So often Manchester United have chased, been led a merry dance and failed in the acquisition of world class footballers. The prolonged pursuits of Ronaldinho and Fabregas are embarrassing examples of this from down the years.
So when the loan signing of Radamel Falcao was announced, united fans began to fantasise at the prospect of goals and records that would tumble. It hasn’t happened has it?
United have a history of signing South American players with poor returns. Diego Forlan, other than his exploits at Anfield, Juan Sebastian Veron, Kleberson – say no more – and you may remember a chap called Anderson!
A few examples of players whose careers never ignited. Falcao’s name is edging close to that list if Louis Van Gaal continues in not playing to his simple, yet hugely effective assets.
Why did we loan him? Simple – goals! Prior to joining Monaco, Falcao netted an incredible 93 times in 118 games! It stands to reason that if you give him the ball, in the right areas – he will score.
That hasn’t happened.
On Tuesday, Falcao suffered the humiliation of being demoted to the Under 21, where he again failed to scored and was subbed after 70 minutes. Even by his poor standards this season, it is a remarkable fall from grace, considering less than a month he started up front in a FA Cup sixth round game.
The Preston game illustrated how ineffective the use of Falcao has been. The Colombian produced plenty of activity outside the 18 yard box, but none at all inside.
In fact for all of Falcao’s running , which in itself looked laboured, he lacked zest and energy, he produced zero shots on or off target – against a league one side.
He is a fox in the box, a goal scorer. Give him the ball in the right areas and he will score. The 4 goals he has bagged so far are all simple headers, by his standards, or tap ins.
Do some research over Falcao’s goalscoring exploits and two things emerge. Firstly, The majority of the goals are scored inside the six yard box.
Secondly, these goals are as a result of crosses from wide areas. We clearly are not playing to Falcao’s strengths.
This season, United have rarely got wingers to the byline and we haven’t produced a decent cross in ages. Ironically, after his usual 60 minute stint and withdrawal, the first goal arrived as a result of Ashley Young getting wide and pulling the ball back for Herrera to slot home. Falcao must have been seething.
Like a tired married couple, United and Falcao are desperate for things to work but in their hearts they know that things are over. Why pay the absurd amount if you don’t play to his strength? LVG has his philosophy and Falcao, at the moment, clearly doesn’t fit it.
Unless United set up to utilise Falcao and he can bag regularly between now and the end of the season,we will not be seeing him at Old Trafford next season as time is running out for both parties.
So, assuming – hoping? – United regain Champions League football, another striker is a must. James Wilson will continue to be used sparingly to assist his development and long term potential. This coupled with RVP’s diminishing effectiveness means it is essential United add firepower. Here are three potential targets.
Kane has shown great athleticism, which we’ve lacked this season, bagged a heap of goals and has years ahead of him. A gamble some may say, but 30 million over 10 years ago was for a Wayne Rooney. Other than the odd transfer saga Rooney has delivered on that price tag.
Of course, this season’s stellar performances mean that Daniel Levy will not want to part ways with the man who’s arguably been the player of the season, but if United make it top four and embark on another spending spree, the Spurs striker could well be on their radar.
Mobile, quick and deadly in front of goal, will Kane be more than a one-season wonder?
A proven goalscorer and with rumours of his and Guardilola’s unrest rife, a switch to Old Trafford could be possible. His work ethic is immense and he would bring players like Di Maria, Januzaj and Mata into games more than the pairing of RVP and Falcao have.
Lewandowski only joined Bayern at the end of last season but with the Munich giants’ financial capabilities, Guardiola could surely afford to find a replacement for the Polish, were the former Dortmund man to leave.
The 26-year-old has scored 14 goals and assisted nine in 33 appearance for Bayern in all competitions this season and would fit perfectly in Van Gaal’s plans.
The prodigal son. Rumours of a return have never gone away – mainly due to Ronny’s constant flirting and ‘Only God knows’ sound bites over the past four years mean a return can never be ruled out.
It sounds improbable, but Ronaldo may seek the challenge of rekindling an old romance particularly as, after helping Real Madrid clinch a 10th European Cup and scoring over 40 goals in each of the last three seasons, the relationship between him and the Bernabeu fans – as well as the Spanish media – seems to have gone off the boil
The mega deal with Adidas and whopping commercial returns from Ronaldo merchandise would take care of the fee, but would LVG tolerate the egotistical Portuguese? Previous run-ins with high profile stars, like Rivaldo, would possibly prove the only stumbling block, not to mention that Ronaldo could well seek a move to ultra-rich clubs such as PSG.