A week after signing Angel Di Maria, Manchester United persuaded striker Radamel Falcao to join the faltering club in European football’s most eye-catching switch as the summer transfer window closed.
Falcao’s season-long loan from Monaco is set to cost United around $25 million for the salary and fee to the French club, although there is an option to then sign the Colombia forward permanently.
The record 20-time English champions have been frantically trying to strengthen its squad in an attempt to halt an alarming decline over the last year. After a seventh-place finish under the ill-fated reign of David Moyes, new manager Louis van Gaal has failed to win any of his first four games, including a humiliating League Cup loss at third-tier side MK Dons.
“(Falcao) is one of the most prolific goalscorers in the game,” Van Gaal said. “His appearance-to-goal ratio speaks for itself and, when a player of this caliber becomes available, it is an opportunity not to be missed.”
With the versatile Netherlands international David Blind also joining Monday for 14 million pounds ($23 million) from Ajax to be reunited with World Cup coach Van Gaal, United’s summer spending reached around $250 million.
United recouped $27 million by selling striker Danny Welbeck to Arsenal on Monday, while another forward, Javier Hernandez, went on a season-long loan to Real Madrid.
Falcao adds another world-class player to striking options that already includes Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
“Manchester United is the biggest club in the world and is clearly determined to get back to the top,” said Falcao, who left Monaco a year after joining from Atletico Madrid for 60 million euros (then $78 million). “I am looking forward to working with Louis van Gaal and contributing to the team’s success at this very exciting period in the club’s history.”
The challenge is for United to prevent neighbour Manchester City becoming the dominant force in England after winning two of the last three Premier League titles. It appeared that City rejected the chance to pursue Falcao’s signature, with the champions’ deadline-day activity restricted to outgoings, including striker Alvaro Negredo joining Valencia on loan for the season.