Manchester United completed a midnight deal to secure the £20m loan signing of Radamel Falcao after being forced to seek an extension to the 11pm transfer deadline in order to take the club’s summer spending through the £150m barrier.
United, who clinched the one-year loan transfer after Manchester Cityand Arsenal rejected the opportunity to pursue a deal for the AS Monaco forward, requested the extra hour to process paperwork to meet the requirements of the Fifa Transfer Matching System after Falcao passed a medical.
Despite being granted the midnight extension by the Premier League, United did not confirm Falcao’s signing until the early hours of Tuesday morning, with an official press statement issued at 1.30am.
Falcao landed in Manchester last night ahead of a medical at United’s Aon Training Centre after the club’s executive vice-chairman, Ed Woodward, negotiated a season-long loan with a view to a £35m permanent move for the Colombia international.
With City and Arsenal both told by Monaco and Falcao’s representatives that a deal for the 28-year-old would involve a £10m loan fee, plus the player’s £18m annual salary – £346,000-a-week – efforts to take the former Atletico Madrid player to the Emirates or Etihad failed to progress over the weekend.
And with Real Madrid also pulling out of the race to sign Falcao, United accelerated their interest in the striker on Saturday evening after agreeing to pay a reduced £6 million loan fee and the player’s wages, with sizeable a reduction on the tax-free salary paid by Monaco.
Although senior figures at United last night insisted they would not be paying Falcao’s Monaco salary in full, it is understood that he will exceed club captain Wayne Rooney as Old Trafford’s top earner with a wage in the region of £265,000-a-week.
With United also concluding the £13.8m signing of Ajax midfielder Daley Blind on Monday, the capture of Falcao took the club’s summer outlay on transfer fees to a staggering £152.3m on six new players, including the £59.7m British record signing of Angel di Maria from Real Madrid.
In an effort to trim Louis van Gaal’s squad on the final day of the transfer window, following the earlier departures of ten of last season’s first-team squad playing staff, Mexican forward Javier Hernandez completed a season-long loan move to Real Madrid.
England international Danny Welbeck completed a £16m transfer to Arsenal, but efforts by Aston Villa and Everton to sign midfielder Tom Cleverley failed to succeed.
Having entered the weekend satisfied with their summer transfer dealings, United had regarded the window as closed in terms of further arrivals.
But with Woodward informing Van Gaal of the possibility of signing Falcao following the 0-0 draw at Burnley, the United manager, who recalled the positive impression made by the player during Holland’s friendly against Colombia last November, sanctioned a move for striker.
With Welbeck and Hernandez both heading for the exit door, the prospect of being left with only Rooney, Robin van Persie and teenager James Wilson as attacking options also influenced Van Gaal’s decision to move for Falcao.
Despite suggestions that the move was triggered by Van Persie requiring knee surgery to repair damage sustained while playing against Olympiakos in the Champions League in March, it is understood that the Holland forward does not require an operation and that he is merely still searching for full fitness following an extended break following the World Cup.
Although a return to Madrid to sign for Real was Falcao’s preferred option, the player accepted the prospect of a move to the Premier League when made aware of the possibility of a move to City, Arsenal or United.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger opted against a move for the player, however, despite French forward Olivier Giroud being sidelined with a broken foot until the new year.
And City also rejected the chance to pursue a move for the forward once the Premier League champions, restricted by a spending limit imposed by Uefa for failing to comply with Financial Fair Play regulations, were made aware of the figures involved in completing a deal.
Falcao, who completed a €60m move from Atletico to Monaco in June 2013, missed this summer’s World Cup as a result of a cruciate ligament injury suffered while playing for the French club in January.
He returned to action during pre-season, when he played against Arsenal for Monaco in the Emirates Cup, but has yet to fully prove his fitness following the injury.
Falcao is expected to leave Manchester upon completion of his medical in order to link up with the Colombia squad ahead of Friday’s friendly against Brazil in Miami.
But the player is due to return to Old Trafford over the weekend ahead of a possible home debut against Queens Park Rangers on September 14.
Meanwhile, United last night confirmed the signing of Holland midfielder Blind on a four-year contract, with the option of a further year, following the completion of the 24-year-old’s medical.
“It is a real honour to sign for Manchester United,” Blind said. “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.
“But Louis 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.”