At 29, is he worth that? Not a chance, thought Louis van Gaal, who had already wasted £6m and £280000 per week on a gamble that did not work out.
No longer mesmerising. No longer deadly. Any suggestion that it was down to the tactics used in Manchester was rejected at Copa America, where the Colombia striker was hauled off against Peru and Brazil, before being dropped for Argentina. Falcao circa 2012 has sadly disappeared.
Yet Chelsea remain interested. Why? What does José Mourinho see that no-one else can?
Sign for Chelsea, bang in 20-odd goals, then we may be eating our words, yet nothing could seem more unlikely after his last season in England and the recent tournament in Chile.
The forward made four appearances at Copa America, playing 252 minutes. The outcome was zero goals, no assists, six shots in total with one on target (16.67percent accuracy), and a single chance created. It was amateur hour from one of the world’s former great goalscorers.
Signing Falcao could only go one of two ways for Chelsea and, in particular, Mourinho.
Either a) it turns out to be a masterstroke, or b) a disaster. Chelsea supporters have every faith in their manager – and rightly so – yet this could backfire. Hope for the best but expect the worst.
In 2012, any club in world football would have taken Falcao. He had 41 goals in 51 appearances for Porto in Portuguese Liga, and was in the process of hitting 52 in 68 for Atletico Madrid in La Liga.
A lot has changed in three years to make Chelsea the only club in European football willing to give him an opportunity as back-up for Diego Costa and, should he stay, Loic Remy.
Even if Monaco cut Falcao’s price to £4m and he lowers himself to £170000-per-week wages, after all, it would be disproportionate to what he has shown in Manchester and Chile previously.
Roman Abramovich could afford it, but it seems an unnecessary, particularly when other strikers are available, such as Charlie Austin, Christian Benteke and Gonzalo Higuain, among others.
Chelsea do not want to get stuck with another Fernando Torres or Juan Sebastian Veron, even if it is only for a year, and signing Falcao feels like tempting fate.
It would be a nice story for Mourinho, and Falcao too. Take a worn-out striker, recycle him, do what your rival manager in Manchester couldn’t, and save the reputation of a former predator.
He has a point to prove, but can Mourinho reinvigorate this once-great striker? You’d like to think if anyone can, it would be Chelsea’s manager.
Then he really would be The Special One.
Original source: What does José see in Falcao?