George Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo - what do they all have in common? Well, for a start, they have all represented Manchester United at one stage during their successful careers, but another enviable talent each player possesses is the ability to make a supporter rise from their seats even during the most dour game. Unfortunately for Manchester United, they have not found a similar no.7 since Ronaldo's famous departure from the huge club - at least not until the 26th of August, when Angel Di Maria signed from Real Madrid (Ronaldo's current team) for a club record of £60 million. Where recent times have been very gloomy at Manchester United, Di Maria could provide a huge spark to help illuminate Old Trafford, where even the thought of him is enough to make any opponent petrified.
When you already posses an admirable attack, it seems mindless to spend a further £60 million on someone who's forte isn't in defence. How would you fit Angel Di Maria, Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and (eventually) Radamel Falcao into the same side? But despite my worries, in my opinion, this signing wasn't mindless. Di Maria has a combination of capabilities: he can consistently dribble past fine defenders, run at lightning pace and deliver pinpoint crosses, a coalition of abilities that the players mentioned above do not hold. Halting the progress of youngster Adnan Januzaj was also a worry when signing Di Maria as, like when Di Maria was frozen out of the Real Madrid set up, there are too many attackers to fit him in the side. However, in bleak times like these, United's priority should be to achieve positive results rather than focus on the future.
Having an established a place in the starting 11, Di Maria's performances have been world class - he has netted three goals and created the treasured commodity for others four times in just seven games! Not bad, considering a lot of imports from other leagues tend to need time to adapt to the pace of the English game. Every time the ball is at his feet and there is clear space in front of him, Di Maria looks incredibly threatening as he quickly transfers from 1st to 5th gear. Not only that, Di Maria seems to be comfortable whether central, to the left or to the right, meaning that he can punish a defence whether he is cutting inside, looking to get into a crossing position or in place for one of his accurate shots. You need more than skill to succeed at the top level and Di Maria has a competitive personality, perhaps shown most when he made the most of a Branislav Ivanovic challenge, which eventually got the Serb sent off. This may not have been the best way to show his commitment to winning (youngsters may copy his untruthful actions), but, nevertheless, it shows how he will sacrifice his image to ensure that he is doing everything he can to help his team acquire a win.
With tensions building in the run up to the highly anticipated Manchester derby, Di Maria could hold the key as to whether the underdogs can get a result out of the increasingly important fixture. City's weakness is their fragile defence so if Di Maria is anywhere near his top form, goals could be plentiful. But he will need support from his defenders (City's attack contains the like of Aguero) if his team are to win, something which has been lacking in recent weeks. Fortunately for Di Maria, City have only scored one goal in their previous two matches, and, without their creative maestro David Silva, United stand a fighting chance of bagging the bragging rights.