Both Liverpool and Manchester United stand on the verge of making major transfers, with the Reds close to signing forward Mario Balotelli and the Red Devils believed to be near to securing the services of winger Angel di Maria.
Both men play in different positions, of course, but which will prove to be the better transfer for their new teams?
We take a look:
VALUE FOR MONEY
The fee of just £16m has been one of the most surprising elements of the Balotelli transfer, with the 24-year-old set to move to Liverpool for roughly about a fifth of what the Reds sold Luis Suarez to Barcelona for. In a world where Shane Long cost £12m and Ross McCormack £11m, it looks a steal.
Di Maria’s fee is believed to be approaching the exorbitant figure of £60m, a British record, and that will immediately place a huge amount of pressure on an undoubtedly talented performer. It is a vast sum.
Everyone knows all about Balotelli’s past by now, he has been a loose cannon during his formative football years and he possesses the potential to upset the team spirit at Anfield. Brendan Rodgers has a huge job on his hands.
There has never been any question over Di Maria’s character, and he would appear to be a safe bet to improve both the quality and mood in the Manchester United squad. Everyone loves to see world class players arrive, after all.
Winner: Di Maria
Ever since the departure of Suarez there has been an obsession over whether or not Liverpool would sign a big name forward, and the Reds’ performance in their opening league match against Southampton indicated that they were still missing a cutting edge. Balotelli provides that.
Even though they’ve signed Marcos Rojo, you’d have thought that the centre of defence and the centre of midfield still had to be priority positions for United to fill, and unless Louis van Gaal plans to completely abandon his 3-5-2 plans then they surely need more additions than just Di Maria.
There is a still a feeling that, despite being 24, Balotelli is a player of potential and not outright quality just yet, and although Liverpool could be the setting where his true talent comes through, that is still a question rather than a guarantee.
Di Maria was a key figure in Real Madrid winning the Champions League last season, whilst he also impressed for Argentina in the World Cup. At 26 he is an older player who is probably just reaching his peak, and he’ll instantly become one of the best players in the Premier League.
Winner: Di Maria
Balotelli brings a sense of fun back to Liverpool and will prolong the feelgood factor that they demonstrated for much of last season, and whilst the Di Maria signing is a fantastic one for United, the money involved does make it seem somewhat desperate.
He’ll also need a couple more new teammates to join for this to be considered a good transfer window for United, whilst Liverpool have probably concluded their major transfer business with this marquee arrival.
Balotelli wins 3-2!
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