PARIS: Manchester United yesterday swooped to make striker Radamel Falcao the biggest signing on the last day of Europe’s record-breaking summer transfer window.
The Colombian flew to Manchester to undergo a medical to seal an initial one-year loan move from Monaco, British media said, with the deal set to push United’s spending since the opening of the transfer market on June 9 above £150m.
Teams from the top leagues in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France — the nations that dominate Europe’s football economy — had laid out more than $2.1bn during the transfer window up to yesterday.
United have been Europe’s biggest spenders, ahead of Spain’s Real Madrid.
The Old Trafford club have agreed a deal to sign Dutch defender Daley Blind from Ajax Amsterdam and have also brought in Argentine international Angel di Maria from Real Madrid for £59m, Spanish under-21 international Ander Herrera, England defender Luke Shaw and Argentina’s Marcos Rojo.
The arrival of 28-year-old Falcao came as several players headed for the exit at United, who have failed to win any of their first three games in the Premier League.
Mexican striker Javier Hernandez joined Real Madrid on a season-long loan, while England striker Danny Welbeck was also tipped to leave United during the day and Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa returned to former club Borussia Dortmund on Sunday.
Manchester City’s England defender Micah Richards was in Italy for a medical with Fiorentina, the Italian side said, after Chelsea’s Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel had joined AC Milan.
Italian international attacker Alessio Cerci moved from Torino to Atletico Madrid, who have signed 10 players for their bid to defend the Spanish title.
However, Atletico’s Belgian international defender Toby Alderweireld went to Southampton to complete a move to the English Premier League side, media reports said.
According to FIFA Transfer Matching System, which monitors the global market, the big five leagues have already smashed the $2.02bn spent on last year’s transfer market.
Spending is dramatically higher this year in England, Spain and to a lesser degree Germany.
According to Deloitte’s sports business group, more than $1.2bn had been spent by England’s 20 Premier League clubs up to Friday. That was already more than $165m above last year’s transfer window and British media said the total figure would pass $1.33bn by the end of yesterday.
Behind United, Liverpool have also spent more than $190m.Chelsea have spent more than $125m and Arsenal more than $103m.
English clubs have spent about $300 million on Spanish players. But, according to FIFA, current spending in Spain is closing on $600m and already three times higher than last year’s summer transfer window.
Unsurprisingly, Real Madrid and Barcelona have accounted for most of the spending.
Barcelona paid Liverpool more than $125m for Luis Suarez, while Real Madrid spent a reported $108m on Monaco’s James Rodriguez and more than $35m on German midfielder Toni Kroos.
The market has fallen dramatically in Italy and France, where the poor economy and UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations have hit the football business.
Top French sides PSG and Monaco have spent 75 percent less this year on new players than in the 2013 transfer window.