RADAMEL Falcao finally sealed a Â£6m season-long loan move to Manchester United at 1.30am, in the transfer windowâ€™s most eye-catching deal of deadline day, after the club were granted an extension to conclude the move.
With the strikerâ€™s salary of Â£190,000 a week being paid by United the agreement was set to cost the club at least Â£16m, with the 20-times champions having an option to buy Falcao next summer from Monaco.
The 28-year-old Falcao had arrived at the clubâ€™s AON Training Complex after 6pm, more than an hour later than his scheduled touchdown at Manchester Airport, before his medical and the discussion of personal terms. The deal, though, was not confirmed for some seven hours. In the meantime Danny Welbeck had departed for Arsenal for Â£16m and earlier another forward, Javier HernÃ¡ndez, had gone on loan to Real Madrid.
As Falcaoâ€™s salary is tax-free at Monaco and United denied they were matching his net take-home of Â£10m a year, it may be the French club agreed to pay the 50% tax to ensure the striker will suffer no lost earnings. Manchester City and Arsenal, who were also offered Falcao by his agent, Jorge Mendes, were quoted the same numbers before they turned down the deal.
â€œI am delighted Radamel has joined us on loan this season,â€ Unitedâ€™s manager, Louis van Gaal, told the clubâ€™s website. â€œHe is one of the most prolific goalscorers in the game. His appearance-to-goal ratio speaks for itself and, when a player of this calibre becomes available, it is an opportunity not to be missed.â€
The 11pm deadline had come and gone without United confirming Falcao as the latest addition to Louis van Gaalâ€™s squad. The forwardâ€™s third-party ownership â€“ he is listed on Doyen Sports website as a player the investment group has a stake in, as is his prospective new team-mate, Marcos Rojo â€“ may have been a reason why there was no swift resolution.
Falcaoâ€™s arrival takes Unitedâ€™s summer spend to more than Â£150m. He has recently returned from a serious knee injury that ruled him out of Colombiaâ€™s World Cup campaign and his proposed signing is a further signal of Unitedâ€™s intent to regain a Champions League place, at the very least.
â€œI am delighted to be joining Manchester United on loan this season,â€ Falcao said. â€œManchester United is the biggest club in the world and is clearly determined to get back to the top. I am looking forward to working with Louis van Gaal and contributing to the teamâ€™s success at this very exciting period in the clubâ€™s history.â€
United had been considering a move for Falcao since Van Gaalâ€™s arrival at the club, but had not thought of his signing as a priority. However, with interest from City and Arsenal building, United moved to secure the Colombian.
With Van Gaal playing a two-striker system that has Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie as the first-choice forwards, how Falcao will fit into the side is uncertain. The manager may feel that given Van Persieâ€™s chequered injury record he requires another elite striker in Falcao. Van Gaal may also decide to change the formation to 4-3-3 that would have Van Persie, Falcao and Rooney up front or move the latter into midfield.
Talks over Falcao triggered the departure of HernÃ¡ndez, with Madrid confirming the move to Spain on a season-long loan. As with Falcao, Real have first-buying option on the Mexican at the end of the season.
â€œReal Madrid and Manchester United have reached an agreement for the loan of the player Javier HernÃ¡ndez, who will be tied to the club for the current season,â€ Real said in a statement on their website.
After a fine debut season when HernÃ¡ndez scored 20 goals in all competitions, he played mostly as a substitute. This year he helped Mexico reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Brazil, scoring in the 3-1 group-stage win over Croatia.
On a busy day for United, the club confirmed that Daley Blind had passed his medical and agreed personal terms to officially join. The 24-year-old utility player is expected to be fielded mainly as a holding player and is also able to operate as a left-sided defender.
A statement said: â€œManchester United is delighted to announce that Daley Blind has completed his transfer for a fee of Â£14m. Daley joins on a four-year contract with the option to extend for a further year. Blind, 24, came through the ranks of the Ajax youth system, making his senior debut in 2008 for his hometown club. He has 19 caps for the Netherlands and was voted Dutch player of year for the 2013-14 season.â€
Blind said: â€œIt is a real honour to sign for Manchester United. I have been at Ajax since I was seven years old and I will always have very fond memories of the club and of my time there.
â€œLouis van Gaal is a tremendously talented coach, I have worked with him at Ajax and also for the Netherlands national team and I cannot wait to work with him at the biggest club in the world.â€
Van Gaal said: â€œI am delighted Daley has signed for the club. He is a very intelligent and versatile footballer that can play in many positions. Daley is a great reader of the game, he has played under my philosophy over a number of years and he will be a great addition to the team.â€
Tom Cleverley ended up staying at Old Trafford despite offers from elsewhere. The midfielder drew interest from Everton and Aston Villa had also wanted to take him yet the 24-year-old, who earns a basic of Â£30,000 a week plus lucrative add-ons, stayed at the club where his contract expires at the end of the season. – The Guardian