• Premier League

Van Gaal: Falcao too good to turn down

ESPN staff
September 2, 2014
An in-depth look at Falcao's transfer

Louis van Gaal says the opportunity to sign Radamel Falcao was too good for Manchester United to turn down amid reports Manchester City and Arsenal rejected the chance to pursue the striker.

United sealed a dramatic deadline-day move for Falcao, who joined on loan for the season with a view to a £35 million permanent move. The loan deal will cost United £20m in total, and takes their spending over £150m in this summer's transfer window as Van Gaal rebuilds a squad that is still seeking its first win of the season.

The stats don't lie

Wayne Rooney scored 19 goals for Manchester United last season © Getty Images
  • Louis Van Gaal hailed how often Radamel Falcao scores relative to his time on the pitch but the numbers don't quite add up. If penalties are excluded his scoring ratio last season before he suffered a knee injury was 0.43 goals per 90 minutes - not quite as good as Robin van Persie (0.53), Danny Welbeck (0.51), who has been sold to Arsenal, and Wayne Rooney (0.48).
  • Falcao's scoring record
  • 2013-14 - Monaco 17 games/9 goals
  • 2012-13 - Atletico Madrid 34/28
  • 2011-12 - Atletico Madrid 34/24
  • 2010-11 - Porto 22/16
  • 2009-10 - Porto 28/25

According to the Daily Telegraph, efforts by Arsenal and City to sign the player stalled after being told by Monaco and Falcao's representatives they would have to pay a £10m loan fee and the player's £18m annual salary, which equates to £346,000 a week.

With Real Madrid also pulling out of the race, United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward stepped up the club's interest on Saturday evening, striking a deal for a reduced £6m loan fee and reduced wages of £265,000 a week, according to reports.

"I am delighted Radamel has joined us on loan this season," Van Gaal told the club's official website. "He 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."

Falcao completed the move more than two hours after the transfer window had closed, with an official press statement issued at 1.30am after United were granted an extension by the Premier League.

"It's a dream come true to join a club like Manchester United, one of the biggest clubs in the world," said Falcao.

"I've always dreamt about playing for one of the truly great teams and winning lots of trophies. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity and you can't turn that down.

"I'm a huge fan of English football and watch it whenever I can. Now the reality is I'm going to play there."

Despite Real missing out on Falcao, with the European champions taking United's Javier Hernandez on loan instead, Cristiano Ronaldo hailed the move as a "fantastic buy" for his former club.

"He is very good player. I think Manchester did very well. I don't think he is the wrong type of player. He is a top player so I don't think it is a wrong buy," Ronaldo, speaking at a TAG Heuer event in Madrid, said.

"I think he will be a fantastic buy. Manchester have not started well, two points, so they need quality players and Falcao is a quality player."

Vadim Vasilyev, right-hand man to Monaco president Dmitri Rybolovlev, denied the sale of Falcao, the marquee signing of a massive summer 2013 spending spree, signalled a scaling down of the Russian billionaire's vision for the club.

"I regret the depature of Radamel Falcao, particularly for our supporters," he said. "But we considered that, from the moment the player had expressed his wish to join Manchester United, it was not coherent to stand in his way.

"It is interesting to see that today, the very biggest clubs wish to sign our players. But our project doesn't stop here, and we're going to continue improving and give everything to have the best season possible.

"I wish Radamel all the best at Manchester United, but I'm sure that we're going to get results this season."

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