Radamel Falcao’s move to Chelsea is expected to be announced any time now. The Colombian is set to join the Blues on a one-year £4 million loan deal, with the club having the option to buy the Monaco striker for £35 million next summer.
The question to be asked though, is whether this really is the right move for the reigning Premier League champions. Manager Jose Mourinho has stated his confidence in being able to bring Falcao back to his best, but after last season’s disastrous campaign with Manchester United, there are more doubters than believers. The 29 year-old was the best centre forward in Europe not too long ago, but since his anterior cruciate ligament last year, he has never quite been the same. His return of 4 Premier League goals last year meant that United did not exercise their right to buy him.
Similarities to Fernando Torres
The comparisons drawn with Fernando Torres are obvious in this case. The Spaniard moved to Stamford Bridge from Liverpool in January 2011 for a then British record transfer fee of £50 million. He was at the time one of the best in the business and a lot was expected from him at Stamford Bridge. With Didier Drogba on the wrong side of 30, Torres was expected to be the man to lead the line for Chelsea for the next few years. But we all know how that ended. After just 20 league goals in three-and-a-half seasons, he was sold for nothing.
Now, it becomes apparent that Torres was on the decline at the time Chelsea signed him. Coming off the back of some recurring injuries, the striker had lost a lot of his pace, and after his barren spell, a lot of his confidence as well. He never recovered, and even though the club continued to support him, some irregular flashes of his old self was the best he could offer.
With Falcao, the situation is very similar. He was, on his day, the best striker in Europe, but now, things have changed. He will not be first-choice at Chelsea either, with Diego Costa having cemented his place with 20 goals last year. Falcao will have to work his way up the pecking order and then perform on a consistent basis. And judging based on what we say last season, that looks close to impossible.
From a viewer’s point-of-view, it will be great to see the former Atletico Madrid man back to his beastly best. But, like Torres very well knows, there is constant pressure to perform as a striker at Chelsea, and you could find yourself in a goal drought before you know it.
Wrong move for Chelsea?
Falcao’s arrival puts Loic Remy’s role in the team under further doubt. The Frenchman was the third-choice for the majority of last season, and yet had the best minutes-per-goal ratio amongst all the Chelsea strikers. He would have expected to be a more serious contender for the first-team this season, but the situation now appears murky. If he once again feels like he will be behind two other strikers in terms of pereference, he could well move on. There have been stories of potential moves to the likes of West Ham United and Crystal Palace.
This could in fact backfire at Chelsea, as they will then need to bring in another striker. Costa and Falcao are both never too far away from injuries, and Mourinho could find himself without a world-class option up front if that happens. Having Remy last season was a real boon, as he scored some vitally important goals against the likes of Manchester City, Hull City and Stoke City when the other two strikers were out injured.
Therefore, even though this move is less of a gamble than the one for Torres due to significantly lower amount involved, Chelsea will have to be really careful. Remy leaving will spell trouble, and if Falcao’s dismal for from last season continues, coupled with a long-term injury for Costa, the Blues could struggle for goals up front.