Louis van Gaal revealed that Radamel Falcao was not injured and was dropped from Manchester United’s squad to face Southampton in the Premier League on Sunday evening.
Speaking to the press before the match at Old Trafford, Van Gaal admitted that there were no fitness issues with he Colombia international and that he had taken the decision to drop him after the team’s final training session before the game, on the advice of his staff.
“Falcao isn't injured, just not selected in the squad,” Van Gaal is quoted as saying by the Daily Star.
”It's much more difficult [selecting a side], but that's the task of the manager and I have a staff who advise me as well."
The Daily Star reports that Van Gaal is being put und pressure by Falcao’s representatives to give the green light to an estimated £43million permanent switch from AS Monaco in the summer. The striker is currently on a season-long loan from the principality.
However, Falcao has struggled to settle in at Old Trafford this season and is yet to show the kind of form that saw him score lots of goals adoring his time with FC Porto, Atletico Madrid and then Monaco.
One reason behind this lack of form could be that the 28-year-old has not been able to play regularly yet since returning to action after rupturing his cruciate knee ligaments in January. He has looked a shadow of the player we have seen in Europe over the last few seasons and being dropped will do little to help that.
The report claims that Falcao has agreed personal terms with Manchester United and a fee has been agreed with Monaco, all the deal needs now is to be ratified by Van Gaal. Being dropped from the squad makes it look as though he is no closer to doing so.
Perhaps the Dutch coach is waiting to see what the player can produce between now and the end of the season before making a decision. Caution may well be the best course of action in this case, as the cost in wages and transfer fee would be considerable if Falcao cannot rediscover his best form after the injury.
A poor United performance against Southampton saw Van Gaal's side lose 1-0 at Old Trafford and fall to fourth behind their opponents on the day.