With all the hype surrounding Radamel Falcao’s arrival at Manchester United in the summer, has the Colombian been given a fair opportunity at Manchester United this season?
Louis Van Gaal left Falcao out of the home defeat against Southampton, with young striker James Wilson taking Falcao’s place in the match day squad, and the Colombian reportedly storming out of Old Trafford as a result.
If these reports are true, a disgruntled striker earning £265,000 a week hanging around the club will only spell trouble for the manager. Van Gaal explained his decision to leave Falcao out of the squad due to there not being enough space for a second striker, despite the inclusion of James Wilson.
Clearly there is something going on at Old Trafford that has left fans of the club unaware of why exactly Falcao was not included in the squad to play against Southampton. The manager may have further doubts surrounding the striker’s match fitness despite a run of games in the side. He could have left the striker out as a matter of precaution, but the decision is a strange one seeing as United were up against a Southampton side who are arguably top four contenders this season.
There seems to be the feeling that Falcao’s situation could go either way. He could be selected for the next Premier League game away to Queens Park Rangers or his short Manchester United career so far could be brought to a premature end. If the rumours of Falcao storming out are true, then there may not be a route back into the side for the Colombian and he may be determined to get out of the club himself. Van Gaal’s decision to leave him out completely is an odd one seeing as the striker has one of the finest goalscoring pedigrees in world football. United also failed to register a single shot on target against the Saints, so Falcao’s omission appears even more peculiar.
Although Falcao has not hit red-hot scoring form for United so far this season, his three strikes in a United shirt should not be overlooked. The Red Devils have gained four points thanks to the former AS Monoco forward’s goals. He scored the winner against Everton at Old Trafford in May whilst also scoring United’s only goals in draws to Aston Villa and Stoke City. These are not goals being scored when United are three or four goals up so Falcao has already proved that he has the ability to become a valuable asset for Van Gaal’s side.
This is why the forward may feel very hard done by. Usually, he is seen as the star man where teams play to his strengths. It is quite peculiar that Van Gaal does not share the same need to mould a team around the Colombian, as there is no doubt that the striker will score a lot of goals if he is given the opportunity. Falcao has also made it no secret that he wishes to stay at the club, so being left out of an entire squad for an important game is going to lead to the striker doubting whether he has a long term future at United.
The ankle injury sustained by Robin van Persie against Southampton could also spell trouble for Manchester United if it turns out to be serious. The Dutchman is due to have a scan to see the extent of the damage, meaning Van Gaal may need to turn to a disgruntled Falcao if van Persie is out injured for a while.
Van Gaal needs to realise that he has a world-class striker at his disposal instead of solely relying on Robin van Persie, who isn’t getting any younger. Whether there is a hidden agenda behind Falcao’s omission remains to be seen.
From a fan’s view, however, it looked like the wrong decision and it is one that could potentially backfire for Van Gaal, who has now taken an identical amount of Premier League points as David Moyes did after 21 Premier League games last season.