Ahead of tonight’s crunch clash against Southampton Manchester United manager has said he is ‘not interested’ on whether Radamel Falcao is happy to settle for a substitute’s role for the Red Devils. The Colombian striker still lacks full match fitness and Van Gaal claimed that the striker is only fit to play 20 minutes in fast faced Premier League.
The 28 year old who sustained a calf injury some time ago has returned to the bench and has even came on to the field in the Red Devils’ last two encounters but has looked way past his best. Falcao has just scored a solitary goal for United in 7 appearances and is again expected to be on the bench tonight. Van Gaal said, “I have selected him in spite of the fact he can only play for 20 minutes, because the rhythm of the game in the Premier League is the highest.”
So is Van Gaal correct in his judgement of the player who is on a reported £265,000-a-week at Old Trafford? Let us look at three arguments.
The manager is stamping his own authority: We have very well seen how Sir Alex Ferguson stamped his stature in the dressing room while in charge and for any manager to succeed, it’s always important to maintain his authority back doors. With Van Gaal starting James Wilson against Stoke City, there is one clear signal by the legendary manager.
No player would pick himself in the starting eleven, no matter how big a name he is. This sends a clear message to the team, only the best ones get picked and for others to get into the side, they will have to grab the manager’s attention in training sessions. This maintains competition among players in the squad.
No guarantee that United will sign him next summer: There is also no guarantee that United will pay the astronomical sum of €55m to Monaco for securing a permanent move for Falcao at the end of the season. Also we had reported earlier that United are likely to bid for Roma’s Kevin Strootman, who is very well admired by Van Gaal. Strootman who is set to cost a handsome figure would also like to play for a manager who respects his qualities and has full faith in him. This might mean that United might not make Falcao’s move permanent, moreover they don’t have any obligation to do so. This effectively reduces the wage bill too.
Injuries have hampered Falcao, but he is world class on his day: There is absolute no doubt that Falcao is a fantastic striker and is probably the best number nine we have in World Football when fully fit. However with strikers who are injury prone and those who have suffered the dreaded anterior cruciate ligament tear, it’a always hard to regain full fitness. Moreover there is always the risk of relapsing if the injury doesn’t evolve well. Falcao suffered the ACL tear in his left knee while playing for Monaco and missed out on the World Cup. Its pretty evident with his off the ball movements that he hasn’t recuperated.
However, Van Gaal would know that Falcao is the kind of player who thrives on big games and despite his limited sharpness, he can be lethal with his predator like instincts. So will next week clash against fierce rivals Liverpool be just the kind of match that Falcao is looking for?