Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is ready to pull out of a £44 million deal to sign Colombian striker Radamel Falcao on a permanent basis next summer.
This is according to The Sun - and brought to our attention by the Daily Star - who report that Van Gaal and other United officials have concerns over the player’s form and long-term fitness.
Falcao has scored one goal in four appearances for the Red Devils since arriving on a season-long loan from AS Monaco at the end of the summer transfer window, and missed the recent key Premier League match against Chelsea and Manchester City with a calf injury.
Van Gaal concerned by Falcao
A report in the Daily Mail adds that Van Gaal is worried Falcao may not be physically capable of playing on a regular basis in England’s top flight.
The 28-year-old, who would continue earning a cool £240,000-a-week if Manchester United opt to sign him next summer, missed the majority of 2014 - including the World Cup finals in Brazil - after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury back in January.
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This was the key reason why United were happier to commit to a loan deal - rather than a permanent transfer - in the summer.
Falcao has looked rusty
Falcao, widely considered one of the world’s best number nines, has looked rusty this season - which is unsurprising given the amount of time he’s missed.
His one and only Manchester United goal came in a 2-1 win over Everton at the start of October, while his most recent appearance came two weeks later against West Brom at the Hawthorns, where he played the final 18 minutes.
Colombia coach Jose Pekerman may opt against calling up Falcao for the matches against USA and Slovenia during the forthcoming international break because of his injury problems.
But this would be a useful opportunity for the player to regain some form and match fitness ahead of a crucial couple months in Manchester United’s season, which sees the 20-time English champions take on the likes of Arsenal, Southampton, Liverpool and Tottenham.
Falcao under pressure to perform
Failure to get himself fit and make an impact in these fixtures may be enough to convince Van Gaal and the United hierarchy that the club are best off pulling out of the deal to sign Falcao.
There would be a risk of angering some of the club’s supporters, who were buoyed following the announcement that a deal had been agreed to take Falcao to Old Trafford, but Manchester United will not commit to such an expensive transfer if they feel it does not represent value for money.