Manchester United have signed Argentina midfielder Angel di Maria from Real Madrid for a British record transfer fee of £59.7 million, the English Premier League club announced on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old’s move, on a five-year contract, shatters the previous British record fee of £50m paid by Chelsea to sign Spain striker Fernando Torres from Liverpool in 2011.
“Manchester United is delighted to announce that Angel Di Maria has completed his transfer for a British record fee of £59.7 million. Angel joins on a five-year contract,” said a club statement.
United manager Louis van Gaal added: “Angel is a world-class midfielder but most importantly he is a team player. There is no doubting his immense natural talent.
“He is a tremendously fast and incisive left-footed player who puts fear into the most accomplished defence,” the Dutchman explained.
“His dribbling skills and his ability to take on and beat opponents are a joy to watch. He is an excellent addition to the team.”
Meanwhile di Maria said it was van Gaal’s “vision” for the English giants that had persuaded him to move to Old Trafford, even though United, are not in this season’s Champions League following their unexpectedly lowly seventh place in last term’s Premier League.
“I am absolutely delighted to be joining Manchester United,” di Maria said. “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Spain and there were a lot of clubs interested in me, but United is the only club that I would have left Real Madrid for.
“Louis van Gaal is a fantastic coach with a proven track record of success and I am impressed by the vision and determination everyone has to get this club back to the top – where it belongs. I now just cannot wait to get started.”
Di Maria came through one of the most celebrated youth academies in Argentinian football in Rosario Central.
In 2007, he joined Portuguese club Benfica, before signing for Real Madrid in 2010.
The Argentina international has scored 10 goals in 52 appearances for his country.
His arrival in Manchester is the headline deal of United’s overhaul under new manager van Gaal, who had already spent a combined £72 million on England left-back Luke Shaw, Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera and Di Maria’s Argentina teammate Marcos Rojo, who is also left-footed like him.
Di Maria could make his debut at Burnley on Saturday as van Gaal looks to revitalise a United team still without a win after the first two games of the new Premier League campaign.
Di Maria has an impressive pedigree after winning the Champions League with Real last season and the Spanish title in 2012.
He was also named on Fifa’s 10-man shortlist for the best player at the recent World Cup where Argentina reached the final, although he was unable to play in that game or the semifinal because of an injury he suffered in the quarterfinal win over Belgium.