Jose Mourinho confidently told reporters earlier this summer that the Radamel Falcao who flopped so spectacularly at Manchester United was not the same Falcao who would be plying his trade at Chelsea this season.
The Portuguese coach was confident enough to state that Falcao was still a top quality centre-forward - and backed up his words by signing the Colombia international on a season-long loan deal from AS Monaco last month.
Mourinho could have been forgiven if he had regrets about the deal after watching Falcao’s dismal performances at the Copa America in Chile this summer - and today’s unimpressive display against Arsenal was similarly worrying not just for Mourinho, but the Chelsea fans too.
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Falcao, as he did for Manchester United and at the Copa America with Colombia, looked distinctly off the pace - a shadow of the world-class striker who scored goals for fun at FC Porto and Atletico Madrid.
Mourinho made the point in his post-match press conference that Falcao has only been back for a week - and is, of course, settling in to a new team - but the South American’s touch, as it has been for the best part of 12 months now, was worryingly poor at Wembley Stadium today.
Radamel Falcao is no longer top class
His effort cannot be called into question, but the elite-level quality he once possessed has gone.
Louis van Gaal felt the same, hence why the Manchester United manager opted against signing the 29-year-old on either a permanent contract or another season-long loan deal.
Van Gaal appreciated Falcao’s efforts but couldn’t justify extending his contract. Few believed the veteran Dutch coach had made a mistake - but Mourinho was one of those who clearly felt his former colleague at Barcelona had.
Movement not matched by his quality
Falcao displayed typically good movement against Arsenal, but his ability to make space for himself in and around the box was not matched by his control which, at times, was abject.
On the hour-mark, for example, Falcao timed his run perfectly and latched on to Cesc Fabregas’ delightful pass but was unable to bring the ball under control.
A striker of his supposed quality should have done much better in that situation - but the fact it came as no surprise shows how far the Colombian’s stock has fallen over the past year.
It would take a brave - or deluded - individual to suggest Radamel Falcao is still a world-class striker.
This is a gamble that is unlikely to pay off for Mourinho.
Chelsea fans: are you worried about Radamel Falcao? Will he prove to be a good signing for the Blues? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!