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Falcao Agreement Will Allow Manchester United to Focus on Next Wave of Deals

Falcao Agreement Will Allow Manchester United to Focus on Next Wave of Deals

Posted by Juan Gavasa on October 04, 2014

The January transfer window is still nearly three months away, but for the biggest Premier League clubs the recruitment drive never truly ends.

Many fans might (justifiably) suggest that Manchester United have bigger issues that need addressing, but on Friday the Daily Mail reported that the club have agreed in principle all the details required for the permanent transfer of striker Radamel Falcao next summer.

According to Ian Ladyman:

Manchester United have already agreed the personal terms of a proposed summer transfer for loan signing Radamel Falcao in a bid to avoid a repeat of the wage wrangle they had with Carlos Tevez five years ago.

Having paid a loan fee of £6 million to the French club for the 28-year-old, United have also agreed to a transfer fee of £43.5m if they decide to take the striker permanently at the end of the season.

Now it has emerged that United chief executive Ed Woodward has already agreed a £250,000-a-week wage—as well as bonuses and image rights—with the player and his representatives ahead of next summer.

The news should not come as a massive surprise, even if it does draw United ever nearer to another sizeable transfer outlay. In general terms it makes good business sense for both parties to nail down the details of Falcao’s impending transfer at the earliest possible opportunity—regardless of the memories of the Tevez situation—although arguably the practice marginally favours the player more than the club.

A salary of £250,000 a week is a lot to commit to a player who remains yet to score for his new club (he has provided two assists); even if the Colombian subsequently goes on a Diego Costa-esque goalscoring run, that agreed salary package is unlikely to look to be a bargain from United’s perspective.

Of course, United are—publicly at least—under no obligation to sign Falcao on a permanent basis when the time comes, if he struggles to adapt to the Premier League or if injury rears its ugly head once more. Not that the former appears likely, with the 28-year-old expressing his delight at making his debut for the club last month.

“It’s very interesting, I have always watched it from afar,” Falcao told reporters (via The Guardian) after the 4-0 win over QPR. “It’s very attacking, and the intensity is very high.

"Bit by bit we will gel together as a team and the new players will feel more comfortable."

Perhaps the biggest benefit of nailing down the details of Falcao’s move is that it frees up Woodward and his team to concentrate on new deals, in January and next summer. Despite the arrival of Falcao, Angel Di Maria and Daley Blind (among many others), it remains clear that this United squad is still a work in progress, with additions desperately needed in defence and at the base of midfield.

Van Gaal has some truly brilliant players at his disposal, especially in attack, individual talents that rival anything the rest of the league has to offer—but the squad as a whole does not have the depth or array of options that both Chelsea and Manchester City can boast. As long as that remains the case United are always likely to be second best to those two over the course of a full season.

This was underlined clearly last weekend, when untested 19-year-old Paddy McNair started against West Ham because of injuries and suspensions in defence. It was a scenario unlikely to be played out at any of the other teams with top-four aspirations (Arsenal excepted, perhaps).

“I don’t like having too many left-sided defenders or left-footed players in defence,” Van Gaal said (per The Guardian). “I think always of balance so [instead] I have to pick up a right-sided central defender from the youth education. Normally, I am always doing things like that.

“I have already said that we have a lot of vacancies when you buy only six players and let 14 players go.”

Woodward has shown he can get the big deals done, the ones where the talent is not in question and the transfer will go through as long as the figures are big enough. This is work anyone could do, though, there is no real skill to it. Now he can focus his attentions on those deals that require a bit more guile and expertise to complete.

He is still to show he can liaise with his manager to fashion a rounded squad, that he can get value for his club while simultaneously adding individuals who will enhance a squad that is determined to return to the Champions League at the first time of asking. That involves working with the manager and the scouting networks to identify suitable players still to hit their peak; with the money they have already spent, United would benefit greatly if Woodward and Van Gaal could repeat the past signings of the likes of Patrice Evra (£6 million) and Nemanja Vidic (£8 million)—astute, inexpensive deals for players who would become linchpins of the squad.

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