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Angel Di Maria To Barcelona: Weighing the Pros and Cons of the Rumored Switch

Reports have come out that disgruntled Manchester United midfielder Angel Di Maria is seeking to engineer an exit from his club in the next year. Initial reports link him to Barcelona and PSG. Would he be a good target for FCB?

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Despite the transfer ban on FC Barcelona, rumors of the Blaugranes' targets have stubbornly not gotten the memo. Even in the face of this reality, FCB will theoretically have some money that they will be eager to spend by January 2016, and it's not far-fetched to think that they are trying to work in advance to nail down some targets to the extent possible presently. Tellingly, a lot of talk has revolved around Barcelona's positions of need, mostly center and right backs, but all-world prospects such as Paul Pogba, as well as other midfielders, have found their names linked to this club that can, in theory, afford anyone. Right back and central defender are two spots that most analysts and agree upon, as there are very few answers currently on the team or at La Masia. Midfielders, on the other hand, seem abundant at La Masia, and outside of Pogba there does not seem to be much reason to bring in a midfielder who would push out or otherwise marginalize ultra-talented prospects such as Sergi Samper and Alen Halilovic. Patiently waiting for the youth stars to blossom while the current iteration of the midfield holds down the fort does not seem like a terrible idea.

In reality, the midfield is rather limited, as well. Xavi is certainly well past his prime, and Andres Iniesta looks soon to follow. Ivan Rakitic has fit in well, but there are still doubts of his consistency (at least in my opinion - his incredibly high ceiling is only good to the extent that it balances out his very low lows). Rafinha has been very good in his appearances, but still needs consistent playing time and experience to get better.  For me, Sergio Busquets is still the only world class midfielder we have, with fellow defensive midfielder Javier Mascherano not too far off. There appears to be a "gap" as I see it between Xavi/Iniesta and the future. Based off these opinions, when reports that Angel Di Maria wanted to engineer a move from Manchester United to Barcelona you could imagine my anticipation.

Di Maria has been one of my favorite players for a long time, not withstanding his time at Real Madrid, dazzling me and many others with his dribbling, creativity, and pace on the flank (and a resemblance to Franz Kafka helps if you like post-modern literature). When we made an offer for him this summer I was hopeful, though Madrid was always likely to scoff at a low-ball offer from their eternal enemies. Man Utd wasn't where I wanted to see him, but it was nice that he would not be at my most hated club any longer. He was brilliant at first, clearly carrying Man Utd as its most talented player, but constant tinkering from manager Louis Van Gaal, no positional clarity, and difficulties in adjusting to life in England mean he now rides the bench and is mostly hating life there and looking for an out. It seems ludicrous that Man Utd would sell a player for substantially less just a year after acquiring him.  Not to mention, that Di Maria truly is world class despite his current troubles.  However, Van Gaal reportedly is not interested in keeping him next season, as he prefers players who pass more and dribble less, which does not necessarily fit Di Maria, though he has shown adaptability. It's not far-fetched, as Man Utd will spend freely regardless, and the club's recent form has emboldened Van Gaal's position. The man they once spent roughly 75m Euro to get is now apparently being dangled about for 60m, or so.

Initial reports link PSG and Barcelona as being very interested. PSG, the perfect example of the nouveau riche, seem to be connected to every trade rumor out there.  Barcelona have a similar profile, but it tends that the rumors for our club more honestly reflect the board's intentions.  We were interested in Di Maria enough to make a bid for him in the past, so it doesn't seem far-fetched.  There are also rumors that he is willing to wait out the transfer ban to play on a team such as ours given his distaste for Manchester, the quality of team, the familiarity with La Liga, and some compatriots already in tow.

I don't see PSG as a real target given his most recent experience with free spending clubs.  That and...does he speak French?  I really feel like the guy just wants to go somewhere that he can speak his native language.  Call it a hunch. On the other hand, he is most comfortable in his natural spot at right-wing, which is currently being patrolled by the best footballer the world has ever seen.  There would be no such competition at PSG.  Would he be worth the fee?  Would he fit in at Barcelona?  Would he help the midfield or hurt its future growth?  Lets look at the pros and cons of signing Di Maria for both the player and the club.  I will mostly be playing up the pros and mocking the cons, as I love Angel Di Maria, but it should be a fun thought experiment regardless.  Here we go!


He is a truly world class midfielder/winger

He is in his prime

He is versatile

Several of his Argentina teammates currently play at FCB

He won't be expected to speak English by anyone

It is unlikely that Manchester hooligans will try to burglarize his house in Barcelona

He will get to live in Barcelona instead of Manchester, which is just...if you've been to both cities you will know what I am implying here (moving from Madrid to Manchester had to be really, really difficult)

He is not too young that he would displace any of the future midfield stars

He does not have to play right wing to be great, proving his ability to play on both sides, as well as more centrally, as long as he is advanced and attacking, and given some consistency

He won't have to deal with Van Gaal's constant tactical tinkering

He would be great in Barcelona's new found ability to play directly and counter when need be

He would add a high level of consistency to the midfield and could also play backup for Neymar or Messi on the wing if need be.

His pace, stamina, and work-rate fit very well into Barcelona's philosophy, and would make up for some of the more attacking players who don't track back as often

As we saw in El Clasico, when we push our full backs forward we are often exposed in the flanks, as Messi does not typically track back to play defense and Rakitic has issues filling in for Messi's/Alves' gaps.  Marcelo abused us because of this.  I think Di Maria could do a good job of fixing this, plus, given that Messi is constantly cutting centrally, Di Maria could essentially act as a false winger, moving from the center to the flank as needed.  He could play on the left side, too.  It's something to consider.

He could get revenge on Madrid for offloading him for shiny new toys after he was instrumental in La Decima, and generally saying he wasn't physically attractive enough for their brand (someone please tell me how Pepe has kept his place for so long?)

His new price would be a steal

He already knows La Liga well


He may displace Rakitic or delay certain youth prospects (I don't see this as a negative, tbh)

He would have to deal with Lucho's constant tactical tinkering

He's already 27 and would basically be 28 by the time we got him (Because spending all that money for 28 year old Luis Suarez was such a waste?)

He likes to dribble more than pass (which I think would actually fit better with this constantly adapting team, and he's also not selfish, just more prone to dribble forward than pass laterally)


I can't come up with any more negatives, but probably because I am biased.  What are your thoughts?  Would you like to see someone like Di Maria come in to the Barcelona midfield?  We usually talk about long term youth prospects such as Koke, Pogba, Veratti, etc.  What about a placeholder for the La Masia kids who is already a world class talent that would love to play here for a few years?  Transfer ban be damned, we can at least dream of the future!

Visca el Barca! Visca l'espectacle!

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