Manchester United made a sensational double swoop on transfer deadline day to sign Colombia striker Radamel Falcao on loan from Monaco and Holland international Daley Blind from Ajax.
Blind’s arrival, in a ￡14 million (US$23 million) transfer, had been expected, but the signing of prolific 28-year-old frontman Falcao was a major coup for the ailing English giants.
“I am delighted to be joining Manchester United on loan this season,” Falcao told the United Web site. “Manchester United is the biggest club in the world and is clearly determined to get back to the top.”
United are reported to have agreed to pay Monaco a fee of about 10 million euros (US$13.1 million) to secure Falcao’s services for the season, with an option to make the deal permanent for 55 million euros.
Falcao, who missed the World Cup with a serious knee injury, was whisked into United’s Carrington training ground to undergo a medical examination on Monday evening, with the club confirming the deal in the early hours of yesterday morning.
United paid a British-record ￡59.7 million to sign Angel di Maria from Real Madrid last week and their spending spree continued with the capture of Blind.
The 24-year-old, who can play in defense or midfield, starred as the Netherlands reached the World Cup semi-finals under new United manager Louis van Gaal.
“It is a real honor to sign for Manchester United,” said Blind, who is the son of former Netherlands and Ajax star Danny Blind. “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.”
The deals for Falcao and Blind took United’s close-season spending to about ￡150 million as the 20-time English champions look to rebuild following a disappointing seventh-place finish last season.
With Falcao in line to form a star-studded attack alongside Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez were both allowed to leave Old Trafford.
England forward Welbeck, who came through the youth ranks at United, joined Arsenal on a long-term contract for a reported fee of about ￡16 million.
Mexico striker Hernandez, nicknamed “Chicharito” (“Little Pea”), was loaned to Real Madrid after scoring 59 goals in 154 appearances for United.
Meanwhile, youngsters Nick Powell and Tom Lawrence joined Leicester City — Powell on loan, Lawrence on a permanent deal — and defender Michael Keane was loaned to Burnley.
United’s dealings dominated the headlines on a day when English clubs took their close-season spending soaring past ￡800 million — a Premier League record.
United’s cross-town rivals Manchester City parted company with Micah Richards and Alvaro Negredo.
Youth-team graduate Richards joined Fiorentina on a season-long loan with an option to buy, ending a 13-year association with the club.
Spain striker Alvaro Negredo moved to Valencia in a similar deal, only a year after arriving from Sevilla in a ￡20 million transfer.
Southampton signed Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld from Atletico Madrid on loan and also paid about ￡10 million to bring Senegalese winger Sadio Mane to the club from Red Bull Salzburg.
“I am delighted that we have been able to bring Toby to the club,” Southampton manager Ronald Koeman said. “He is a strong defender and is also very good at building up the play when we play out from the back.”