When Radamel Falco chose Manchester United, he hoped that it would provide the platform to get a career derailed by injury back on track. For a time regarded as the best pure striker in the game, his move first to Monaco and then a ruptured ACL appeared his potential undoing. United were supposed to allow him to prove he was still a world class finisher and to earn a full time move.
Only it didn’t quite work out, and a year later many of last summer’s doubts and question marks around Falcao remain, only he’s a year older now and if anything it seems less likely he’ll ever again be the player he once was. Having spent much of the season on United’s bench, he also rather unsurprisingly has failed to tempt them into turning his rather pricey loan move into an even pricier permanent deal.
Meanwhile, Monaco and the players representatives are having little luck finding anyone else with deep pockets willing to take Falcao on full time, which has once again left the Ligue 1 side searching for a place to send him out on loan. United are not interested in paying his £265k per week salary again, which stands out as a clear warning sign, but that hasn’t stopped reports that Chelsea are considering him.
Now, rumours in France have Liverpool—who were reportedly willing to cover his wages last season only to see him choose their nearby rivals—interested as well. He would certainly fit the definition of big name signing so many are hoping for, delivering a boost to the club and fanbase’s confidence, especially if they can beat out Chelsea for his short-term signature. Whether they should be interested is another question.
Nothing Falcao showed at United last season—or really that has been seen from him since he left Atletico Madrid in 2013—has come close to justifying his wages. Even at half what United were paying for him, it’s hard to see the Falcao who showed up at Old Trafford last season as much of an improvement on Liverpool’s own set of failed strike options.
He’s also a player who, even at his best, was a pure poacher. At his best, if you get Falcao the ball he will put it in the goal. Or he would have back before his ACL blew up and he lost a step. In any case, he never was a player who presses or marauds down the channels or blows by defenders with a stepover and sudden burst. He’s got one job: sit at the tip of the attack and score goals.
Which is certainly something that Liverpool could use, but it’s also something that doesn’t necessarily seem an ideal fit for the way Brendan Rodgers has seemed to want his sides to play in the past. If Falcao was likely to be at his best or anything like it, of course, he’s the sort of player who is so good that questions of fit are rendered meaningless. On £265k and very, very far from his best it’s a different matter.
There’s something inherently exciting about the name; about the idea of Falcao at Anfield. The reality, though, is that Liverpool don’t have the money to spend £265k a week on the shadow of the player who causes those feelings of excitement. Even if Monaco were paying half his salary there would be reason to doubt the wisdom of taking him on loan. Which probably means he’ll head to Chelsea and score 30 goals.