Scholes: United must keep Di Maria

Manchester United cannot afford to lose attacker Angel di Maria, according to former midfielder Paul Scholes.

Paul Scholes has urged former club Manchester United to keep hold of Angel di Maria, despite the Argentina international's difficult first season in the Premier League.

Di Maria - a British-record signing from Real Madrid - made a bright start to life in England following his £59.7million transfer but his form dipped dramatically as United qualified for the UEFA Champions League play-off round via a fourth-place finish.

The 27-year-old lost his spot in the starting line-up after being sent off against Arsenal in March's FA Cup tie, only returning to the XI for United's final match of the season at Hull City last week.

Paris Saint-Germain, who hold a long-standing interest, and Bayern Munich are reportedly interested in prising Di Maria away from Manchester, but Scholes says Louis van Gaal must retain the Argentine.

"A good start but, for £59.7m, the hope was that he would give United much more," Scholes wrote in his column for the Independent.

"I accept he has had problems off the pitch settling into life in Manchester, but there is no way he can see the season as anything other than a disappointment.

"This was, after all, the best player in last season's Champions League final. Nevertheless, the quality is there and I don't think United can afford to lose him.

"They need that kind of player if they are to compete at the highest level in the Champions League. Let’s see what next season brings."

Di Maria, who will feature for Argentina at next month's Copa America in Chile, registered 10 assists and scored three goals in 27 Premier League appearances last term.