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LOUIS Van Gaal (inset) has thrown down a challenge to Radamel Falcao and told him that he must earn a permanent deal at Old Trafford in the next four months.

Widespread speculation suggested that van Gaal will send Falcao back to Monaco this summer and not take up a £43m option to buy him.

But the Dutchman is still willing to give Falcao a chance to prove that he is worth his transfer fee and worth a deal at Manchester United.

"He has to prove himself," said Van Gaal. "That we have agreed. Because of that, we have made this deal and everything is clear.

"It is not the end of the year so he has a chance to do that," he said.

"If a player costs £95m or £5,000, it is not any different for me. But it's difficult for you to understand, I believe.

"You have to prove yourself and a player of £95m has to prove himself also. If I am not like that, then maybe the player has no motivation, so I have to be like that."

"When we buy a player he has to be better than the ones we have, and that is a difficult job," he said.

Van Gaal is at the centre of a whirlwind of transfer stories with the latest focusing on Séamus Coleman and Nathaniel Clyne.

Coleman has risen to the top of van Gaal's January shopping priorities in the last week and a meeting with officials at Old Trafford today cleared the way for a concerted effort to prise the man many rate as the best right-full in the Premier League loose from struggling Everton.

Everton have no wish to sell their Ireland star but it is thought that an offer over £20m would probably be enough to trigger his release.

Already at the centre of four big transfer stories in this week alone - Paulo Dybala from Palmero, Kevin Strootman from Roma, Matt Hummels from Dortmund and PSG defender Marquinhos. United are also watching Paul Pogba and Gareth Bale closely.