Radamel Falcao arrives at Manchester United, having completed one of the most sensational deals of the transfer deadline day and the transfer window in general. The Colombian forward represents a considerable financial investment for the club in terms of his wages alone, and will surely demand regular first-team football.
However, it is not entirely clear what role will be given to the striker in Louis Van Gaal’s side. The Dutch manager must juggle, amongst others, Wayne Rooney, Robin Van Persie, Angel di Maria and Juan Mata – all of whom can contribute to a fantastic frontline. Throw Falcao into the mix, and their appears to be a fine balance being trod between real-life fantasy football, and forcing square pegs into round holes.
Van Gaal could opt for a three-pronged attack, using di Maria and Mata behind his trio of established strikers. In this system, perhaps Van Persie will play in the middle, with Falcao and Rooney either side of him. Or else, Rooney could play centrally, drop slightly deeper, and have the other two stars making runs off of him.
It seems unlikely that Falcao will be pushed further back, which could mean that Rooney will drop into midfield totally. The England man has a versatile edge to his play, and Van Gaal could look to utilise that. Perhaps di Maria on the left, Rooney inside of him, paired with Mata and Ander Herrera on the right? Add Daley Blind in as a holding midfielder, and there is a 5-strong midfield that will take some beating.
Essentially, it is unclear exactly how Falcao will be used. However, it would appear more likely that other players will have to adapt around the Colombian, rather than the other way round. Falcao has been brought into the side to score goals – and he can do that most effectively if he is played up front.