Di Maria tops shirt sales

The Argentina star, 27, arrived at Old Trafford from Real Madrid for ??59.7m in August and easily beat two other summer imports – Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez and Chelsea striker Diego Costa – into second and third respectively.

A spokesperson for Sports Direct, said: “These statistics do suggest just how important sponsorship and image rights are for a club when financing a marquee signing. Based on shirt sales alone clubs would struggle to recoup the money they splash on the world???s best talent.

“There???s no doubt that these figures will have an impact on the European heavyweights of football as it appears that spending what could be dubbed as a ridiculous amount of money on a player could turn out to be a tactical decision.”

Some of the big names that failed to make the top 10 were Harry Kane, Cesc Fabregas, Oscar, Joe Hart and Raheem Sterling – while Newcastle striker Ayoze Perez clinched 11th place.

Top 10 Player Shirts Sales 2014/2015

Angel di Maria (Man Utd) – 9.59%

Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) – 3.80%

Diego Costa (Chelsea) – 2.27%

David de Gea (Man Utd) – 2.16%

Eden Hazard (Chelsea) – 2.10%

Wayne Rooney (Man Utd) – 2.09%

Radamel Falcao (Man Utd) – 1.99%

Steven Gerrard (Liverpool) – 1.76%

Sergio Aguero (Man City) – 1.46%

Robin van Persie (Man Utd) – 1.20%

A recent study by??Euromericas Sports Marketing showed the impact of shirt sales at Real Madrid – suggesting??345,000 James Rodriguez shirts were sold within 48 hours of him signing for the La Liga giants, equating to around ??21m in revenue.