Manchester United have broken the British transfer record by signing Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid for $99m, as the club suffers its worst start to a season in more than 20 years. 

The 26-year-old's move on Tuesday, on a five-year contract, shatters the previous British record fee of $81m paid by Chelsea to sign Spain striker Fernando Torres from Liverpool in 2011.

The announcement came hours before the Red Devils were thrashed 4-0 in the Capital One Cup by the MK Dons, a team from the third tier of English football.

"Manchester United is delighted to announce that Angel Di Maria has completed his transfer for a British record fee of $99m," a club statement said.

Di Maria was one of Madrid's key players last season when the Spanish team became European champions for a 10th time. He rejected the offer of a new contract during the close season and asked to leave.

"I have thoroughly enjoyed my time in Spain and there were a lot of clubs interested in me, but United is the only club that I would have left Real Madrid for," Di Maria said.

Spending spree

Di Maria's move takes United's spending to about $215m in the summer transfer window as England's most successful club seeks to revive its fortunes under new manager Louis van Gaal. 

Van Gaal, has already bought England left-back Luke Shaw, Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera and Di Maria's Argentina team-mate, Marcos Rojo.

Manchester United lost three defenders in the summer - Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra - an area that has looked vulnerable in a 2-1 home loss to Swansea and a 1-1 draw at Sunderland in the two league games so far in the Dutchman's reign.

Source: Agencies