Manchester United sign Falcao, Blind in ‘major coup’

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 transfer – was 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 website. “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 around €10-million to secure Falcao’s services for the season, with an option to make the deal permanent for €55-million.

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 Tuesday 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 defence or midfield, starred as the Netherlands reached the World Cup semi-finals under new United manager Louis van Gaal.

“It is a real honour 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.”

Record expenditure
The deals for Falcao and Blind took United’s close-season spending to around £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 around £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.

Hull City sign quartet
Southampton signed Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld from Atletico Madrid on loan, and also paid around £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,” said Southampton manager Ronald Koeman. “He is a strong defender and is also very good at building up the play when we play out from the back.”

On a busy day, Hull City paid a club record fee of around £9.5-million to buy Uruguay striker Abel Hernandez from Palermo, signed Mohamed Diame from West Ham United, and completed loan moves for Southampton playmaker Gaston Ramirez, and Newcastle United winger Hatem Ben Arfa.

Tottenham Hotspur signed France Under-21 midfielder Benjamin Stambouli from Montpellier for around £4.7-million, sold Sandro to Queens Park Rangers for around £10-million, and loaned Lewis Holtby to Hamburg.

Brazilian midfielder Sandro’s move to Loftus Road reunited him with former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, who also brought in Niko Kranjcar on loan – but saw a move for Lassana Diarra collapse.

Crystal Palace broke their transfer record to sign Scotland midfielder James McArthur from Wigan Athletic, and also signed defender Zeki Fryers from Spurs and striker Kevin Doyle on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Meanwhile, Sunderland completed loan moves for Liverpool centre-back Sebastian Coates and Inter Milan midfielder Ricardo Alvarez. – AFP

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