Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal shrewdly forced Paris St-Germain to pay an extra $4 million for Angel Di Maria after the 27-year-old Argentinian posted a picture of himself with the French club’s owner in Qatar – before the deal was confirmed.
Since the transfer was incomplete, a furious van Gaal demanded the extra cash as compensation. Di Maria finally moved for around $69 million.
Di Maria had a medical check-up in the Qatari capital Doha on Tuesday. He had been given permission by United only to talk to the French champions, but not to fly to Qatar.
Di Maria had already been fined two weeks’ wages by van Gaal for failing to join United on their recent U.S. pre-season tour.
United are relieved to sell Di Maria, who cost a British record $90 million last summer, but his form did not live up to expectations and he never settled after a burglary at his home.
Meanwhile, United are in the process of completing a $30 million deal for Barcelona forward Pedro, who is reluctant to leave the European champions but wants more playing time, which has been limited thanks to their forward line of Lionel Messi, Naymar and Luis Suarez, three of the best players in the world.
Van Gaal offered Pedro a role alongside Wayne Rooney and Memphis Depay in a new-look forward line as an incentive to make the switch.
United will have an excess of strikers if Pedro arrives and they may ease competition for places by selling Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez who was on loan to Real Madrid last term.
West Ham have made an improved bid of $18 million for the Mexico international but Hernandez and his agent think that figure is too high and should be halved to ensure a quick exit.
Another United forward, winger Adnan Januzaj, 20, may go to Sunderland on a season-long loan deal.
Despite his best efforts, van Gaal is resigned to losing goalkeeper David de Gea to Real Madrid and is ready to hand a surprise debut to Sergio Romero this weekend against Tottenham.