It was all of two weeks ago that Juventus’ potential free-agent deals for Paul Pogba and Ángel Di Maria looked like they were essentially a certainty, with the “final stage” line being brought out to describe how negotiations are going. Juve’s representatives flew out to London to meet with the Di Maria camp ahead of the Finalissima, another step that we thought would be what cleared the way for the Argentine to join Juventus.
Then Barcelona entered the chat.
And now there’s not that level of certainty a week later.
According to Goal Italia’s Romeo Agresti on Tuesday, There’s ‘increasing negative feelings’ from Juventus when it comes to signing the 34-year-old Di Maria. Juventus, per Agresti, want a quick response from Di Maria — as if you haven’t noticed, there’s a whole lot of other decisions that probably depend on him signing with the Bianconeri or not — and playing the current waiting game hasn’t exactly made things look all that well. That likely has a lot to do with Barcelona coming in and trying to lure Di Maria back to Spain, where he played for Real Madrid from 2010 to 2014.
Italian journalist Nicolo Shcira said later Tuesday that Juventus would like an answer from Di Maria “within the next 48 hours.”
According to Sky Sport Italia’s Fabrizio Romano on Tuesday, Di Maria is only seeking a one-year deal no matter if it’s from Juventus or Barcelona. Juventus, as has been reported for weeks now, have offered Di Maria a one-year deal with an option for a second season with a salary upward of €7.5 million, which would make him one of the highest-paid players at the club.
Romano says Di Maria will make his final decision “soon.”
Just how soon that “soon” is seems to be the sticking point with Juventus right now. As much as the Pogba deal is reportedly at that final stage, it’s no longer the case for Di Maria. With Barcelona now in the mix — Romano adds that Barca manager Xavi has chatted with the Argentine winger to discuss terms of the deal — there’s now a country that Di Maria knows well as compared to moving to Italy for what could be the final season of his European career. The sense of familiarity could very well be what is pulling him toward a return to Spain.
Barcelona, like Juventus, have attacking players to replace this summer as they are letting Ousmane Dembélé walk on a free transfer after a long-standing contract dispute ended with no happy resolution. (Sound familiar, folks?) And who could blame Di Maria for choosing Barcelona’s project over Juventus based on what the two clubs currently look like right now — there’s still a lot to fix at Juve, with that likely to not totally be accomplished in just one transfer window.