Manchester United have made an early claim for what will surely be the biggest piece of business on transfer deadline day by agreeing a loan deal for Radamel Falcao. According to various sources, the Monaco striker will cost United a £6 million loan for the rest of the season, providing he agrees personal terms and completes a medical in Manchester on Monday ahead of the closing of the transfer window at 11 p.m. BST. There are conflicting claims on what percentage of his 300,000 a week wages will be picked up by his new club.
Providing it goes through, it would complete a sensational coup for the Premier League side and bring to an end a dramatic weekend-long saga involving the Colombia international. Long thought to be available this summer, Falcao had appeared destined for Real Madrid, particularly when a tweet was posted to his personal account on Saturday confirming he was on his way to the European champions. However, Manchester City were also involved and said to be trying to arrange a permanent transfer, while Falcao soon claimed the premature tweet had been the result of his account being hacked.
But, as City struggled to make a transfer comply with Financial Fair Play restrictions, United swooped. While it is being widely detailed as a loan deal, Spanish football expert Guillem Balague has reported that Falcao’s agent Jorge Mendes is adamant that is a permanent transfer with a €65 million (£51.4m) fee agreed on a four year contract. The suspicion being that it is a loan with an option to buy. It may be that a knee injury which forced Falcao to miss the 2014 World Cup has played a part in the structuring of the deal.
To get one of the most sought after strikers in Europe would be some statement of intent for Manchester United, especially given their current lack of a Champions League place. It would also continue to back up statements from the club earlier this summer that they were prepared to spend big to turn around the club’s ailing fortunes. With United having confirmed over the weekend that a deal had been agreed to bring versatile Netherlands international Daley Blind from Ajax, their summer spending will be taken above the £150 million mark, even if just taking Falcao’s move as a loan deal.
It may not yet end there. While bringing in Falcao to strengthen what was on paper Manchester United’s strongest area of their squad may not be as indulgent as some have suggested, due to Javier Hernandez’s loan move to Real Madrid with an option to buy and continued doubts about Robin van Persie’s fitness, it is still arguable that there are more obvious voids to be filled. And there is plenty of speculation that United are still trying to address the lack of strength in central midfield.
Rumors of a move for Juventus’ Arturo Vidal have persisted throughout the summer and are continuing right to the final gong of deadline day. ESPN has reported that a deal cannot be ruled out happening at the last minute. However, the chances appear slim. According to the Daily Mail, United lodged a £30 million bid for Vidal on Friday, but Juventus’ rejection has now ended the matter. With United apparently having doubts about Vidal’s ability to fully recover from a knee injury suffered late last season, a deadline imposed by Juventus for any transfer to take place passed two weeks ago.
William Carvalho has been another midfielder mooted to be on United’s radar, and, speaking after taking the field for Sporting Lisbon on Sunday, the 22-year-old was noncommittal on his future. “I have a contract with Sporting and I'm Sporting player,” he said, according to Portuguese publication A Bola. “Not for me to say whether or not I will leave. I'm fine at the club.”
It appears that if he does leave, though, it is likelier to be to Arsenal rather than Old Trafford. Both The Guardian and the BBC have reported Manchester United sources stating that there is no active interest in Carvalho. It may well be then that, with Blind’s agent stating that his client has been earmarked for the defensive midfield role, United’s business will end with Falcao -- at least for this window. The Telegraph has reported that United will target Kevin Strootman in a £25 million transfer in January. Louis van Gaal has made no secret of his admiration for a player he handed the captain’s armband to temporarily when he was coach of the Netherlands. While a move for Strootman was never going to happen this summer as he remains a couple of months off a return from a serious knee injury, providing he returns with the same gusto before the winter window, United look likely to make an approach.