Manchester United hope Real Madrid winger Angel di Maria will fly to their rescue on Monday after another dispiriting afternoon of Barclays Premier League football at Sunderland.

United are desperate for new players and they were in discussions with the Spanish giants over the details of the 26-year-old’s transfer, with Real trying to edge a proposed £68million transfer closer to the £75m mark at the last minute.

However, both clubs have a firm desire to get the deal done and Di Maria has already said his goodbyes at the Bernabeu.

He hopes to arrive in the North-West on Monday or Tuesday if talks are concluded to put his name to a British record transfer that will finally bring some light to United’s gloomy early season.

Sunday’s 1-1 draw at Sunderland leaves Louis van Gaal’s team with one point from two games and the scale of the challenge facing the Dutch veteran is clear.

Van Gaal said: ‘The players are disappointed because we thought we would win — but still we have one point. That is not good enough for Manchester United.

‘I thought we lost a lot of balls in situations that I would not expect. When you lose a lot of balls you have to run after the ball also to win it back. You are not in the match. That was the first half. In the second half we were dominating but you need creative passing in the last third and that was also not so good.

‘We were dominating without creating chances and that is the purpose of the game. That is disappointing.