The summer transfer deadline day headlines were well and truly stolen by Manchester United, who well and truly splashed the cash. The Red Devils took their total spend to an eye watering £150m thanks to a late loan deal for Radamel Falcao, who arrived amid a flurry of excitement and talk of a Premier League title charge.
Yet the Colombian’s time at Old Trafford has been, so far, relatively underwhelming, with fitness issues and competition for places having been factors in his lack of impact. Not yet a United player permanently, there have been suggestions that Louis van Gaal is considering backing out of a full transfer all together now, and here are FIVE reasons that may make sense…
Despite arriving in a headline grabbing loan deal with a reputation as one of Europe’s very best forwards, Falcao’s outings have been sporadic so far. The Colombian has featured nine times in total, five have been as a substitute, netting just two goals in the process. A troublesome calf injury has limited his time on the field, which has prevented United from getting a sound return on their considerable investment so far.
Much of Falcao’s 2014 has been spent on the sidelines. The South American damaged his ACL way back in January while at Monaco, forcing him to sit out the back end of last season and the World Cup. United were stringent in their medical examination of the former Atletico Madrid and Porto ace, yet with such a problem, there’s always a chance of recurrence. Also, Falcao seems short of the yard of pace that made him such a hit, with his explosiveness having been his major strength in the past.
While his birth certificate suggests that Falcao is 28, there are some suggestions that he may actually be 30. There is little proof to back up this claim, yet talk in his home continent circles around when he actually made his first-team debut, which, if everything lines up correctly, may have been in his early teens.
His birth certificate has been revealed, but there are numerous cases of incorrect documentation in some of the world’s poorer countries, so there’s potential for Falcao to be older than he says…
United have already paid a massive loan fee (rumoured to be around £6m) for Falcao and are handing him a wage in the region of £300,000-per-week, yet to keep him permanently another £43m will be needed. At the age of 28, the Monaco man has very little in the way of re-sale value and is now in the very middle of his ‘peak years’, making him a short-term fix. Wayne Rooney is of a similar age, while Robin van Persie is the wrong side of 30, so perhaps a younger option may be wiser.
Now that Louis van Gaal has switched back to a 3-5-2 set-up, Falcao has been able to slot into a two man attack. Yet, when LVG has his defensive options in place, he may look to utilise his favoured 4-3-3 set-up, which allows him just one centre-forward. Rooney, Van Persie, James Wilson and Falcao will be his options, while there are suggestions that another big name striker is on the club’s transfer radar. Keeping so many stars happy will be tough, and it’s unlikely that Van Gaal will drop his captain or compatriot, so Falcao could be the man with the axe hovering above.