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Football: Manchester United agree British record fee for Di Maria - Reports


A file picture Real Madrid's Argentinian midfielder Angel di Maria celebrates after scoring during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King's Cup) final football match against FC Barcelona at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia. photo - AFP

London: Manchester United have agreed a British record transfer fee of £59.7 million ($98 million, 75 million euros) to sign Argentina midfielder Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid according to British media reports on Monday.

Several media outlets, including the BBC, reported that United have finally sealed a deal for Di Maria after several days of negotiations with the Spanish club.

The 26-year-old was said to have been seen arriving at United's training ground on Monday evening as he prepares to put pen to paper on a reported five-year contract worth an estimated £200,000-a-week.

Di Maria's move to Old Trafford is expected to be completed on Tuesday and will shatter the previous British record fee of £50 million paid by Chelsea to sign Spain striker Fernando Torres from Liverpool in 2011.

United last broke the British transfer record when they paid Leeds £29.1 million for Rio Ferdinand in 2002 and the deal will also eclipse the club record £37.1 million they splashed out to sign Juan Mata from Chelsea in January.

Real manager Carlo Ancelotti revealed over the weekend that Di Maria had said goodbye to his teammates and he was absent from the Madrid squad as they beat Cordoba on Monday.

His arrival in Manchester would be the headline deal of United's overhaul under new manager Louis van Gaal, who has already spent a combined £72 million England left-back Luke Shaw, Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera and Di Maria's Argentina teammate Marcos Rojo, who is also left-footed like him.

Assuming the transfer is finalised on schedule, Di Maria, capped 52 times, could make his debut at Burnley on Saturday as van Gaal looks to revitalise a United team still without a win after the first two games of the new Premier League campaign.

Former Benfica star Di Maria has an impressive pedigree after winning the Champions League with Real last season and the Spanish title in 2012.

He was also named on Fifa's 10-man shortlist for the best player at the recent World Cup where Argentina reached the final, although he was unable to play in that game or the semifinal because of an injury he suffered in the quarterfinal win over Belgium.

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