The Blog

Not Even the 'Special One' Can Rescue Radamel Falcao

Mourinho has failed to get the best out of Andriy Shevchenko and Fernando Torres before now. They, of course, weren't his own choice of players, but there is little evidence to suggest he will have any more success with Radamel Falcao.

Radamel Falcao's career could go one of two ways at Chelsea in 2015/16. He could begin to rediscover the kind of form that made him one of the most feared strikers in the world as recently as 2013. Or, he could endure another difficult season and be labelled a flop for the second year in a row.

Unfortunately for Falcao, the second scenario seems much more likely.

A lot of people think that Jose Mourinho's influence will instantly wipe away the memories of a torrid season at Manchester United and set him on the path to greatness once more. Many Chelsea fans also have doubts, but they are prepared to put their faith in a manager responsible for three of the club's five English titles.

But why should Mourinho succeed where Louis van Gaal failed? The same problems that plagued Falcao at Old Trafford will continue to trouble him at Stamford Bridge.

The biggest hurdle for the 29-year-old while wearing a United shirt was the long-term after-effects of a devastating injury. Falcao ruptured knee ligaments in January 2014, but was back playing after just five months in a desperate bid to make it to the World Cup in Brazil.

Where Falcao rushed, in vain as it was in the end, most individuals suffering a similar injury would have taken much more time on the road to recovery. He needed proper rest and never got it - and he's still suffering even 18 months on. By the second half of the 2014/15 season, the former Porto and Atletico Madrid supremo looked exhausted every time he stepped out onto a pitch and it showed in his performances.

A full summer of rest and relaxation might have seen a far fresher Falcao return to action next season. However, instead he has been in action for Colombia at the Copa America and has looked similarly underwhelming for his national team. Now, the player will begin pre-season just as tired as he was when he left United in May and will be in no state to have any more of a role wearing Chelsea blue.

At this point in his career, a season back with Monaco in the less frenetic Ligue 1 would be ideal, but it won't happen.

One could argue that Mourinho's man management skills will come to the fore and nothing else will matter. The biggest critics will instantly churn out statistics from his United loan - only four goals in 26 appearances. If Mourinho can get inside the player's head then he will have a top striker on his hands, right? Wrong.

Falcao's statistics at United were rather misleading. Yes, he only scored four times in the Premier League, but the numbers alone don't tell anything like the full story. He wasn't missing chance after chance like some people are keen to suggest.

In terms of goals, assists and general contribution, Falcao was actually quite productive in his first few weeks at Old Trafford and then again in late December. The period in between was hampered by niggling injuries, while from January onward tiredness took over. Falcao looked dismal thereafter, but only because he couldn't keep up with the play and get himself into the dangerous positions he previously found with ease.

Basically, his head wasn't the problem, it was all his body - that is a problem that Mourinho cannot fix with even the best man-management skills.

Those in favour of Falcao signing for Chelsea also claim that the system Mourinho employs is much better suited to the Colombian than what he was exposed to at United. But is it actually any different? Both teams play with technically gifted midfielders (Fabregas, Matic, Mata, Herrera), pacey wingers that drift inside (Hazard, Willian, Young, Di Maria) and a lone centre forward (Costa, Rooney) in a similar 4-2-3-1 formation. Falcao might not even notice the difference.

As well as the lengthy rest he hasn't had, Falcao also paradoxically needs game time to rediscover his match sharpness. Notwithstanding the fact that English football has already proven too physically demanding for him, he just wouldn't get the minutes he needs at Chelsea.

Mourinho has no reason to favour Falcao over Diego Costa, while Loic Remy is a much better second choice. Even if the Frenchman does leave, as has been suggested, another new striker would surely have to arrive to bolster the squad before the end of the summer.

Mourinho has failed to get the best out of Andriy Shevchenko and Fernando Torres before now. They, of course, weren't his own choice of players, but there is little evidence to suggest he will have any more success with Radamel Falcao.

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