Pitchside

Three United players who will thrive alongside Di Maria

Pitchside

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It appears likely that Angel Di Maria will start when Manchester United travel to Burnley this weekend, in what will be his debut for his new club.

The record signing is perfect for Louis van Gaal and United, with his pace and energy giving the whole club a major lift.

[FULL STORY: MAN UNITED SIGN ANGEL DI MARIA]

Di Maria is likely to start in a front three with Van Gaal switching his tactics from the original 3-5-2 to 4-3-3 in an attempt to win his first Premier League game.

Di Maria has signed a five-year contract with his transfer fee a reported £59.7 million – a British record.

His move takes United’s spending to over £200 million in the last 12 months and there are rumours of more arrivals before the end of the window.

Real Madrid are sad to see Di Maria leave but the Argentine is ready for his new club and with his arrival comes the improvement of other squad members.

We take a look at three United players who could particularly benefit from his presence in the team.

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1) Robin van Persie

With Di Maria recording the most assists in Europe's top five leagues last season (17) it would be no surprise if the Dutchman starts firing on all cylinders.

At Arsenal, when he played alongside Theo Walcott, Van Persie benefited from the winger's pace and ability to run past defenders. This allowed the 31-year-old to find space in the box and fire home many goals.

United right now look slow and disjointed. Rooney and Van Persie both like coming deep for the ball and the wings lack pace.

Di Maria should now start in a front three and will attempt to beat his man delivering dangerous crosses for the strikers.

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Robin van Persie's Man United goals in his debut season

His proven record to assist on a regular basis will increase should United play him in the right position – right wing.

Di Maria enjoys cutting inside on his left foot and his powerful shot will be met with some easy tap-ins should any goalkeeper spill his efforts.

The Argentine is also unselfish. Developing his game like Arjen Robben has in recent years is what we have seen from the 26-year-old.

He set up Cristiano Ronaldo for a number of his goals and Van Persie will now be hoping that the record signing can do the same, starting this weekend.

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2) Ander Herrera

The midfielder has settled into Old Trafford pretty well but a minor injury has stopped his development. He was taken off during United’s first game against Swansea and many fans were left fuming with the decision before he picked up an injury in training.

Herrera, 25, is a quick passer of the ball and helps the team keep control of a game - against Swansea he completed 88% of his passes.

His ability to find gaps in the midfield area make him dangerous when given time on the ball and he will improve with Di Maria alongside him.

Teams have so far coped with United ‘s slow build-up play but with the likes of Di Maria and Januzaj on the flanks, Herrera could now flourish with more options available to him.

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Ander Herrera passes v Swansea

So far the Spaniard has been looking for Juan Mata, but with the dip in form of the number 10, Herrera will be looking to spread the ball wide to give the wingers a chance of gaining yards up the pitch.

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3) Adnan Januzaj

Hit top form is what the young Belgian is looking to do and being guided by Di Maria only stand him in good stead.

Both left footed, Januzaj will be training alongside one of the best wingers in the world with a view to emulate the Argentine’s career.

Januzaj has come off the bench twice in the 1-1 draw with Sunderland and the defeat to Swansea so far this season.

[REVEALED: UNITED HAVE MOST EXPENSIVE SQUAD EVER]

Playing in central midfield last weekend, the 19 year-old looked out of depth and Van Gaal’s 3-5-2 formation didn’t seem to help his cause. Furthermore, the Belgian has completed 83% of his passes this season, completing five of his nine take-ons this season.

But now with Di Maria expecting to play on the right of a front three, Januzaj could be given an opportunity on the left with Van Persie through the middle.

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This attack would be threatening and could give defenders an almighty scare should they click. Rooney, who is the new captain could be deployed as the number 10 giving Juan Mata something to think about.

The Spaniard has struggled to deliver so far and many believe his style slows United’s play down. Even though he is composed on the ball, Mata could find himself exempt should Januzaj be offered a chance in the starting eleven.

What we do know is Di Maria is a guaranteed starter, but what we don’t know is where he will play. On Saturday we could find out.

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