With just a few weeks of the season left, it’s been a campaign to forget both Radamel Falcao and Javier Hernandez who have both endured difficult spells at their respective clubs this year.
Having fallen down the pecking order at Old Trafford since the arrival of Louis van Gaal, Mexican forward Hernandez made a dream move to Real Madrid last summer, joining the Spanish giants on a one-year loan deal. But unsurprisingly the move has done anything but secure him more playing time, and it’s been a watching brief for much of the season as the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale continue to knock in the goals.
And after a surprise loan move to Manchester United on deadline day, Falcao has suffered in equal measures at Old Trafford and having failed to make a significant impression it appears his time at the club will also be coming to an end.
So what next for them? Well, if reports are to believed it appears the pair could be swapping places come the end of the season as they look to revive their careers, a situation that could work out well for both the players and their clubs.
Real Madrid have been linked with Falcao for a number of seasons and apparently came close to signing the former Atletico man last summer. Fresh reports of a move to the Bernabeu have surfaced again this week, with Real believed to looking the United loanee in a £32m deal.
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Having struggled for form and fitness at Old Trafford it would be in United’s interest to let him return to Monaco without risking a large fee to tie him down to a permanent deal. The club can’t guarantee him a regular starting place given how little impact he has had this season, and although next season could be a totally different story, there seems to be something missing from the world class striker he once was.
While Monaco would probably like to keep him, they seem certain to accept any significant money for the forward, and with Madrid in need of another striker it looks a good move for Falcao, who may well feel more at home back in La Liga.
Seemingly destined to lose one striker, Van Gaal will then have the luxury of Hernandez’s arrival in time for pre-season. And while he has also been strongly linked with a permanent move to a host of Premier League clubs including Liverpool, Tottenham and Southampton, he could still have an important role to play at United.
With the Red Devils on course for a return to the Champions League, this will mean Van Gaal will need more players at his disposal in order to rotate the squad to challenge on all fronts. Hernandez probably won’t be a first-choice striker every week, but he has already proven that he can score goals when called upon and, particularly under Sir Alex Ferguson, that he can have a huge impact when brought off the bench. Something that you haven’t been able to say about Falcao this season.
It’s understandable if he feels another move where he can guarantee himself first-team football on a weekly basis is best for him. But if he wants to stay and fight for his place at Old Trafford, Van Gaal would have a top quality goal scorer in his ranks that, if given the opportunity, could net him 20 goals over the course of the campaign.
What the future holds for Falcao and Hernandez remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a possibility that the pair could swap clubs this summer. But wherever they end up, both will be looking to find their form after struggling for opportunities, and it would be no surprise to see both stars back on the scoresheet regularly next term.