Barcelona have identified former Real Madrid star Angel Di Maria as a transfer target as they look to replace contract rebel Ousmane Dembele, as per Cuatro (via Barca Universal). While it is understood that the Argentine is also interested in returning to La Liga, the catch is that he will have to take a sizeable pay cut to play for the Catalans next season.
Di Maria's contract with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) expires on June 30 and with no contract extension deal on the table, he will be a free agent come July. He was also in contact with Juventus, who were the leading contenders to sign him on a free transfer (as per Goal) but nothing has been finalized yet.
Di Maria earned about €13 million a year under his contract with PSG, but Barcelona can offer the former Real Madrid winger no more than €2 million a year. If the player agrees to move to Camp Nou, his earnings will take a significant hit.
SPORT reported in January that club president Joan Laporta had imposed a €10 million wage cap on new signings at the club.
Juventus were willing to offer €8 million a year to the Argentine winger but the former Real Madrid star only wanted a one-year contract. As per Goal, the Serie A giants, however, wanted to offer him a two-year deal.
Angel Di Maria wants a move to Real Madrid's arch-rivals Barcelona on one condition
Cuatro also reported that when Angel Di Maria's representatives were contacted by Barcelona, the player stopped negotiations with Juventus. The former Real Madrid star preferred a move to La Liga.
Fabrizio Romano reported on Wednesday that Barcelona manager Xavi personally got in touch with the player. However, the exact nature of their conversation has not been revealed.
The player has only had solid contractual talks with Juventus and the Catalans are still considering making an offer. Goal also reported that talks between Di Maria and Juventus will continue this week, with the Bianconeri hoping to convince the player to join their ranks for two seasons.
Speaking to TyC Sports (h/t 90min) after Argentina's 5-0 win over Estonia, he indicated that he wants to finish his career in his home country. When asked about where he will play in the future, he replied:
"A return to Rosario Central crosses my mind, it's something I've always said I want to do. I didn't play a lot there, I didn't get the chance to enjoy it and give my all. Many people tell me I have already proven myself in Europe but I want to go back there and prove it."
His motivation to return to Argentina is one of the main reasons why he is asking for a one-year deal with the clubs that have been in contact with him.
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