Manchester United has remained silent on the future of on-loan striker Radamel Falcao as the Red Devils prepare for another game without the injured Colombian. United faces Crystal Palace at Old Trafford on Saturday on the back of reports that van Gaal has made a u-turn on his decision to make the Monaco forward’s transfer to Manchester permanent in the summer.
Falcao has struggled for fitness since arriving at Old Trafford on the final day of the summer transfer window on a $419,439 weekly wage before tax. Although he has shown flashes of brilliance and broke his duck against Everton last month, Falcao has failed to play a full 90 minutes.
If Falcao does join United on a permanent deal, the 2013 Premier League champions will have to fork out circa $70 million to secure his services. Monaco, who have released the player to reduce the wage bill so as not to fall foul of financial fair play rules, paid Atlético Madrid $81 million for his services in 2013. However, a serious knee injury early this year meant Monaco failed to see the best of him, while he missed the tournament in Brazil.
In the past week, many UK news outlets have reported that United and van Gaal are running out of patience and are reluctant to pay Monaco’s asking price to make the deal permanent. United has remained silent on the rumors so far but van Gaal knows he will face questions on the future of Falcao sooner rather than later.
It has also been suggested that Falcao lacks the required physical strength to lead the line in such a combative division as the Premier League. Despite the fact Falcao has impressed in his cameo appearances to date, doing it over 90 minutes every week is what United fans have yet to see.
The general consensus is that Falcao, when fit, is United’s most accomplished striker. With Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney struggling for form, Javier Hernández on loan at Real Madrid and youngster James Wilson still relatively unproven, a once glittering forward line on paper is actually quite thin in reality. A fit Falcao is required if United has any chance of finishing in the top four this season. Despite the fact van Gaal has said United still has a chance of winning the title, even a fourth place finish is looking beyond his side at the moment.
Two positives in recent weeks have been the performances against leader Chelsea and champion Manchester City. Despite only picking up a point and then losing respectively, United worked hard and could have beaten both sides. Against Chelsea United dominated possession at times and against City with just 10 men, the latter found itself hoofing the ball out of the box in the last 10 minutes.
With United looking to sign a defender in the January transfer window, van Gaal knows he cannot afford to let his forward line drop below the standard it has already set this season. The next step is for the Dutchman to face questions on the future of his Colombian hit man, Falcao. Right now, United remains silent.
Commentary by Robert Shepherd
Photo Courtesy of The Sport Review – License