In one of the more dramatic deadline day deals in recent history, Manchester United have signed Radamel Falcao from AS Monaco to a season-long loan for a reported fee of £6 million. The 28-year-old reportedly earns £300,000-a-week, but United will not be expected to cover the full amount.
News of a deal between the two European clubs emanated from South America late Sunday night/early Monday morning.
At first, speculation was the clubs had agreed to a £52 million fee for the Colombia international, who would then join the twenty-time champions of England on a four-year contract. But it appears that news was premature, as the clubs have agreed to a season-long loan with Manchester United holding an option to buy the striker outright next season.
Falcao is reportedly flying into England to have a medical and finalize the transfer later this afternoon.
United were able to fight off league rivals Arsenal and Manchester City to the Colombia international’s signature, with reports believing Arsenal were the player’s third choice behind both Manchester clubs.
In the end, City lost out to United because they were unable to put together a satisfactory offer for Falcao due to the club’s financial fair play restrictions. The reigning Premier League champions had been trying to offload players to reduce wages from their balance sheet. But the club needed to sell three to four players (in less than 24 hours) to have a chance at meeting Falcao’s asking price and were just unable to make that happen.
Also, despite the fact that the club is facing a year (perhaps two) without Champions League football, United’s chances of signing Falcao greatly increased with the arrival of Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid.
The Argentina international is a world class talent and players want to play alongside of him. But Di Maria’s agent is also Jorge Mendes…who happens to represent Falcao.
Although many believed Manchester United were in the market for a midfielder or a defender, once word of Falcao’s availability began to make the rounds this weekend, the club could not resist an opportunity to sign one of the best strikers in the world.
Also, there are reports in the English press speculating that Robin van Persie may be forced to the sidelines for an extended period of time because of a persistent knee injury which requires surgery.
With Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez on his way to Real Madrid and Danny Welbeck rumored to be choosing between suitors, manager Louis van Gaal gave United officials the green light to pursue the signing of Falcao in order to amplify his side’s strike force.
Once the signing of Falcao is complete, the 28-year-old will become United’s sixth signing of the summer. He will join Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Angel Di Maria and Daley Blind in Louis van Gaal’s new-look squad.
Falcao joined AS Monaco for a reported fee of £48 million in May 2013, signing a five-year contract with the French club. The striker would score 11 goals last season during an injury-shortened campaign. But he and fellow-Colombia international James Rodriguez would help lead Les Rouges et Blancs to Champions League qualification.
Prior to his time in France, Falcao spent two seasons at Atletico Madrid where he scored 52 goals in 68 appearances; while leading the Spanish side to the Copa del Rey, UEFA Super Cup and Europa League title.
He spent the previous two seasons at Porto, scoring 41 goals during his brief career with the Portuguese giants. Falcao was the focal point for the Porto side which won two Taca de Portugals and Portuguese Super Cups; as well as a Primeira Liga and Europa League title.