Angel Di Maria, the World Cup-winning Argentina teammate of Lionel Messi, is in the process of joining his compatriot at Inter Miami. The winger is currently playing for Portuguese side Benfica. His contract with Benfica expires at the end of the 2023/24 season, allowing him to be free to join any club he desires. Now, the leading candidate to bring on Di Maria is the Major League Soccer club that continues to make headlines.

According to Leo Paradizo of ESPN Argentina, Di Maria and Inter Miami are already starting discussions about joining the MLS club in July. Details regarding how long Di Maria would stay at Inter Miami and how much he would make are still far from finalized. Regardless, the fact that the winger and club are in talks shows Miami’s intent to bring another international star to the team.

Inter Miami, and Major League Soccer as a whole, have benefited mightily from having Lionel Messi and his teammates join the league. Subscriptions to MLS Season Pass skyrocketed upon his arrival last summer. In the current season, Inter Miami’s road games have drawn major crowds. In Kansas City, over 72,000 fans showed up at Arrowhead Stadium to watch Inter Miami defeat Sporting Kansas City. Most recently, Inter Miami had a game at Gillette Stadium against the New England Revolution. Over 65,000 fans attended to set a soccer record for the stadium. Most of those fans want to see the all-star team Inter Miami has assembled.

If Di Maria makes the MLS switch to Inter Miami, he will not just link up with Messi. Luis Suarez, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba also play for Inter Miami. While Di Maria has never donned the same jersey as those three, he has certainly shared the pitch with them.

Inter Miami must make room for Di Maria

Inter Miami will have to work around the salary cap MLS has imposed if it is to sign Di Maria as a free agent. MLS sides are allowed three designated players. Club owners can pay these stars any amount they want, and it only counts against the salary cap by a certain amount. However, Inter Miami has already used each of its Designated Player spots. Lionel Messi occupies one, and the other two go to Sergio Busquets and Leonardo Campana.

On one hand, Inter Miami could deal with the contract of Leonardo Campana to open a Designated Player spot. That would ensure Inter Miami’s owners can pay Di Maria whatever the Argentine desires. The other plan would be for Di Maria to take on a team-friendly contract. Take Jordi Alba or Luis Suarez as examples. They are not on Designated Player contracts. While they do make more than most other MLS players, it is a stark contrast from what they made in their European heydays.

Gauging success if Inter Miami gets another international star

Angel Di Maria certainly makes Inter Miami better. However, his position in the squad is interesting. Di Maria generally plays out of the right side, the same as Lionel Messi. Yet, with the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner unlikely to relinquish that spot, Inter Miami head coach Tata Martino could swap Di Maria out to the left side. In the 2022 World Cup Final for Argentina, Messi started on the right, while Di Maria occupied the left. Therefore, it would not be an unfamiliar spot for the current Benfica winger.

Inter Miami currently leads the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer. Even though he would not join the side until the commencement of the Leagues Cup, adding Di Maria would only reinforce Miami’s spot as the favorite to win the MLS Cup in 2024. Plus, with the development of Inter Miami’s new stadium at Miami Freedom Park, having as many stars as possible on hand can make that new venue even more noteworthy.