Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn is convinced that Manchester United will not turn Radamel Falcao’s loan deal into a permanent transfer after Louis van Gaal left the Colombia international out of his 18-man squad for Sunday’s 1-0 defeat to Southampton.
Falcao was surprisingly omitted from United’s match-day squad by the veteran Dutch coach, who admitted he would talk to the 28-year-old striker on Monday.
United would need to pay a fee in the region of £44 million to secure Falcao’s services on a permanent basis from parent club AS Monaco at the end of the season - but Winterburn is confident the Red Devils will pass up the opportunity.
Winterburn: United will not sign Falcao
Speaking after Van Gaal opted against even naming Falcao amongst his substitutes for the crunch match against Southampton at the weekend, the former England international commented: "It suggests to me they won't be signing Falcao.
"[Robin] van Persie was out there and they'll think 'we've got Wayne Rooney that can fill in' - but if you get an injury you need those options on the bench.
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"For me, you load the team with your game changers.
"Surely Falcao, as a goal-scorer, is a game changer."
Falcao looked tired v Yeovil
In fairness to Van Gaal, Falcao looked fatigued during last weekend’s FA Cup third round victory over Yeovil Town and in need of a much-needed rest following a hectic period of fixtures.
The Colombia international, who reached world-class status during his two seasons with Atletico Madrid, has not looked the same explosive player since returning from his lengthy injury lay-off last year.
Manchester United signed the 28-year-old on a season-long loan deal in the hope that he would rediscover the extraordinary form he showed prior to his big-money move to France.
Manchester United may look to alternatives
But with three goals from his first 11 matches, there are real concerns that the football world may have seen the very best of Radamel Falcao.
If Van Gaal feels the same then the chances of Manchester United signing Falcao permanently are extremely slim. The veteran Dutch coach may turn his attention to other - potentially cheaper - transfer targets in the summer.
Manchester United fans: should Van Gaal signed Falcao on a permanent deal? Have your say in the comments box below.