Radamel Falcao was only available to join Manchester United on transfer deadline day after failing to secure his preferred transfer to Real Madrid, according to Guillem Balague.
The Colombian striker moved to Old Trafford on a season-long loan deal in what turned out to be a dramatic day for Manchester United fans. However, if Falcao had his way, he would have been flying to the Spanish capital, not Manchester.
His agent, Jorge Mendes, who brokered Angel di Maria's deal to Manchester United, was a key figure in making sure Louis van Gaal secured his man before the 11pm deadline. But his efforts with Old Trafford officials only arose after he failed to drum up interest from the Bernabeu.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Balague said: “Jorge Mendes tried all year, in fact the whole summer, to move him to Real Madrid.
“Real Madrid have been saying all along for the whole summer that they just weren’t interested in Falcao."
Second choice striker
Although a move to Real Madrid seemed inevitable at one point, Carlo Ancelotti was determined to keep Karim Benzema as his first choice striker. Florentino Perez may have preferred the star quality of Falcao, but eventually the manager convinced his president that a striker happy to be second choice behind Benzema would be better suited.
Balague continued: “They wanted a striker, but not somebody to be challenging Karim Benzema; they wanted somebody who was happy to be a number two – a Diego Lopez type of figure who would be happy to accept that there was a way of playing, Benzema would be the number nine and they could come on and do something in the second half of games.
“Chicharito [Javier Hernandez] fills that gap, but Falcao was never the kind of player they wanted. The fact Jorges Mendes hasn’t been able to get that deal done means that Real Madrid were never open to that possibility.”
A fair choice?
It is reasonable to assume that Falcao would have chosen Real Madrid over Manchester United. Not only does Falcao have links to the Spanish capital through his time with Atletico, but the Bernabeu would also play host to Champions League football this season.
Meanwhile Manchester United have no European football on offer and are under pressure just to break back into the top four let alone win trophies.
Another club rumoured to be chasing Falcao was Manchester United's Premier League rivals Arsenal. The Gunners were on the lookout for offensive reinforcements and apparently contact Monaco about Falcao before deciding the financial commitment made the deal impossible.
However, Balague is of the opinion that Arsene Wenger was never interested in Falcao and that the only other Premier League club likely to beat Manchester United was their close rivals City.
He said: “I never heard anything about Arsenal at all. I don’t think Arsenal were interested.
“They only wanted a central midfielder who could play centre-back and the budget they’ve got is £7million or £8million – and with that in mind, Falcao was never a possibility.
“In the case of Manchester City, it became clear that Alvaro Negredo was wanted by Valencia and the deal wasn’t done quickly because Valencia thought all along that City were waiting to see if they could replace him with Falcao.
“There were conversations between City and his agents and nobody could deny that, but when Manchester United came into the equation late on Sunday night they said yes to everything and the deal went through.”