Fal­cao fu­ture un­cer­tain at Man Utd

Lesotho Times - - Sport -

LON­DON — Swansea City have crit­i­cised the Ivory Coast Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion for say­ing striker Wil­fried Bony (pic­tured) had com­pleted his £28 mil­lion trans­fer to Manch­ester City.

The 26-year-old is on in­ter­na­tional duty with Ivory Coast at the Africa Cup of Na­tions.

The Ivory Coast Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion said: “Bony has signed with Manch­ester City this Wed­nes­day, 14 Jan­uary.”

But a Swansea spokesman re­sponded: “The club has not con­firmed any­thing and the Ivory Coast have no right to com­ment.”

The club added on Twit­ter that Bony “has NOT yet com­pleted his move” and when he does, it will be con­firmed “via of­fi­cial chan­nels - not the Ivory Coast FA”.

The two clubs agreed a £28m deal for Bony at the week­end, with £25m cash up front and a fur­ther £3m in per­for­mancere­lated add-ons.

Bony joined Swansea for a club-record £12m from Vitesse Arn­hem in 2013 and was the Pre­mier League’s top scorer in 2014 with 20 goals.

He has scored nine times in 22 ap­pear­ances this sea­son. — BBC MANCH­ESTER — Radamel Fal­cao’s fu­ture at Manch­ester United is in doubt along­side sev­eral se­nior play­ers whose con­tracts ex­pire in 18 months, with David de Gea, Robin van Per­sie, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Rafael da Silva yet to sign new deals.

There is an ex­pec­ta­tion at the club that the sum­mer will fea­ture an­other clear-out by Louis van Gaal af­ter the manager al­lowed 15 play­ers to be sold or go on loan last year.

Although Van Gaal claimed last week to be con­fi­dent De Gea will agree fresh terms — Real Madrid re­tain a firm in­ter­est in the goal­keeper — it is un­der­stood that Van Per­sie, Evans, Jones, Smalling and Da Silva are not close to reach­ing any agree­ment to ex­tend their ca­reers at United.

Fal­cao, who is on loan from Monaco and is cost­ing United £16 mil­lion (M 278.5 mil­lion) in sign­ing fee and salary, has so far proved a dis­ap­point­ment. The striker has been ham­pered by in­jury since ar­riv­ing in Septem­ber and has scored only three goals, mak­ing seven starts in the Pre­mier League in a to­tal of 634 min­utes’ game time.

Fal­cao was dropped from United’s match­day squad of 18 by Van Gaal for Sun­day’s 1-0 de­feat by Southamp­ton at Old Traf­ford, the manager ex­plain­ing af­ter­wards that he had only one place for a for­ward among his re­place­ments and that he had pre­ferred James Wil­son be­cause of the 19-year-old’s pace.

Jorge Men­des, Fal­cao’s agent, con­firmed the Colom­bian could leave the club this sum­mer. “He is a fan­tas­tic player, and I think it’s very dif­fi­cult for Manch­ester United fans,” he told Sky Italia.

“They have an ab­so­lutely bril­liant player, one of the very best in the world, who would with­out any doubt play 90 min­utes of the match, ev­ery time, with any other club.

“The truth is, right now we don’t know what will hap­pen. What we do know is that he will play in one of the very best clubs in the world next sea­son, whether that is Manch­ester United or not. I am 100 per­cent sure of that. But you know how foot­ball works, we need to wait a lit­tle. We’ll see what hap­pens.”

Van Gaal’s doubts over Fal­cao cen­tre on his dif­fi­culty to so far ad­just to the tempo of English foot­ball. As he has suf­fered three se­ri­ous knee in­juries dur­ing his ca­reer — the last of which oc­curred in Jan­uary last year and ruled him out of the World Cup — the player’s con­di­tion is also be­ing mon­i­tored.

Fal­cao (28) was dis­mayed to be dropped, although he has re­jected sug­ges­tions that he left the sta­dium be­fore the end of the match against Southamp­ton.

As Van Gaal had not dis­cussed his de­ci­sion to leave him out of the game be­fore­hand he is thought to have ex­plained his rea­sons to the player on Mon­day.

Although it is thought that there is yet to have been firm con­tact be­tween the United ex­ec­u­tive and the rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Van Per­sie, Evans, Jones, Smalling and Da Silva re­gard­ing new terms, Van Gaal is re­laxed about the sit­u­a­tion.

Some will hope to be of­fered con­tract ex­ten­sions but the Dutch­man is fo­cus­ing on strength­en­ing the squad and is tar­get­ing a right-back, cen­tral de­fender and cen­tral mid­fielder.

This means that Da Silva and at least one of Evans, Smalling, and Jones are vul­ner­a­ble, with Van Gaal’s de­sire to bol­ster mid­field mean­ing that Tom Clev­er­ley, who is on loan at As­ton Villa, will al­most cer­tainly be re­leased in the sum­mer.

Van Gaal has doubts about Da Silva’s de­fen­sive qual­i­ties and is con­cerned at the fre­quent in­jury prob­lems that con­tinue to ham­per the progress of Evans, Smalling and Jones.

Ever­ton’s Seamus Cole­man, Southamp­ton’s Nathaniel Clyne and Barcelona’s Dani Alves are of in­ter­est to Van Gaal as a firstchoice right-back.

He has iden­ti­fied Borus­sia Dort­mund’s Mats Hum­mels at cen­tre-back and Kevin St­root­man in cen­tral mid­field as his ideal ad­di­tions in those po­si­tions.

Van Gaal ac­cepts that the cur­rent win­dow is dif­fi­cult to re­cruit elite play­ers but has not given up com­plete hope of sign­ing Hum­mels, in par­tic­u­lar.

It would rep­re­sent a sur­prise if Van Per­sie were not of­fered a new deal. United usu­ally adopt a pol­icy of of­fer­ing one-year ex­ten­sions to play­ers in their 30s — Van Per­sie will be 32 in Au­gust — so the club may wait un­til the spring to do so. — Guardian

RADAMEL Fal­cao ar­rived at Old Traf­ford on a loan deal amid much fan­fare, but so far has not been able to live up to the hype, netting only three goals.

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