Radamel Falcao is coming off a really disappointing season. The 29-year-old Colombian striker spent the season on loan at Manchester United, but only managed to score four goals in 26 league appearances and spent a lot of the time on the bench. United decided to not use the buy option on Falcao and he headed back to AS Monaco. Now he’s set for another loan-spell, this time with Premier League champions Chelsea. Will he be able to get his career back on track?
Falcao was lauded as one of the best goal scorers in Europe for a long time. He exploded onto the scene during his time with Porto, scoring 41 goals in 51 league appearances. That prompted Atletico Madrid to pay close to $45 million to bring him to the Spanish capital, making him the most expensive signing in the club’s history. It turned out to be money well spent as he went on to score 52 goals in 68 La Liga games between 2011 – 2013.
With AS Monaco pushing hard to become a European powerhouse, they bought Falcao for an undisclosed fee, that is believed to be around $65 million. He reportedly signed a huge five-year contract with a net salary of around $20 million per year with the Ligue 1 side.
He started off the 2013-2014 season well for his new club and kept on scoring. In total, Falcao scored 11 goals in 20 games for Monaco. But in January of 2014 he suffered a knee injury that would keep him out for the rest of the season and unable to represent Colombia at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Monaco’s financials are not what they once were and with UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules coming into action, the team looked at selling off some of the bigger names and highly-paid players. James Rodriguez left for Real Madrid and Falcao was loaned out to Manchester United for a fee of roughly $9 million with a buying option of around $68 million.
Fans at Old Trafford were excited that the team now had, at least on paper, three very strong goalscorers in the side with Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Falcao. Although being one of the highest paid players on the squad, Falcao spent most of his time on the bench while at United. He only scored four goals in 26 appearances. It was obvious that he didn’t like the situation he was in and even his mother talked out in the media about how miserable her son was in Manchester.
But his performances were lackluster and there was no reason for manager Louis van Gaal to play Falcao just because he was a big name and had a big fat paycheck. He just wasn’t the same player as we had seen in Porto and Atletico Madrid. It came as no surprise when United announced in late May that the club would not use the buyout option on Falcao.
Shortly after his departure from Manchester, the rumor mill started churning. He was placed in Chelsea as manager Jose Mourinho and Falcao share the same agent. On Friday it was confirmed that Falcao would indeed join Chelsea on loan. The deal is for the upcoming season and includes a buyout option for Chelsea.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) July 3, 2015
If any manager is going to be able to get Falcao back to his scoring ways, it will be Mourinho. He has a great track record of creating a great atmosphere in the locker room, and if Falcao starts finding the back of the net again, they have a lethal one-two punch with Diego Costa and Falcao. The two played together in Atletico Madrid and were a stellar pair. Chelsea usually play with a lone striker, but if Mourinho can just get Falcao to believe in himself and let him make some mistakes, this could be the signing of the season.
There’s no doubt that Falcao still has the potential to be one of the best scorers in Europe again. He’s still under 30, and given the right circumstances I have no doubt that he can find his scoring touch once more. The move makes a strong Chelsea side look even better, and having Costa and Falcao as your striking option is a luxury that any team would love to have.
He might not have been a good fit in Manchester, but he could end up having a much nicer time in London under the guidance of Mourinho.