Speaking to the Daily Mail, former Manchester United striker Louis Saha has backed Radamel Falcao to come good at Old Trafford, likening his situation to that of Patrice Evra when he first joined.
Falcao, 29, joined United on a season-long loan from Monaco during the closing stages of the summer transfer window, but has since struggled for form and fitness, netting just four times in 19 total appearances.
United have the option to make his spell permanent at the end of the campaign for a reported £43 million fee but, after being substituted in the 60th-minute of the 3-1 FA Cup win at Preston North End following another dismal outing, a full-time move is looking more and more doubtful.
Saha, however, believes Falcao could still prove a success in Manchester in due time, citing the example of former teammate Evra, who struggled during his first six months at the club after arriving from Monaco in 2006, before going on to establish himself as one of European football’s best left-backs over the next eight seasons.
“When you are in a different formation or different management then you have to adapt. It could take three months, six months or maybe a year before you understand it,” Saha told the newspaper at the launch of Manchester Social Media.
“It happens to even the best players. Falcao is under pressure because of his contract. When there is that amount of money involved you are under pressure.
“It happened to Patrice Evra here. For the first six months he was struggling. He didn't seem to understand the physical nature of the game in England. But he changed into a terrific player.”
Having missed the second-half of last season and the World Cup with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, fans and the media alike are now growing ever-sceptical over whether Falcao will return to the form which made him one of the game’s most feared goalscorers during spells with Porto and Atletico Madrid, but Saha insists the Colombian can overcome whatever problems he is going through.
“It is very hard. It is the hardest time in your life,” Saha added when quizzed on Falcao’s injuries.
“I have sympathy with Falcao. I have no doubts about him. I know how hard it is to be a striker. There is always a lot of competition at this club
“It is a battle. But he has the quality to do a great job here.”