What has gone wrong for Radamel Falcao at Manchester United?

Radamel Falcao

Falcao has had a miserable season at Old Trafford following his loan move from Monaco.

Many thought it was a wonderful piece of business by Louis van Gaal tempting the Colombian international to England on a loan deal. One of the highest rated strikers in the world, United fans were eager to see him in action alongside Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie. Not many predicted his season to turn out as it has done.

The 29-year-old has scored just four goals in his 28 appearances for the club. To be fair he has only started 16 of those games, but it is still a far cry from his previous records at Porto, Atletico Madrid and Monaco.

Falcao hasn't scored since January 31, and van Gaal doesn't seem to be too keen on giving him many more starts this season. The BBC have reported that the striker's mother has now revealed he has found the season difficult and may leave.

His reported £265,000-a-week wage would be a burden to any club if he is not providing any goals in return. Keeping Danny Welbeck would have proved to be more beneficial to the club, but how can a world-class striker go from hero to zero in such a short space of time?

Falcao suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury last season which resulted in him missing out on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. That's a major injury for any footballer to go through, and it can have a knock-on effect. It can make a difference on shot power, pace, and agility. Falcao based his game at his previous clubs on being able to get into the box at the right times to finish off crosses. He was a typical poacher and a clinical finisher.

We haven't seen that Falcao at Manchester United this season. Instead he has had to come deeper to get the ball. Van Gaal hasn't really played with out and out wingers this season, and the team has looked too narrow at times. Falcao has had to adapt his game, but that has meant he hasn't been able to find enough space to convert chances or even create them.

It hasn't helped that he hasn't had a consistent run in the side. Van Gaal has chopped and changed the team and formation on a regular basis this season, only settling on a particular approach in the last couple of months. When a player is in and out of the team and playing in different formations it is hard to get any sort of momentum.

Falcao was used to being an automatic starter at his previous clubs, and tactics were often based around him to suit his game. That hasn't been the case at Old Trafford, and perhaps that truly tests how good a player is. If he can adapt and work his game around the different culture of English football then he deserves credit, but he has failed to do that and his reputation has taken a beating.

It is hard to predict what is on the horizon for Falcao next season, but it would certainly raise a few eyebrows if he is kept on at Manchester United.

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