Manchester United ready to sell Angel di Maria to PSG for £45m
Paris St-Germain have stepped up efforts to sign Angel di Maria before the Argentinian flies to the United States to begin his pre-season preparations with Manchester United.
Di Maria, who became the most expensive signing in British football history when he moved from Real Madrid for £59.7m last August, is due to arrive in California on Saturday before United's friendly against Barcelona in Santa Clara.
However, PSG believe that a deal can be done to persuade United to sell the 27-year-old, who has struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League.
Olivier Letang, PSG's sporting director, has spoken to Ed Woodward, the United executive vice-chairman, about Di Maria in recent days, but the French champions have yet to meet United's demand for a fee close to the figure they paid.
It is understood, however, that PSG, who will pay at least £45m for the former Benfica player, are prepared to accelerate negotiations over Di Maria to avoid the winger having to meet up with United this weekend.
Louis van Gaal admitted last week that he could not offer a guarantee that Di Maria would remain part of his squad this season, the United manager saying: "We shall see. In football, it is a process and it's a process for Di Maria and Manchester United."
Privately, senior figures at United maintain that Di Maria would be allowed to leave only if he requested a move as they believe his difficulties experienced in Manchester could be overcome.
The player has been unable to thrive under Van Gaal, however, and his wife is unhappy in the North West of England. The couple are unsettled in the city since a burglary at their previous home in January.
If discussions with PSG fail to produce a breakthrough over the next 72 hours, further talks could take place in the US next week, with the two clubs set to meet in the International Champions Cup in Chicago a week today. But while Di Maria's future remains uncertain, the outcome of negotiations with PSG will not affect United's efforts to bolster their squad before the September 1 transfer deadline.
PSG have made it clear that they will not sell Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani as part of any deal for Di Maria, but while Zlatan Ibrahimovic is available for transfer, the Swedish forward's age (33), his £300,000-a-week salary and long-standing friction with Van Gaal would appear to rule out a move to Old Trafford.
Van Gaal admitted in San Jose, however, that he and United were pursuing a mystery striker.
Having identified Wayne Rooney as his number one centre-forward in the wake of Robin van Persie's sale to Fenerbahce, United are attempting to bolster their attacking options with the addition of a versatile forward who can play across the front line, with Barcelona's Pedro the favoured target.
However, Van Gaal has also made it clear that he is only prepared to add a world-class goalscorer to his squad, a player who could com-plement Rooney in a central role, but the Dutchman accepts that interest in Bayern Munich pair Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller is unlikely to bear fruit.
With United having already made four new signings during the closed season, a major move for a marquee signing is still possible should one become available. Despite interest in Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, United have yet to be given encouragement that either player could be prised from Real Madrid.