For a few years, Radamel Falcao was the best striker in the world. When he completed his move to Monaco in 2013, he became the second most expensive striker in football history behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He had just ended a two-year spell at Atletico Madrid during which he had scored 71 goals in only 90 games in all competitions, winning the Copa Del Rey, Europa League and European Super Cup, while also getting Atletico back into the Champions League. But after two difficult seasons, his future remains in doubt.
What is often talked about with Falcao, are his motives. Three times he has helped a team qualify for the Champions League, however he has only played in Europe’s elite competition for one season. After major success with Atletico Madrid, he made the move to Monaco. This was condemned by many, as some people in the world of football saw it as a move solely for money. He was leaving a club who had just qualified for the Champions League to a team who had only just been promoted to the top division in France. This move was seen as just a way to make more money, as it was reported that the Colombian was nearly tripling his wage.
The move to Monaco was not a successful one. After a decent six months in the south of France, he suffered a cruciate ligament injury and missed the rest of the season as well as the World Cup in Brazil. He never returned to Monaco, due to the attempts to cut the wage bill and make money in transfer fees. This resulted in the sale of James Rodriguez to Real Madrid for around £60m and eventually Falcao’s loan to Manchester United. The Colombian was reportedly in talks with both Manchester clubs before his decision to move to Old Trafford.
The move to England didn’t work out. Falcao struggled with injuries and a complete lack of form, making only 26 league appearances, where he scored just four goals. One of his main problems was the position that he was played in. Louis Van Gaal has often deployed Falcao in a wide role so to accommodate Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie. When he played in the middle, it seemed that Man Utd didn’t seem set up to support him. He was often playing between Angel Di Maria and Ashley Young, two wingers who often cut inside so to have a shot at goal, not to provide for their striker, and that is where Falcao has got most of his goals from.
For now, it appears that Falcao is set for a move to Chelsea, with Jose Mourinho telling the press that he wants to “help” the Colombian. It is expected to be yet another loan for Falcao, making it another season where he will have to be at his best to earn a permanent deal. The problem for Falcao is that he will be bought in to replace Didier Drogba, a striker who spent much of the season on the fringes of the Chelsea team. Diego Costa will undoubtedly be Chelsea’s first choice striker, so unless he struggles with hamstring problems again, Falcao’s opportunities may be limited. If he can get a run in the side, he could be a real force. However if Costa can remain fit and maintain his form of last season, he may have to endure a season similar to last.