The patience of Manchester United fans is running thin with striker Radamel Falcao. Since his £6 million loan deal from French side AS Monaco, the Colombian has failed to reach the heights in the Premier League that he achieved at previous clubs.
There has been a lot of speculation surrounding why Falcao has not produced the goods on a consistent basis for Manchester United so far. The theory that keeps popping up is that the forward is not 100% fit after the cruciate ligament injury that kept him out for 178 days last season.
In that time, he missed 20 games for Monaco as well as the summer’s World Cup. The extent of this injury cannot be underestimated as it will take a lot of time for a player to get back to his best after suffering an injury of that nature.
Michael Owen suffered a similar cruciate ligament injury in 2006 in a World Cup match against Sweden. And Michael Owen never recaptured the same form he showed before that injury. An injury as serious as the one Falcao can linger subconsciously; encouraging cautiousness in a players game.
They may feel like they’re putting in 100% but an injury reoccurrence may always be resting in the back of their mind. This may not be the case with Falcao, but his alarming dip in form would suggest that it is at least in part due to the injury he suffered last year.
When Falcao signed for United, there was an air of expectancy surrounding one of the best strikers in the world. He was strong, excellent in the air and could finish brilliantly with either foot. On paper, Falcao was an ideal fit for England’s top flight.
However, since he has arrived at the club, there have only been glimpses of what he can do. The goals he has scored are real centre-forward goals, often latching on to loose balls or finding that illusive space in the box. He is yet to produce anything utterly spectacular, something that is usually associated with a player of Falcao’s class.
This lack of form could be the fact that the Colombian is playing up front with Robin van Persie. It is understandable that Van Gaal wants this partnership to work due to the fact that individually, both centre-forwards are world class performers. However, did Falcao have a striker partner at Porto, Atletico Madrid or Monaco?
Throughout his career, Falcao has played as the lone striker and has been unplayable in that position. If everything went through the Colombian up front, Manchester United might see a different player. He has not been given a real chance to show what he can do up front on his own, and this is mainly down to the fact that Van Gaal doesn’t seem to want to drop Robin van Persie.
There are a number of excuses that can try to explain exactly why Falcao is struggling to find form for Manchester United. It could be the discussed issues such as his injury record or that he hasn’t fully adapted to the Premier League yet. Either way, United will not wait forever to see whether the Colombian can replicate his foreign success in England.
The Metro report that Monaco want a fee of around £43 million if United choose to make the loan deal a permanent one. Right now, spending that sort of money on a player that is failing to produce on a consistent basis would be madness.
It remains to be seen whether Van Gaal will attempt to develop the team around Falcao, similar to the way Pochettino has with Harry Kane at Tottenham. However, due to the amount of attacking stars United have, certain big names would have to be dropped in order to accommodate Falcao in a lone role.
It looks as if the striker will continue to play alongside van Persie but this particular partnership shows no signs of improving at present. Falcao may be desperate to prove his worth at United this season, but for whatever reason, his long-term prospects at the club seem to be diminishing by the minute.