Manchester United fans could be forgiven for wondering if the Radamel Falcao who signed a season-long loan with the Red Devils last summer is the same Radamel Falcao who scored goals for fun in La Liga with Atletico Madrid between 2011 and 2013.
The Colombia international has been a shadow of his former self at Old Trafford, and United boss Louis van Gaal would be well within his rights to avoid committing to a £44 million permanent transfer if his below-par performances fail to improve between now and the end of the season.
It's a year since Falcao suffered a serious knee injury while playing for AS Monaco and the United coaching staff must have real concerns that the striker, who turns 29 next month, is finished at the very top level.
Pace and strength gone?
Falcao has never been a striker blessed with lightning-quick speed, but the yard of pace that has complimented his fantastic movement inside the box over the years appears to have deserted him.
Likewise, Falcao's back-to-goal play has always been one of his biggest weaknesses. But Van Gaal and the United supporters wouldn't have expected the 28-year-old to be quite so feeble and ineffective when the ball is played up to him.
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The South American scored so many goals for Porto and Atletico by playing off the shoulder of the last defender and utilising his clinical finishing ability. At his peak there was no better finisher on the planet.
Peak Falcao - the real Radamel Falcao - would not have spurned some of the gilt-edged chances that he has inexplicably missed this season.
Three goals in 11 appearances might be a half-decent return for a run-of-the-mill Premier League striker - but not for Falcao. More importantly, Manchester United need a striker with the ability to deliver a better goals-to-games ratio.
Falcao finished at the top level?
Falcao was accused of being two years older than he actually is around the time he signed his loan deal with Manchester United - and at the moment he has the look of a striker on the wrong side of 30, rather than a world-class forward at the peak of his powers.
Some players are never the same after returning from a lengthy injury lay-off - and Falcao could be the latest in the long line of stars to have their careers at the very top level cut short by a cruel twist of fate.
A return to AS Monaco, as things stand, beckons.
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