London – Colombian striker Radamel Falcao said that he had fulfilled “a dream” after completing a loan move to Manchester United from Monaco in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
“For me, it was a dream to play in the Premier League,” he told MUTV. “I always wanted to be here because this league is very good, it has very good teams, and Manchester United is the best team in England. Everything is perfect for me.”
The 28-year-old centre-forward flew in to Manchester to undergo a medical examination late on Monday, with United confirming the deal had gone through some two-and-a-half hours after the transfer deadline had passed.
United are thought to have paid Monaco around 10 million euros ($13.1 million) to secure Falcao's services for the season, with an option to make the deal permanent for another 55 million euros.
“It was a very long day,” added Falcao, who will wear the number nine shirt at Old Trafford.
“It was hard, difficult. We were waiting until the last minute, but I didn't lose my faith. Now I want to say thank you to God for this. I'm very happy.”
After finishing seventh in the Premier League last season, United have made an uncertain start to life under new manager Louis van Gaal.
They are without a win in three league games and were eliminated from the League Cup in the second round after a chastening 4-0 loss to third-tier Milton Keynes Dons.
Falcao's arrival took United's spending in the transfer window to around £150 million ($248 million, 189 million euros) and he has backed the 20-time champions to bounce back when the season resumes after the international break.
“We have very top players,” he said. “I admire them. I want to meet them for the first time. I am sure that this season will be great for us.”
While Falcao, Angel di Maria, Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind arriving during the close season, United allowed several players to leave the club.
Javier Hernandez was loaned to Real Madrid on Monday, while Manchester-born striker Danny Welbeck joined domestic rivals Arsenal on a long-term deal worth around £16 million.
As well as Welbeck, youngsters Nick Powell, Tom Lawrence and Michael Keane were also allowed to leave – either on loan or on permanent deals – while Tom Cleverley was given permission to speak to other clubs.
Former United assistant manager Mike Phelan was critical of the decision to sell 23-year-old England striker Welbeck and accused the club of allowing their identity to be “broken”.
“Danny Welbeck has been part of United's identity and that has been broken,” Phelan told BBC Sport.
“What will happen in the future now, nobody knows, but that thread has been broken now.”
United had a tradition of blooding youngsters under former manager Alex Ferguson and although Tyler Blackett and Jesse Lingaard have both played for the first team this season, Phelan fears a change of philosophy.
“There is always the start of something and maybe this is the start of a new way of doing things at Manchester United and maybe that is the way football is going,” said the former defender, who worked alongside Ferguson from 2008 to 2013. – Sapa-AFP