Arsenal legend Ian Wright doesn’t believe Angel Di Maria has offered Manchester United more than teammate Adnan Januzaj since his summer arrival for a British record transfer fee.
Wright was speaking to BBC 606 ahead of Arsenal’s FA Cup trip to United for tonight’s quarter-final tie, in which Arsene Wenger’s men are bidding to win at Old Trafford for the first time since September 2006.
Di Maria, 27, sealed a £59.7 million switch from Real Madrid to United in August after four successful seasons in the Spanish capital, before making an immediate impact with three goals in his first five Premier League games.
The Argentine attacker has since struggled to live up to his reputation, however, and was hauled off at half-time during last month’s 2-0 win over Sunderland, with his replacement Adnan Januzaj going on to produce perhaps his best performance of the season.
Di Maria retained his place in the line-up for last week’s trip to Newcastle United but another poor outing saw Januzaj replace him for the second consecutive match just before the hour, as Louis van Gaal’s men would go on to record a last-gasp 1-0 win.
The Champions League-winner is now facing serious criticism over his performances, with some connecting his decline to a recent break-in attempt at the house he shares with his wife and daughter.
Januzaj, meanwhile, has struggled for first-team opportunities under Van Gaal following last season’s breakthrough, with the Belgium international earing just seven starts in 16 league appearances this campaign.
Nevertheless, after being impressed with his showings last term as a regular in the since-departed David Moyes’ side, Wright believes it’s fair to question United's decision to even sign counterpart Di Maria, regardless of the talent he showcased during his time at Real.
“When Januzaj came on the scene, everyone was talking about how he could play for 50 million countries, or whatever it was, and how he was unbelievable,” he said.
“They signed him for five years but then signed Di Maria and, with all due respect to him, I’ve not seen him do anything which Januzaj hasn’t done or isn’t going to be able to grow to do.
“That’s 60 million you’ve spent.
“I feel Di Maria’s a quality player; a world class player,” he continued. “We saw that in the Champions League final. Wherever it’s because his manager’s not playing him in the right position, I don’t know.
“I’m not having it’s the fact he’s unsettled because when you’re on the football pitch is when you’re in the zone.”
With a trip to Wembley Stadium on the line tonight, though, Di Maria has the chance to silence a lot of his critics if he can prove a difference-maker against the Gunners.