Curious case of Radamel Falcao: Will he get another chance?


Shortly before the end of the summer transfer window Manchester United announced a signing that many believed could be huge in Radamel Falcao.

However, six months later and the once most feared striker is playing for the under-21 side against Tottenham after remaining on the bench for the FA Cup defeat by Arsenal at Old Trafford.

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That was just a sign of the huge decline that the Colombian international has gone through in 12 months and its one that needs to change quickly.

As Louis Van Gaal claimed, he did not put Falcao in the youth team as a “humiliation” and said the former Porto and Atletico Madrid forward had reacted to the decision in the right way. But it is widely known that the player from Santa Marta of Colombia has not convinced the Dutch boss to trust his ability with just 17 appearances this season. Furthermore, the 29 year-old striker has failed to live up to his huge reputation that saw him pick up the nickname “El Tigre” – partly due to his Super Cup performance against Chelsea where he netted a hat-trick.

Another difficult situation for Falcao is the presence of Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie, two key players for United over the last few seasons. And that makes it extra difficult for Falcao as he knows the pressure is on him to deliver every time he starts for the Red Devils wearing the number nine shirt.

However, for a player who established his level with winner goals at two consecutive UEFA Cup finals with Porto (2011) and Atletico Madrid (2012), the requirements and expectations are high and that is something he should be aware of when at a club of this magnitude. Last summer Falcao tried hard to overcome a serious knee injury in an attempt to be part of Colombia’s squad for the World Cup in Brazil. But in those hectic few months he failed to make the cut. And from then the slide has been continuous with just three league goals since his arrival from Monaco.

So if you were to make a decision now on Falcao he would probably be back in Monaco come the summer with Juventus and Valencia looking at his services ahead of next season. It would seem a harsh decision with his recovery perhaps still ongoing as he tries to rediscover his confidence, but with United intent on delivering instant results it may not be the right club for him right now. He is a proper number nine and looking at his statistics prior to his Old Trafford move, he made 178 appearances scoring 142 goals for Porto and Atletico Madrid. That is remarkable and many United fans are still hoping he can show glimpses of that between now and May – but will he get the chance?

He still has a chance to rescue his career but the clock is ticking even though Van Gaal was clear that the competition is tough at the club, hence his lack of game time.

"He said: “In a club like Manchester United it is more difficult than in a minor club because here he has his competitors. Now Wayne (Rooney) is playing there and Wayne is scoring so you always have to compare players with each other but you also need luck”."

United are out of the FA Cup but their season is still alive as they battle it out with Arsenal and Liverpool for a place in the Champions League next season. Ten crucial games remain and the biggest comes on Sunday with the Red Devils travelling to arch rivals Liverpool on Sunday.

Falcao will have one last chance to show even a small sample of his undoubted skills if United are trailing at Anfield and that could be the perfect stage for him. He  doesn’t have the confidence right now but it’s in him to get back on track and that’s scoring crucial goals starting this weekend – should he play.

Next: Man United transfer round-up