sport

Neville: Di Maria a great fit

Sky Sports football pundit Gary Neville believes Angel di Maria is exactly the type of signing Louis Van Gaal needs in order to turn around Manchester United's fortunes.

The Red Devils' manager has often cited a lack of balance in the squad he inherited from predecessor David Moyes and Neville believes the Argentine's arrival will help address that problem.

According to Sky sources, the Real Madrid winger is scheduled to fly into Manchester on Monday afternoon for talks with United officials over his British transfer record move.

Players like Juan Mata and Shinji Kagawa have been miscast in wide areas in recent seasons at Old Trafford while more traditional wingers such as Nani, Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have underperformed.

Neville believes Di Maria will provide the type of wing play that United have been accustomed to in the past from stars like Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham and George Best – all of whose footsteps Di Maria will follow in by wearing the legendary No.7 shirt at Old Trafford.

"He can run and Manchester United haven't got any pace in wide areas," he said. "It is incredible.

"That is what the club has been built on for the last 10 to 15 years – being able to get from box to box quickly, being able to spring on teams, having people that can dribble and are quick in the final third.

"They have Adnan Januzaj but they really have lost that variety.

"Last year the signings didn't fit the bill for me in terms of what United are and the philosophy. This fits the bill if they can get Di Maria."

Van Gaal has adopted a 3-5-2 formation at Old Trafford in order to get Mata into the team with Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.

This has pushed central midfield and central defence higher up the list of positions which need to be addressed in the minds of some United fans but Neville argues a world-class winger is just as important.

"The fans say a central midfielder or a centre-back is needed more, but I don't see any difference with a winger in that they need all three," he said.

"This is the first part of that - the correct signing, if they can get him."