At the time of writing Angel Di Maria has been snapped up by almost 50,000 FPL managers in the last 24 hours. At £9.5M he’s come straight in as one of the most expensive midfielders in the game.
Our initial reaction on Twitter is below and the general response was that we were wrong.
Quick thoughts on Mario & ADM in #FPL DiMaria £9.5M - no way Balotelli £10M - tempting... but wait and see— insideFPL (@insidefantasypl) August 27, 2014
So, why is there “no way” we’d buy Angel Di Maria for our FPL team?
Well, it’s basically in his stats from the last four seasons with Real Madrid. In the table below you’ll find his goals, assists, cards, etc. We’ve then estimated his total fantasy points based on the rules of FPL, as well as Points per Game (PPG). We’ve awarded one bonus points per goal. If we were more generous and added 2 BP it wouldn’t make any difference. We’ve not added clean sheets points, again these aren’t all that significant.
We’ve talked about Point Targets for your Fantasy team in our post about Budget Forwards earlier this week. From our research over the years we’d be looking at around 6 PPG for a £9M midfielder, roughly what Eden Hazard scored last season on the back of 15 goals and 10 assists. Di Maria will be lucky to break 5 PPG based on his career to date, points you can probably get by signing Baines or Ivanovic for £7M instead. Or Sigurdsson for £6.3. Or playing James Chester £4.5M just in home games.
We know Di Maria is not playing for Real Madrid anymore so things could change at Manchester United. Di Maria’s big selling point is his assist stats. 17 assists last season was the highest in Europe… but this was playing with Ronaldo, Benzema and Gareth Bale in a team that scored over 100 goals. United only scored 64 last season.
Di Maria’s lack of goal threat however is the standout problem to us. It’s all about depth and where he’ll play for United. At the moment there are two World Class centre forwards who will be way ahead of everyone else in the team when it comes to getting goals. After these Juan Mata, playing centrally behind the strikers, has to be expected to be United’s 3rd highest scorer come the end of the season. The only way we can see Di Maria getting regular goals is if Van Gaal switches to a 4-3-3 and Di Maria gets an advanced role on the left of a central striker. He may well do this, the 3-4-1-2 does not look too hot right now, but he’s gone on record recently that one of his reasons for choosing his current formation is to get the best out of his two strikers.
Boss on 3-5-2: "It fits in more players. When I play 4-3-3, I must choose between Rooney & van Persie, for example." pic.twitter.com/t75ZYakKfe— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 24, 2014
In conclusion, we can’t see Di Maria suddenly becoming a player who can score 10-15 goals from midfield. He’s not been brought into the team to score goals. He’ll get assists for sure, but that’s enough for us. At insideFPL we like to put the focus first and foremost on goals for elite midfiedlers; our research has shown that the truly top midfielders in FPL are goal scorers. Think Bale, YYT, Lampard, Hazard. We’ll be more than happy to change our minds if Di Maria shows significant Goal Threat - we’re not stubborn and think he’s a fantastic player who'll do well for United. But until then, we have to put him well behind the likes of likes of Ramsey, Sterling and Hazard in the elite midfield pecking order.