Radamel Falcao could leave Manchester United in January

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Colombian football legend Faustino Asprilla has warned Radamel Falcao could leave Manchester United this month if Louis van Gaal's poor treatment of the striker continues.

The 28-year-old moved to Old Trafford from AS Monaco on a season-long loan deal in the summer, but has struggled to make a major impact for the Red Devils after struggling for fitness and form.

Falcao's disappointing performances have prompted Van Gaal to lose patience in the South American star, who was completely omitted from the 18-man squad for last Sunday's Premier League defeat against Southampton.

Asprilla has been critical of the Iron Tulip's man-management of his compatriot these past few months, and says there is "no chance" Falcao will join Manchester United permanently following the breakdown in their relationship.

"The problem is not Falcao but the coach," the former Newcastle United striker told the International Business Times. "After playing well some games it is inexplicable he suddenly stop playing.

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"The truth is that I do not know what Van Gaal is trying to do at United. And I think both players and fans are also confused. He does many changes without reasons.

"If Van Gaal continues he [Falcao] will leave. I think it is a relationship that has already been broken. Falcao understands that the coach does not want him.

"I remember when I went to Newcastle Kevin Keegan wanted me. He supported me a lot and here it is obvious that Van Gaal does not trust Falcao."

Asked specifically if he thinks Falcao could make a shock exit before the close of the January window in 21 days time, Asprilla added: "It can happen. Contracts in football are made to be broken. Everything can happen."

What next?

Of course, Manchester United still have the option of signing him on a permanent basis for £42.3 million, but given his recent demise it's difficult to see that deal ever coming to fruition.

With a paltry contribution of just three goals in 13 appearances for the Red Devils so far, Falcao will need to significantly improve his overall contribution if he is going to get back in Van Gaal's thoughts.

However, the fact the Dutch coach opted to name three centre-backs on the bench against Saints last weekend, and promising young striker James Wilson - another product of the club's esteemed youth academy - ahead of Falcao, it suggests the player's current standing at the Theatre of Dreams is at an all-time low.

His agent Jorge Mendes has been quick to talk up his client's undiminished qualities, claiming the Colombian is still a world-class talent that will be playing at one of the best clubs in the world - whether that's Manchester United or somewhere else.

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