Premier League - Falcao in sensational Manchester United switch

Radamel Falcao will join Manchester United on loan, subject to a medical.

Eurosport
Premier League - United confirm Falcao loan capture with option to buy
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Radamel Falcao of Colombia looks on before the International Friendly Match between Colombia and Senegal at Pedro Bidegain Stadium on May 31

The Colombian striker will play for the Red Devils this season after agreeing a surprise transfer from Monaco on a season-long loan deal, which has now been confirmed by several reputable sources including the BBC.

However, the latest report from prominent Spanish football journalist Guillen Balague insists that the deal is permanent - but is structured initially as a loan deal, in order to circumvent Financial Fair Play regulations.

Earlier on Monday several sources - including El Tiempo, Colombia's biggest paper - claimed that the star striker had agreed a permanent deal to leave Monaco and join United in a £51.3 million (€65m) transfer.

But reports from England on Monday morning clarified that it will be a loan move, with Sky Sports, the Guardian and the Telegraph all confirming that the Colombian striker will play for Louis van Gaal's side this season.

[ALL THE SUMMER DEALS IN ONE PLACE]

The Guardian report claimed that United will pay no more than £9 million for the striker's services - though it is unclear whether this figure takes into account his wages, which are reportedly over £10m a year.

The BBC and France's L'Equipe additionally reported that there will be a £43.5m (€55m) option for United to buy the player outright at the end of the temporary move - though as Balague's Tweet above claims, the exact agreed details are far from clear at this stage.

Spanish newspaper AS confirmed the Falcao move to United, calling it the "great surprise of the final day of the transfer window." They claim a deal was signed at 2am British time on Monday morning,

Sky Sports added that a private jet has been booked to fly Falcao from Nice to Manchester for a medical and unveiling on Monday.

[TOM ADAMS: Falcao, the illogical transfer that makes perfect sense]

The latest rumours over the weekend had suggested that Manchester City or Arsenal were the two clubs most likely to land the Colombian superstar, who was one of the best players in Europe for Atletico Madrid in the 2012-13 season, but struggled to adjust to life in Ligue 1 last term.

And with that in mind - as well as United's apparently more-pressing deficiencies in defence and midfield - fans' reactions have been very mixed.

OVERREACTION THEATRE: Falcao 'a burning hat for a man with no trousers']

El Tiempo reports that City had been all set to bring in Falcao, but were prevented from doing so by Financial Fair Play regulations. City are permitted a £49 million net spend this summer and have currently racked up £24m - so could not sign a player for that amount.

The paper adds that Arsenal may still be in the running, as are Italian champions Juventus - though Real Madrid have ended their interest after settling on the far cheaper Javier Hernandez to back up their attacking trio of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema.

WHERE WILL FALCAO PLAY?

Internet pranksters have already been taking potshots at Manchester United over the apparently unbalanced team that is resulting from Louis van Gaal's summer purchases - as well as his decisions on who to keep.

And one of those, from Twitter user Tosh, suggests a hilarious new 'questionmark' formation for the Red Devils to squeeze in their talent:

In all seriousness, it's hard to imagine where all the players will fit in. Assuming that Angel Di Maria will remain out wide, then the newly-arriving Daley Blind will probably fit into a more central role than he is accustomed to.

Then there is the question of Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata. Will Van Gaal try to retain Wayne Rooney in the side, or play Juan Mata in the hole behind the two strikers? Early indications are that Van Gaal is not impressed by Mata - so once Robin van Persie is fit, the Dutchman will start up front alongside Falcao (a potentially devastating pairing of penalty box finishers) with the brutal strength of Rooney deployed in the hole behind. After all, Van Gaal made it clear during the World Cup, when speaking about Van Persie, that his team's captains will always start when fit.

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Manchester United - possible formation for 2014/15

A left-sided axis of Di Maria, Blind and Rojo looks strong - but United have also spent a huge amount on Luke Shaw this summer. Given the current look of the squad at the moment, he - like Mata - could be a high-profile, big-money signing from the last year who is left on the bench.

OUR VIEW

A loan move seems a sensible move for United at this stage, particularly given the Colombian striker's recent injury history. Previous reports of a €65m permanent transfer would have represented a significant gamble for United, but a temporary move seems more prudent.

If it's true, then it represents a brilliant move by Louis van Gaal: Wayne Rooney is clearly past his best, Robin van Persie is ravaged by injury and could need surgery, and both Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez are almost certain to leave the club.

A huge move for a big name striker - that would be in addition to the other big signings - would restore confidence and fans' faith in the Red Devils. That alone could repay the £10m wage bill: considering the financial importance of the club's glory-hunting fans around the world, letting their position in English football slip still further is simply not an option.

VIEW FROM FRANCE

Ontiou da Sylva, Eurosport.fr: "Falcao was one of the best talents in Ligue 1 and he will surely be missed. Even though he played only six months in France due to his injury, his departure is a big blow for the French league. Having said that, his mind did not seem to be in Monaco and rumours of his departure have been circulating ever since the day he first arrived. Real Madrid appeared to be his preferred destination and it is kind of a surprise he is going to United, and will miss the Champions League yet again - a competition which Monaco will play in this season. His career seems to be driven by the likes of his agent, Jorge Mendes, rather than what is best for him as a footballer."

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