What on earth possessed Jose Mourinho to sign Radamel Falcao?
It’s the million dollar question that all Chelsea fans and probably Roman Abramovich want answered. After being the very definition of a crock last season during his mega money loan spell at Manchester United, Radamel Falcao managed to score four goals. That’s less than Chelsea right back Branislav Ivanovic in case anyone was wondering.
The stats do not make for good reading and neither do the YouTube clips. In fact, if you go on YouTube and type in ‘Falcao miss’ there are a number of suggestions, with various Premier League sides on offer to pick from, so bad was the striker.
Falcao was woeful, there are no two ways about it. So why then has Chelsea’s manager, who has a cave of Russian Roubles at his disposal, decided to take a gamble and bring the Monaco owned forward to Stamford Bridge?
Mourinho knows only too well that if you don’t have top forwards, you will not win the league. His first season back at Chelsea proved that, and Chelsea fans could be forgiven for thinking that they had finally ended the succession of inept forwards, from Adrian Mutu, to Kezman, to Pizarro, to Shevchenko, culminating in the man who could have easily doubled as the donkey in the Christmas Nativity, Fernando Torres.
Chelsea finally looked like they had it figured out with Diego Costa, only to go and make a move for Falcao, and send their fans and the media into meltdown trying to figure out just why Jose Mourinho, one of the best managers of all time, had decided to add the seemingly finished forward to his team of champions.
It could well turn out to be one of the biggest gambles of Jose Mourinho’s career. How he would love to succeed where Louis van Gaal failed in bringing the best out of the Colombian. It would be magnificent, his triumph lauded across Europe and South America.
If he fails however, Chelsea will go the season with injury and suspension prone Diego Costa and Loic Remy, who isn’t world class and couldn’t keep himself fit and available last term. There is no Didier Drogba to rely upon this time round. Falcao is it, and if Costa’s hamstring breaks down or he gets slapped with a lengthy ban (something you wouldn’t bet against), the Blues could be in trouble in front of goal.
As prolific as Eden Hazard was last term, he only netted 14 times. Cesc Fabregas pops up with a few, but normally before January, and while Chelsea’s defenders are adept at digging them out of a game heading for a 0-0 with a goal from a set play on more than one occasion, you get the feeling that Mourinho is playing with fire here.
His rivals are getting stronger. Manchester United and Louis van Gaal don’t just mean business, they mean business in the way Lionel Messi has during 2015, and cash is being thrown left, right and centre – but at top players. Chelsea fans are right to be concerned.
Mourinho did not get the best out of a washed up Shevchenko, nor a devoid of confidence and seemingly ability Torres, so what makes the Chelsea boss think it will be third time lucky with Falcao? He obviously sees something we don’t, and while there is no denying that in his prime, the forward was lethal – something Chelsea fans know only too well, his ACL injuries look to have robbed him of at least a yard of pace.
Last season, it was not for a lack of trying that Falcao failed at Old Trafford – but for whatever reason, he was a bad signing and someone who did not earn the trust of the manager, and both the team and the player suffered because of it.
This time around, Mourinho claims to be fully behind the forward, and confident that he can find the back of the net, with Chelsea resembling the Altetico Madrid set up in which Falcao thrived far more than Manchester United, a team in transition last term, recovering from the shock of losing Fergie and the nightmare of David Moyes, ever did.
Mourinho has said that he will not look to bring in another forward, even sending Patrick Bamford out on loan for the season, leaving the Blues with three recognised forwards. That is a huge gamble – but one Mourinho is willing to take and one Falcao has no choice over. Falcao, who ironically, knows, likes and once formed a (brief) partnership of dreams with Diego Costa, with the pair scoring 31 goals between them in the games they played together for Atleti.
Both Falcao and Mourinho are staking a huge amount of their reputation on the Jorge Mendes brokered transfer. Falcao because if he can’t do it at Chelsea, he will be known as the washed up forward who failed not once, but twice in England.
Mourinho because if Falcao does not score, there is good chance his side will fail to win the title, or even if they can scrape that, thoughts of a trip to the San Siro for the Champions League final – something Mourinho earmarked upon his return to the club – are a fanciful dream at best.
It is a transfer that will not only define Radamel Falcao’s time in England, and possibly the rest of his career, but that will go someway to defining Mourinho as a manager – and if he can work his magic on Falcao as he does when calling a game and making a substitution, it will be a very lofty definition indeed.