Angel Di Maria wanted to join Paris Saint-Germain before going to Manchester United, according to the president of the French champions, who also said he will seek changes to UEFA's financial fair play (FFP) rules.
Di Maria, 26, joined Manchester United from Real Madrid for a British transfer record fee of 59.7 million pounds late in the summer transfer window, but could instead have been wearing PSG colours this season.
PSG chief Nasser Al Khelaifi admitted at the Aug. 7 news conference to unveil new signing David Luiz that Argentina international Di Maria was "too expensive," but insists that the player wanted to come to the Parc des Princes.
"Angel Di Maria wanted to come here," Al Khelaifi told RMC. "I met Florentino Perez, the Real president, twice, but we didn't reach agreement on the transfer fee."
PSG's room for manoeuvre was reduced as a consequence of UEFA's punishments, handed down for the club's infringement of FFP regulations. With European football's governing body dictating PSG could only spend a maximum of 50 million euros, the French club used that on agreeing to sign David Luiz from Chelsea before the World Cup started.
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They also brought in Serge Aurier from Toulouse on loan with an automatic purchase option activated next summer, a mechanism to allow PSG to meet UEFA's demands. PSG were also fined and will play in this season's Champions League with a smaller squad than their rivals.
Al Khelaifi denied media speculation the Di Maria deal had fallen through as a direct consequence of FFP, but acknowledged he is working to have the system altered in order to help nouveau riche clubs challenge the established elite.
"FFP is not the reason that we didn't buy Angel Di Maria," the Qatari insisted. "But FFP is not fair. It's made to protect the big clubs. For new investors, it's a big problem. I have a good relationship with the [UEFA] president, Michel Platini. We're talking to UEFA to get the rules changed."