Wednesday 12 December 2018


United's new hitman targets place in Champions League

Radamel Falcao is relishing the challenge of turning out for Manchester United following his transfer deadline day season-long loan move from Monaco.

The 28-year-old Colombia striker was put in front of the media for the first time since arriving at Old Trafford, along with fellow new signing Daley Blind and manager Louis van Gaal, and could make his United debut in Sunday's Premier League home clash with QPR.

Falcao said: "I'm glad to be here. It's a big challenge for me and for my career. I always dreamed to be in a club like Manchester United."

The loan fee for Falcao was thought to be between between £5million and £6million when he joined United, who have an option to buy.


Although he had been struggling with a knee injury, Falcao confirmed he is on his way back to full fitness.

He added: "Yes, I feel well, I started to play a month ago with Monaco and I improved in the last month a lot.

"I scored a goal and it's important to a striker (to score goals). I'm confident with my physical condition and I am comfortable with my knee."

The former Atletico Madrid hitman is looking forward to playing for the club and being part of the team this season, which he believes will make more of an impression than last term where they failed to qualify for Europe after finishing seventh.

He added: "This is a new process, a new team. This year some players have come in and I think that Manchester United will build a big team this season and in the future and I would like to be here and to be part of the project. I'm feeling good in myself, I'm really happy here. I'm having a good settling in period at the club."

On Wednesday, executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward revealed the club had set a target of a top-three finish in the league this season.

Woodward said that is was what club chiefs had budgeted for - and he also played down the possibility of further new signings in January to boost Van Gaal's squad.

As for the lack of Champions League football this term, Falcao added: "It's true, every player wants to play in the Champions League, this year it's not possible in Manchester (United).

"But we are confident we will be able to qualify for next season in the Champions League."

Dutch defender Blind, who made his £14m move to Old Trafford on deadline day, had long been expected to join his former Holland boss Van Gaal at United and the deal was finally signed off just over three hours before the end of the window.

The 24-year-old said he was looking forward to working under Van Gaal again and would be happy to play in either defence or midfield.

He said: "He (Van Gaal) was really important for me. He gave me a lot of trust during the World Cup and during the qualification games for the Dutch team.

"I'm happy to work again with the coach and I learned a lot from him and I hope I learn more. I'm getting better every day.

"For me I can play in both positions, as a defender and as midfielder and I want to play. If it's on the left and if it's as a defender or if it's a midfielder then it's up to the coach - I'll try to do my best in the position where I play."

Meanwhile, van Gaal's decision to sell Welbeck, coupled with an outlay of around £150million on six new players over the summer, has prompted suggestions that there is a changing culture at United, moving away from their tradition of youth development.

Assistant manger Ryan Giggs has insisted United remain committed to giving youth a chance, though, and Van Gaal echoed that sentiment, while also emphasising he has no worries about how he might fit all his players into a coherent system.

The Dutchman, who was a new arrival at Old Trafford himself over the summer, said: "How do we fit all the players in? We bought five players and one is on loan here who we can maybe buy next season, and we let 14 players go.

"So how to fit in these players is not so difficult I think.

"Then, also, we need the youth education, and that is the policy of Manchester United.

"We give youth players a chance. The question is if they take the chance. It is, of course, more risky, but I think it is the only way to do it. Manchester United always have grown up players in the squad. I have already used a lot of youngsters in pre-season and in the season. I am always willing to give young players chances, but they have to take them."


Regarding Falcao, Van Gaal admitted he had already been impressed by what he had seen in training from the man recruited from Monaco but was keen not to put too much pressure on him.

Van Gaal said: "When you can hire or buy a player like Falcao, then I don't have doubts because he is for me one of the best strikers in the world, and when you see his record it is unbelievable. Today in training he got one ball and it was in the goal. So he confirmed it in his first training session with me."

The QPR game could also see bows for fellow summer arrivals Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw, and a first home appearance for another, Angel di Maria.

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