Two years ago, Radamel Falcao was arguably the best striker in the game. Befitting that lofty status, Monaco agreed to pay €60M in transfer fees and more than €18M a season tax free to the player for his services. Falcao never seemed to take to life at the aspiring Ligue 1 superclub, though, and then, six months into his Monaco career, he suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for half a season and kept him out of the World Cup.
Unhappy at Monaco and looking to restart his career, he pushed for a move last summer and ended up at Manchester United on loan, with the English club paying a £6M loan fee on top of his salary to bring him in for the season. It hasn’t been a move that either party would do over again, with Falcao’s season so far limited to 23 appearances and four goals. He’s stayed healthy, but beyond that it’s fair to say his United move has been a complete failure.
At United, he’s averaged a goal every three games he’s on the pitch and has a 11% strike rate. It may not be quite as bad a return as Mario Balotelli’s goal every three and a half games and 5% for Liverpool, but given wages and reputation, it’s fair to say he has fallen at least as far short of expectation. It’s really no surprise, then, that United have no intention of triggering their £43.5M option and purchasing him outright at the end of the season.
What is surprising is that the rumour mongers in both England and Spain have begun to float the idea that Liverpool could be ready to step in—that they have perhaps even opened negotiations with Monaco already, with the goal of settling on a transfer fee of around £25M for the now 29-year-old striker. At his best, such a fee would have been a steal for the purchasing club. Today, it’s difficult to see it as anything but attempted robbery by Monaco.
That’s of course assuming there’s any truth to the rumour and that it isn’t just the papers linking Falcao to Liverpool because he was linked to Liverpool before. Even at £25M, and even if Falcao took a hefty pay cut, it's an investment that would quite simply not be worth it. Nearing thirty and having not looked a world class striker since the injury, there’s little rational reason to think Liverpool would throw such a significant portion of their summer budget at him.
Liverpool need a striker. If Mario Balotelli goes they will need two, and that’s in addition to the arrival of Divock Origi. Unless Monaco become so desperate they’re literally giving him away—and paying half his wages for the next few years to boot—there’s zero chance it will be Radamel Falcao.