Angel di Maria and Robin van Persie have both been linked with moves away from Manchester United this summer after underwhelming seasons – but would Louis van Gaal’s team really be better off without the pair?
With the help of WhoScored.com, we check the stats to compare how United performed with and without the big-name duo…
Angel Di Maria
British transfer fee record holder Di Maria appeared to fall out of favour with Louis van Gaal after his mindless dismissal in the FA Cup against Arsenal and the Argentine has been linked with a swift exit from the Premier League, with PSG among potential suitors. However, it may be fair to suggest the former Real Madrid playmaker hasn’t exactly been given a fair crack of the whip this season.
Indeed, when Di Maria has played he’s generally done what he was signed to do: lay on chances for the forward line. Only Cesc Fabregas (18) and Santi Cazorla (11) registered more assists in the Premier League than the United man (10), and when you factor in playing time, Di Maria averaged an assist only marginally less often (every 164.5 minutes) than Fabregas (every 160.6 minutes).
The 27-year old began the season in fine form and relished a role in a midfield three that he had become accustomed to at international level. While a rating of 7.00 from WhoScored.com over the season was modest that figure was up at 7.99 from seven appearances in central midfield. Given United picked up more points per game in the 20 matches Di Maria started (1.9) than the 18 he didn’t, perhaps he warrants a second chance?
Robin van Persie
While Louis van Gaal’s arrival at Old Trafford was expected to reignite compatriot Van Persie’s United career after a disappointing season under David Moyes, things haven’t really panned out how either would have expected.
It’s worth noting that the former Arsenal man saw his rating from WhoScored.com rise slightly, from 7.06 last season to 7.11 this, but his figures remain way down on a sensational debut season at Old Trafford when he picked up a score of 7.71. His 10 goals this season have come from 76 shots, with a conversion rate of 13.2 per cent indicative of the fact that his prolificacy is on the wane.
United won just 12 of the 25 games Van Persie started this season (48 per cent) compared to eight of the 13 he didn’t (61.5 per cent). With injuries and fitness concerns to consider – the striker was restricted to just 25 starts – finding a fresh pair of legs up front may well be on the agenda for Van Gaal, Sky News reports.