is qualifying for the Champions League, which is what this club deserves. I also want to win titles, but I am aware that we will have to go step by step since the manager and some of the players are new.”
Di Maria also spoke about becoming the most expensive player ever in British football after he joined Louis van Gaal's side for a staggering £59.7 million.
“I am thankful to Manchester United for bringing me here.
“Regarding the fee paid for me, it is an arrangement between clubs. I just play. If the amount paid reflects my value and United decided to pay it, then I am thankful and happy for that.”
The 26-year-old's comments suggest he is more than comfortable with the figure that was paid to acquire his services and plays it down by expressing his gratitude to United. The sum clearly hasn't had a detrimental affect on his performances in a red shirt as the former Real Madrid star has scored three and assisted a further six in 11 games for United so far.
It's too early to judge whether or not Di Maria has really reflected his huge fee but what is for certain is that the explosive winger has given United an extra dimension in midfield.