Di Maria tops United’s wishlist

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iol spt aug22 Di Maria Getty Images Manchester United chief executive Ed Woodward is looking for a way to bring Real Madrids Angel di Maria to the club. Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Manchester United will have Robin van Persie back in their squad for their Barclays Premier League game at Sunderland on Sunday.

With Old Trafford chief executive Ed Woodward privately bullish about bringing in two more players before the transfer window closes, he continues to look for a way to bring Angel di Maria to the club and is also monitoring Sami Khedira’s situation at Real Madrid.

Meanwhile United manager Louis van Gaal was given tangible good news yesterday when Van Persie returned to first-team training.

Van Persie has not played for new manager Van Gaal yet after being given extra time to get fit in the wake of his journey to the last four of the World Cup in July.

But the striker trained with Van Gaal’s first team squad yesterday morning and since revealed he is ready to play.

‘Good training session done this morning,’ he said on Twitter.

‘Looking forward to Sunday.’

United fans are growing angry with what they view as their club’s lacklustre approach to signing players and one faction is planning a demonstration at the home game with QPR next month.

However, Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said yesterday that both Di Maria and Khedira could leave. Di Maria has been target for Van Gaal all summer while he knows Khedira from his time in Germany.

Ancelotti said: ‘If Di Maria doesn’t find a solution for his future, we would happily welcome him back once the transfer market is over.

‘He asked to leave, he didn’t accept the proposal for the renewal of the contract. He’s a Real Madrid player and until August 31, as I’ve already said, anything can happen.

‘Khedira is a different situation. He’s not asked to go. He’s rejected an offer to renew, but has a year of contract. We’ll see what happens.’

Van Persie was overlooked for the United captaincy by Van Gaal, even though the two men are close and the 31-year-old was his manager’s skipper during the World Cup.

However, Van Persie is crucial to United’s hopes of success this season and if he thinks he is fit enough Van Gaal will team him up with captain Wayne Rooney against Sunderland.

Van Gaal will hand a debut to defender Marcos Rojo on Sunday.The 24-year-old trained with his new team-mates yesterday and is expected to play on the left of Van Gaal’s defensive three.

‘It is an honour for me to now say that I play for Manchester United,’ said Rojo last night. ‘I am young and am very keen to continue to learn the game, so playing for such an experienced technical coach as Louis van Gaal is a fantastic opportunity for me. I have joined United to work hard with my team-mates to win trophies and I know the manager shares that ambition.’

United were missing nine players when they lost to Swansea at Old Trafford last Saturday. Yesterday they welcomed Jonny Evans and Antonio Valencia back to training, who should help to ease the defensive burden this weekend.

Further tests on Marouane Fellaini’s ankle have revealed no real ligament damage. United hope to move the Belgian on this month.

Meanwhile, Sunderland keeper Vito Mannone, the penalty shootout hero as the Black Cats beat United to reach the Capital One Cup final last January, is out to heap more misery on Van Gaal.

Mannone said: ‘I believe we can win. In the Premier League I don’t think the difference is that massive. We need to play our game and get a result again.’ – Daily Mail


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