Manchester United have decided there's no way they can justify taking up their €55m option on Radamel Falcao this summer, opting against a permanent transfer for a striker who has struggled to match his world-class reputation all season long.
That is according to leading French sports daily L'Equipe, who report that the final straw for United chiefs was Falcao's inability to make an impact against League One side Preston North End in the FA Cup last month.
Falcao's goal record since swapping Monaco for Manchester is a poor one, with just four goals in 20 appearances across all competitions. For a man earning a quite staggering £265,000-a-week under the terms of his season-long loan switch that's a major disappointment, one that means his agent Jorge Mendes will now be working hard to find a new club for the Colombian forward.
Where did it all go wrong?
United manager Louis van Gaal clearly made that sensational deadline-day move for Falcao with a strike partnership with Robin van Persie in mind, but they have been a disaster as a front two.
Falcao and Van Persie in tandem leaves United static and predictable in attack, even with Wayne Rooney attempting to provide a link from a new advanced midfield role. Van Gaal has finally been forced to reach this conclusion, which means there's no room for Falcao in his plans for next season.
United will be in the market for a new striker
A decision over Falcao's future has been made nice and early most likely so United can begin the search in earnest for his replacement, with an injection of pace and purpose desperately needed in the final third.
Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani would be the calibre of player Red Devils fans expect to arrive at the Theatre of Dreams, but Falcao's exit will definitely be tinged with regret over what might have been.
Exit will be tinged with regret
Falcao was easily among the top five strikers in world football at the peak of his powers two years ago, where two seasons apiece at Porto and Atletico Madrid both produced more than 30 goals.
A cruciate ligament injury followed six months after joining Monaco though, which seems to have robbed the South American marksman of both his razor-sharp edge in the final third and confidence.
Monaco will have a hard time fetching anywhere near the €55m agreed with United when Falcao goes back on the market this summer, but a fresh start with the pressure reduced looks the best bet for a player still fighting to recover some semblance of his very best before his eight-month fling with United draws to an unsatisfactory close.
Man United fans, do you think the club have made the right decision not to sign Falcao? Wh would you pick as his replacement to lead the line next season? Let us know by having your say in the comment box below.
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