The possible transfer of Falcao to Manchester United throws up numerous questions ranging from what it means for Wayne Rooney’s future, to whether a striker really should be top of Sir Alex Ferguson’s shopping list.
But possibly the most intriguing thing about the rumoured move is what it means for Manchester United’s formation next season.
As left-field as the move would be, and as unlikely as it remains that it will actually happen, it does make a degree of sense. This season United have shown both what happens when you have a striker on song, and when you don’t.
Robin van Persie’s form in the early months of the season was outstanding, and his side prospered as a result. But in the midst of his continuing barren spell, United have slipped out of the Champions League and the FA Cup, and given a glimmer of hope to their cross-city rivals in the title race.
On all three occasions, they lacked a goal or two. But more worryingly, for long periods they lacked the threat that precedes the goal.
With Falcao to challenge van Persie and whichever strikers were left alongside him, United could replace a misfiring striker with a firing one whenever necessary.
And when both were on song, they could form one of the deadliest strike-forces in world football.
So with nothing more to go on than media speculation and my own puzzlement, I decided to consider a few possible formations United may adopt next season were they to sign Falcao and their other reported summer target – Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman.
Of course this is all very much ifs, buts and maybes. But much of football is exactly that…
At first glance, the 4-4-2 formation seems United’s most likely set-up should they sign Falcao. While the Colombian’s arrival would almost certainly signal the end for Rooney, the club would still have Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez, along with young forwards Angelo Henriquez and Will Keane. With so many strikers to choose from, they would almost certainly start with at least two whenever they could.
While 4-3-3 looks like an effective attacking option, much would depend on van Persie’s work wide left. Welbeck has shown how effective he can be on the flank, but the Dutchman does most of his best work from the middle. It does however look solid when defending and flexible when required.
Maligned and championed in equal measure, the diamond formation could be the one that brings the best out of United’s separate components. It would certainly give Shinji Kagawa the chance to show what he can do as a play-maker, although much will depend on the energy of the fullbacks, as a side renowned for their wingers would suddenly be playing with none.
Do you agree with any of the formations above? Or, should Falcao actually make the move to Old Trafford next season, is there another formation that would work better both for the player and the club?