Football: Falcao leads Fantastic Four

Football: Falcao leads Fantastic Four
Colombia's forward Radamel Falcao Garcia celebrating after scoring a penalty against Chile during their Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup South American qualifier match, in Barranquilla, Colombia, on October 11, 2013. Manchester United have agreed a sensational deal to sign Colombia striker Radamel Falcao on a season-long loan from Monaco.

SINGAPORE - This is why Manchester United threw all their fragile eggs into Louis van Gaal's basket.

His old friends in Holland call him "The King", his children call him "sir" and he proudly considers himself dominant and arrogant.

But the Red Devils manager lived up to his own billing last night. The ego didn't land on the transfer market. He obliterated it. When the smoke cleared, van Gaal emerged from the deadline-day madness clutching one of the world's finest strikers in Radamel Falcao.

He might even have snared a new creative midfielder too, someone very much in the mould of Paul Scholes, someone who looks remarkably like Wayne Rooney.

In signing Falcao, van Gaal has bought United a two-for-one special.

Nitpickers will argue that an exorbitant, single-season loan signing smacks of desperation, a clear indication of how far the former monarchs of Manchester have fallen, but United followers will be a thousand miles from caring.

Van Gaal has pulled off the most dramatic, unexpected signing of the transfer window.

In a sport saturated by hype, hyperbole and overkill, Falcao is a genuine Hollywood footballer; dipped in gold and destined to dazzle in the Premier League.

His 11 goals in 20 appearances for Monaco barely hint at his depth of talent, a reminder that statistics are black and white, whereas Falcao plays in glorious technicolour.

Lionel Messi wanted to play with him. Pep Guardiola admires him. Defenders are terrified of him.

Apart from his insatiable hunger for a dollar, Falcao is a No. 9 with no obvious weaknesses. He's the Robocop of strikers, genetically assembled to be the perfect poacher.

Athletic, muscular, deceptively quick but seemingly languid in possession, Falcao can lead the line or carve a trench into the penalty box from either flank with either foot.

He is not cursed with a weaker foot and is blessed with an aerial ability beyond most of his peers.

If a striker was manufactured in a laboratory, engineered by geneticists in white coats and programmed to score consistently from every height, angle and distance, he might look something like the long-haired Colombian.

Falcao's form, fame and pedigree made him an attractive proposition for van Gaal, the United manager snatching the forward from under the noses of Manchester City, Real Madrid and Arsenal simply because he can.

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