Premier League - Real Madrid 'up Di Maria asking price to £75m'

Angel Di Maria's move to Manchester United has a fresh twist with reports suggesting that Real Madrid have upped their asking price to £75 million (€94m).

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Premier League - Real Madrid 'up Di Maria asking price to £75m'
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Argentina's Angel di Maria runs during a team soccer training session at the arena di Corinthians stadium in Sao Paulo (Reuters)

On Saturday, it emerged that United were on the brink of signing the Argentine star for £56m but it remains to be seen if Louis van Gaal's side will maintain their interest at the new eye-popping sum.

Late on Saturday night, The Guardian's chief football writer Daniel Taylor, who is known to have strong sources in the Manchester area, was one of the first to suggest the Di Maria figure might be higher than first reported.

However, now both Sky Sports and the Daily Mail are reporting that Real want £75m for the player – a figure that would make Di Maria the third most expensive player of all-time after Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Despite the prospect of an increased fee, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti confirmed Di Maria was on the verge of leaving.

"Di Maria has not trained with us today and he came in to say goodbye to the players and people at the club," Ancelotti told a news conference in Madrid.

"We are thankful for what he has done at this club. There is nothing official yet but it is being sorted out. I am very happy with the work that he has done for Madrid but we have the chance to replace him well.

"The decision is his and the club has done what it could to keep him here but he thought differently and so good luck to him."

The Mail's report suggests that Real president Florentino Perez wants the increased sum to help finance a deal for Monaco striker Radamel Falcao.

The sale of Di Maria would also free up the non-EU space they would need in their squad to bring in the Colombian striker.

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Earlier this summer, United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward boasted that United were ready and willing to break transfer records if new manager Van Gaal decided they needed to.

"Whether it's a record or not doesn't really resonate with us," Woodward said.

"What resonates is a top, top elite player that the manager wants that is going to be a star for Manchester United.

"We are in a very strong financial position. We can make big signings."

ESPN's Alex Shaw said on Twitter that United would still land Di Maria even if the fee remained 'an issue' and would also sign Ajax defender Daley Blind, plus one more player.

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Di Maria cost Real £20m from Benfica in 2010 and he was a key part of the team that won the club's 10th European Cup last term.

The 26-year-old was linked with an exit from Madrid last summer following the £86m signing of Gareth Bale, but it was Mesut Ozil who was sacrificed.

However, another summer of expensive recruitment - with James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos coming in - means Di Maria has now been judged as expendable, despite claiming 17 assists in 34 Liga games last season.

Di Maria was initially used as a winger. However, he was brilliant last season in a more central role under Carlo Ancelotti.

United have already spent around £75m on three players this summer with Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo coming in.

Whether they would be willing to spend that amount again on Di Maria alone remains to be seen, but with just over a week left in the transfer window, they will not have long to make up their minds.

[UNITED 'ON THE BRINK OF DI MARIA DEAL]

OUR VIEW

Woodward is supposedly a master negotiator, but if Real manage to get him to sign a cheque this big you would have to say it is a masterstroke on their part.

Di Maria is a fine player, and would be a great signing, but not at such a silly high price. He is an exciting player, but not the type of global superstar that would make much of the money back in endorsements and shirt sales.

You suspect Woodward's comments about United's bottomless pit of money is coming back to haunt him, because Real can smell desperation on United's part and want to milk them dry.

This could turn into a huge game of chicken over the next week, and if United don’t make the right moves, the consequences could be massive but it does still look like the deal will get done, one way or the other.

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