It seemed apt that on Saturday against the opposition who helped cement his name as the most deadly striker on the planet Radamel Falcao was able to finally answer the question of whether he really is good enough to help Manchester United mount a title challenge next season. The sad thing for Reds was as the Colombian sliced his one good chance all game and came second best to John Terry in the physical stakes, the answer was a resounding “no.” It may seem harsh to judge a player based on one performance but the cold hard facts of the matter are Saturday was merely the icing of mediocrity on the cake of anonymity. Falcao hasn’t just failed to impress against the champions-elect, he’s also struggled against the likes of West Ham, Queens Park Rangers and Newcastle. In fact if we’re really going to analyse the Colombian’s season, it would be remiss not to mention the fact the mighty Cambridge United, Preston North End along with the impenetrable fortress of Yeovil Town’s defence have been a task too tough for Falcao to handle. Despite popular opinion, United fans aren’t all impatient prawn sandwich munching, ipad waving, half and half wearing, muppets, well, not all of us. The vast majority of Reds were willing to stand by Falcao and have defended him, often past the point of wisdom.
The problem for Radamel isn’t just the fact Chris Smalling has as many goals to his name as the £300,000 a week star, it’s also that United would have to spend in the region of £44 million to make his deal permanent. If Falcao was younger than his 29 years, or if he’d managed to score more goals than Danny Welbeck this season- the player he more or less replaced at Old Trafford- then maybe it would be worth making him the Reds second most expensive signing. The fact is though, Falcao is 29 and he hasn’t managed more than Welbeck’s equally paltry return for Arsenal.
As mentioned earlier Falcao truly announced himself to English fans with a superb hat-trick against Chelsea in the European Supercup back in 2012, but since then injuries and age seemed to have taken their toll. A few years ago, at the Stade Louis, Chelsea defenders watched in awe as Falcao bagged three goals in less than 40 minutes, at Stamford Bridge this weekend, the former Atletico hitman looked a shadow of the once feared scourge of the West Londoners as put through on goal the best he could manage was to rattle the woodwork.
It’s not as though we’ve many reasons to believe Falcao will turn the corner for us, he looked sharper when he arrived than he does now, his link up play isn’t anywhere near good enough to compensate for his dearth of goals and his new pony tail just looks daft rather than trend-setting…
Like any football fan, I love a striker who can “get amongst it” and score goals, or at the very least create ones for his team mates, but Falcao just doesn’t seem like the player capable of doing anything other than reminding us of how good he used to be, by playing so far from that level. It’ll be a miracle if the former Monaco man is at United next season but at least we’ll have the memory of that goal against erm…Everton.