Pitchside Europe

Falcao: The illogical transfer that makes perfect sense


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Radamel Falcao, Colombia (Reuters)

Radamel Falcao, Colombia (Reuters)

Little about Falcao's transfer deadline day loan to Manchester United appears to subscribe to logic.

On the face of things, it's hard to decipher the logic in United expending so much time and resource on signing a new striker when they already have Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney.

In a squad chronically short of acceptable centre-backs and accomplished midfielders, where is the logic in front-loading the team even more, with Falcao completing a multi-faceted and multi-talented attack?

Did we not see the results of such a glaring squad imbalance on Sunday when Real Madrid – shorn of Xabi Alonso and Angel Di Maria, but boasting Toni Kroos and James Rodriguez - let slip a 2-0 lead to Real Sociedad to lose 4-2?

It is said Falcao is being signed on a £6m loan - in addition to anything upwards of £200,000-a-week in wages - due to concerns over the fitness of Robin van Persie, yet the Colombian himself has only recently recovered from a serious knee injury.

And why, come to think of it, are Monaco happy to loan out their best player, so soon after losing James Rodriguez to Real Madrid? Having spent obscene sums of money to win promotion to Ligue 1 and then to qualify for the Champions League, owner Dmitry Rybolovlev is now pulling everything down in an apparently nonsensical way.  Nonsensical, that is, until you figure in his impending £2.6 billion divorce settlement.

As for Falcao, logic seems to have been deferred again, with arguably the best out-and-out striker on the planet now facing yet another season without Champions League football. Last year he signed for Monaco, and this year Manchester United. Neither could even offer him the Europa League.

Indeed, a player who once scored a record 17 goals for a Europa League/UEFA Cup campaign at Porto has never really made the step up to the senior competition, playing a total of only eight Champions League fixtures, all with the Portuguese club, and none at all since 2011.

The logical move was surely to finally join Real Madrid, the club who are said to have tracked the Colombia international for years, to the extent that his shock move to Monaco last summer was seen by some as merely a device to avoid him moving directly from Atletico Madrid to the Bernabeu.

Falcao even tweeted a message apparently welcoming a move to the European champions on Saturday night, and his bizarre explanation – that a tweet clearly sent from his account was a Photoshop job – was surely the most illogical thing about this whole affair.

But then again, logic has never really governed football, particularly on transfer deadline day – that biannual event in which chief executives lose control of their budgets and managers lose control of their senses. Unless their office postcode is N5.

Putting all that aside, though, we should greet news of Falcao's imminent arrival for what it is: a sensational football story. Only a grouch would begrudge United bringing a striker of Falcao's rare talent to the Premier League.

Furthermore, the signing of Falcao does not preclude United signing other targets in key areas, most notably Daley Blind who is due to arrive from Ajax to shore things up in central midfield as the holding presence United have been so sorely lacking. They could also recruit another midfielder before the night is out.

One of the most lucrative loan deals of all time is also a triumph for Ed Woodward, who was told he could not close a deal to save his life and has now signed two world-class performers in a week in Di Maria and Falcao.

The latter will undoubtedly make United a more fearsome proposition as no player in world football possesses quite the same poaching ability in the penalty area, and it's not as though their much-vaunted attack has been putting teams to the sword this season.

So there you have it: a transfer which is illogical, yet somehow makes perfect sense.

Tom Adams - @tomEurosport 

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