There have been many similarities between Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao’s 2014-15 seasons.
Both of Manchester United’s misfiring strikers appear to have already seen their best days. Both have looked laboured when they have started this season. And both have been outshone in recent weeks by an energetic, in-form Wayne Rooney.
While Van Persie nurses an ankle injury suffered against Swansea City, Falcao has to make do with a spot on the bench.
When they were both fully fit earlier in the season, Louis van Gaal decided to field them as a strike partnership when they are better suited to playing as lone strikers. Although it was a strange decision, Van Persie and Falcao failed to contribute anywhere near enough.
With both playing second fiddle to Rooney, it appears at least one of them will be on their way out of Old Trafford this summer.
Van Persie is obviously favourite to stay as United must splash out £40million+ (per the Daily Mail) to acquire Falcao permanently. Although the fee could be negotiated, this immediately gives the Dutchman the advantage.
However, Van Persie has almost definitely hit his peak. At 31-years-old, his best days are behind him whereas Falcao, who is two-and-a-half years younger, still has time to adapt to the Premier League and re-discover his deadly goal-scoring touch which saw him net 70 goals in 91 games for Atletico Madrid.
The statistics show that Van Gaal has a tricky decision to make.
Van Persie (0.45) edges out Falcao (0.35) on goals per 90 minutes played but neither ratio is good enough for a club like United. The Dutchman also creates more chances with 0.95 per 90 to Falcao’s 0.87 but it is the Colombian who has the better shot accuracy, with 58% of his shots hitting the target compared to Van Persie’s 53%.
While both players have frustrated United fans with their lack of movement, much of the fan-base feel like although Van Persie has done exceptional things for the club, he is well past his peak and should be sold.
On the other hand, if the fee for Falcao can be negotiated down, there is a feeling that the Colombian has much more to offer and has not been given a fair chance this season, after completing 90 minutes in the Premier League just three times.