Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has warned Radamel Falcao he won't be guaranteed a starting spot in his team when he has recovered from injury.
The Colombian striker has failed to make an impact since his deadline day loan move from Monaco having scored just once in the Premier League, while he is currently sidelined with a calf complaint.
There has been plenty of speculation in recent weeks that Manchester United may opt against activating the clause in his contract which will allow them to sign the 28-year-old for a fee of around £43 million because of doubts about his fitness - and Van Gaal's latest remarks are a further blow to his prospects of staying at Old Trafford.
The Dutch boss had experimented with playing two up front but may opt to go with one striker in order to make his team more defensively solid. That could leave Falcao out in the cold.
The problem for Falcao is that the balance of the team is more important than the individual," he said. "It is not his fault and not because of his performances.
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"With the other system I could play with two strikers but then the balance wasn't good and we had difficulties in the last half-hour of games. Since then we have scored fewer goals but conceded less and we have played the better teams [Chelsea and Manchester City] on an equal level, more or less."
If Falcao is left out in the cold then it could prove to be a costly mistake for Manchester United - the former Atletico Madrid striker reportedly earns an eye-watering £285,000-per-week at Old Trafford while they also had to fork out a £6 million loan fee.
The Red Devils take on Crystal Palace today at Old Trafford, a game Van Gaal has confirmed that Falcao will miss.
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