Blow for French league as Falcao departs

The French league was dealt a blow on Monday when one of its star names, Monaco's Colombian striker Radamel Falcao, left to join Manchester United. The move shows clubs in France's Ligue 1, with the exception of PSG, cannot compete with Europe's big teams.

Blow for French league as Falcao departs
Radamel Falcao has left French Ligue 1 side to join Manchester United. Photo: AFP

Manchester United swooped from nowhere on Monday to make striker 28-year-old Radamel Falcao the surprise big signing on the last day of Europe's record-breaking summer transfer window.

British media said the Colombian would move from Monaco in a one year loan that pushes United's spending since the opening of the transfer market on June 9 above £150 million ($250 million).

The striker was on an eye-watering €300,000 a week at Monaco, but the English club are not expected to match those wages. 

Falcao only moved to Monaco last year when club owner Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev agreed to fund the €60 million purchase from Athletico Madrid. It was seen as a major transfer coup with Falcao seemingly destined to move to one of Europe's giants. 

But throughout last season, there were persistent rumours the Colombian striker was not happy with life at Monaco was not enamoured by playing in France's Ligue 1.

After playing for Porto and Athletico Madrid Falcao was put off by the small crowds of just a few thousand that Monaco would pull in.

He had previously spoken of his admiration for the Premier League.

"I watch the Premier League a lot," he told Sportsmail last season. "I like how competitive it is and how teams who are very direct in terms of looking for the opposition's goal as quickly as possible. The football goes back and forth and that makes it a fascinating league."

Nevertheless Falcao's debut season began brightly but was curtailed due to a serious injury that resulted in him missing out on the World Cup in Brazil.

The compilation video below shows his best moments playing for the French club.

His departure means the club from principality has lost the two big stars of the team after fellow Colombian James Rodigruez moved to Real Madrid for €80 million. 

Rybolovlev's dream of bringing big names to play at Monaco therefore appears flawed given the size of the club and the increased attractiveness of other leagues around Europe.

The departure of Falcao means Paris Saint-Germain appear to be the only French club available to attract big stars. Although with money in the bank you wouldn't put it past the Russian billionaire owner of Monaco to pull off another transfer coup.

Record spending

Teams from the top leagues in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France have laid out more than $2.1 billion during the transfer window and the frenzied last day is likely to see the figure rise substantially.

Manchester United have been the single biggest spenders, ahead of Spain's Real Madrid.

Manchester United are buying Daley Blind from Ajax Amsterdam and have also brought in Argentine international Angel di Maria from Real Madrid for £59 million, Spanish international Ander Herrera, England defender Luke Shaw and another Argentine Marcos Rojo.

The arrival of 28-year-old Falcao sparked new moves around United, who have failed to win any of their first three games in the Premier League.
According to FIFA Transfer Matching System, which monitors the global market, the big five leagues have already smashed the $2.02 billion spent on last year's transfer market.

While spending is dramatically higher in England, Spain and to a lesser degree Germany.

According to Deloitte's sports business group, more than $1.2 billion had been spent by England's 20 Premier League clubs up to Friday. That was already more than $165 million above last year's transfer window and British media said the total figure would pass $1.33 billion by the end of Monday.

On top of United's big buys, Liverpool have also spent more than $190 million (mainly to buy Mario Balotelli, Adam Lallana and Dejan Lovren). Chelsea have laid out more than $125 (including for Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa) and Arsenal more than $103 million.

English clubs have spent about $300 million on Spanish players. But, according to FIFA, Spain's current spending is closing on $600 million and already three times higher than last year's pre-season transfer window.

A spending splurge by Real Madrid and Barcelona has accounted for the buying.

Barcelona paid Liverpool more than $125 million for Luis Suarez, while Real Madrid spent a reported $108 million on Monaco's James Rodriguez and more than $35 million on German World Cup midfielder Toni Kroos.

The market has fallen just as dramatically in Italy and France, where the poor economy and UEFA's financial fair play regulations have hit the football business.

Top French sides Paris St Germain and Monaco have spent 75% less this year on new players than in the 2013 transfer window.

Spending by Italian clubs approaching $200 million is 45% down on last year. AC Milan took Chelsea's Fernando Torres in a loan deal on Saturday.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


‘Not football’s job’ to combat homophobia: French football chief

The head of French football has pulled away from a hardline stance against homophobic chanting and banners in stadiums on Friday, saying that "too many matches" have been stopped due to anti-gay abuse.

'Not football's job' to combat homophobia: French football chief

Noel Le Graet, president of the French Football Federation (FFF), said that the FFF would not instruct referees to stop matches except in cases when a “whole stadium” was guilty of homophobic chanting.

“I think we're stopping too many matches! That makes certain government ministers happy, but it bothers me. Football can't be taken hostage by vulgarity,” said Le Graet in an interview with newspaper Ouest-France.

Several matches have been temporarily halted in France this season after the French football League (LFP) introduced over the summer plans to tackle fan homophobia during matches, including allowing referees to stop games.

“Matches have been stopped when they shouldn't have been,” Le Graet continued.

“We will stop them if there is consistent homophobic abuse from the whole ground, but if among 30,000 people there are 2,000 imbeciles I don't see why the other 28,000 should be punished.”

Le Graet referred to France's sports minister Roxana Maracineanu, who in April launched the appeal for matches to be stopped in the event of homophobic abuse, and equalities minister Marlene Schiappa.

Schiappa publicly praised referee Clement Turpin after he stopped Marseille's 2-1 win at Nice for over 10 minutes last month following sustained abusive chanting and banners from home fans, but Le Graet insisted that it wasn't football's job to combat homophobia.

Paris Saint-Germain's match at Metz two days later was also briefly halted for a banner unfurled by the hosts' supporters asking the French league (LFP) to allow them to aim homophobic chants at PSG.

“Did football invent homophobia? You can be a know-it-all when you have got much to say. But there are more important political issues,” he said.

“This crisis will resolve itself. We will work with club presidents, people who don't stick their oar in every morning, who don't want to just look good in front of the television cameras.”