Manchester United have a better idea of who they could face in the Champions League play-off round when the 2015/16 gets underway.
Louis van Gaal guided United to a fourth-place finish in the Premier League – something his predecessor David Moyes was unable to do – but the club will still need to negotiate a tricky play-off round in order to reach the group stage.
With United already making their first move to strengthen their squad for a Champions League assault in the form of Memphis Depay, who will join once the transfer window reopens in a £23m move from PSV Eindhoven.
Where could Radamel Falcao end up?
Where could Radamel Falcao end up?
His parent club just about managed to squeeze into third place in Ligue 1 this season, securing another year of Champions League football. After paying about €60m for him in 2013 (and only getting 22 matches out of him) Monaco will want to recoup some of that but could find it tough. With no club likely to stump up such a fee, Falcao could be back in red and white soon.
Jose Mourinho and Roman Abramovich are long-term admirers of the striker and are actively seeking another striker after Didier Drogba announced his intention to leave for more football. Diego Costa is clearly and Falcao could try and regain his form in a reserve role. He could provide a very useful reserve option when Chelsea look to defend their Premier League title next season.
Were in the race to sign the striker last summer before he chose a move to Old Trafford. The failings of Liverpool's strikers this season are well documented but with Brendan Rodgers' side not in the Champions League next season it would be hard to attract a player of Falcao's reputation, despite his poor form.
4/9 Real Madrid
The Spanish giants will always be attracted to stellar names, especially the kind with Falcao's reputation who will be a big marketing attraction in South America. Javier Hernandez is making his way back to Manchester United and Real Madrid's next manager will need another option behind Karim Benzema.
5/9 Paris Saint-Germain
One of the few clubs who could spend really big on the Colombian, a possible move is linked with the future of Edinson Cavani. The Uruguayan is reported to be unhappy in Paris and if he goes - Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea have been linked - Laurent Blanc will need someone to partner Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
6/9 Manchester City
City look set for an overhaul after a trophyless season, with around 10 players reported to be heading for the exit. Falcao's capture has echoes of Carlos Tevez's move a couple of years ago, but after signing Wilfried Bony to provide back-up for Sergio Aguero, City have priorities elsewhere (or at least they should).
7/9 Tottenham Hotspur
Harry Kane has enjoyed a breakout season but beyond the young England star options up top for Mauricio Pochettino are very thing. Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado should have no future at the club but Kane needs rest - he looked tired at the end of the season and managed just two goals in his final eight matches. Like Liverpool, Spurs are out of the Champions League, but players are attracted to London.
With two thirds of a treble complete this Juventus side doesn't have any glaring weaknesses but a number of their star players are already being linked with moves away this summer. Falcao is yet to test himself in Italy and should Carlos Tevez return to Argentina would become the figurehead of a new look side.
9/9 Manchester United
They won't, will they? Just because Manchester United turned down his option, don't be surprised if they were looking into a cut-price move. United would be sick if he went on to score bags of goals elsewhere after a season of slowly finding his way back to fitness. Manchester United fans seemed to take to him and Louis van Gaal has praised his effort all season.
But now that most domestic seasons across Europe have come to a close ahead of the Champions League final, United can now take a good look at who they could face in a few months’ time.
The biggest point of interest sees a possible return to Old Trafford of Radamel Falcao, should the unlikely happen and he stays with Monaco. The French team are one of 10 sides that could face the Red Devils in the final qualifying round.
The full list of teams they could face is:
- Sporting Lisbon – Third in the Portuguese Super Liga
- CSKA Moscow – Second in the Russian Premier League
- Lazio – Third in Italian Serie A
- Club Brugge – Second in Belgian Jupiler League
- Monaco – Third in French Ligue 1
- Young Boys – Second in Swiss Super League
- Sparta Prague – Second in Czech Liga
- Fenerbahce – Second in Turkish Super Lig
- Rapid Vienna – Second in Austrian Bundesliga
- Panathinaikos – First in Greek Super League (place needs to be confirmed with Panathinaikos seven points clear with three games to go)
If either Shaktar Donetsk or Ajax fail to make it through the third round play-off, then Sporting Lisbon will be seeded and as such will not face United. If both clubs are knocked out, CSKA Moscow will join Sporting in being seeded, and Lazio will be seeded if CSKA are knocked out early.
The draw is due to take place on 7 August with the first leg to be played on 18-19 August and the second leg across 25-26 August.
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