Come the end of the season Louis Van Gaal will have a very difficult decision to make regarding the future of Radamel Falcao.
The Columbian is one of the most prolific goalscorers in recent memory but since signing on loan from Monaco in the summer he has struggled for form in a United team that has generally failed to live up to its price tag. There are two worrying scenarios that could occur next season. Either United could pay the rumoured £43m asking price for Falcao and end up with a player who never manages to rediscover the form he became famous for at Athletico Madrid. Or United decide against signing Falcao and he moves on to another club where he inevitably becomes one of the top scorers in Europe once again. Leaving United to rue a missed opportunity.
The saga will no doubt be dragged out much longer than necessary and the two scenarios above are not the only two possible outcomes, however it would be useful for Van Gaal to use the time between now and the end of the season to consider some alternatives. Hopefully this article helps. I’m almost certain he’ll see it eventually.
Tradition states that we save the best for last but I’ve never been one for tradition. In my humble opinion Lacazette is not only the best player on this list but one of the finest young attacking talents in Europe. The 23 year old Frenchman has scored an incredible 21 goals in 22 league appearances for Lyon in 2014/15 and will no doubt be attracting attention from some of the finest teams in Europe this summer. Blessed with electrifying pace, tricky feet and impressive tactical awareness, Lacazette has made a habit of giving centre backs nightmares.
Dubbed ‘the next Aguero’ (although probably just because he’s from Argentina) Dybala is a quick and direct striker as well as a neat and tidy finisher who tends to go for placement over power. His 11 goals in 22 appearances for Palermo this season are testament to his ability to be in the right place at the right time and at 22 years old he has very little more to learn and plenty of time to learn it. Palermo will struggle to keep hold of Dybala for much longer.
An impressive World Cup under Louis Van Gaal meant that Memphis Depay was a nailed on certainty to be linked with United when Van Gaal took over the Red Devils last summer. The young Dutchman chose to stay with PSV however and it proved a wise decision. He has scored 15 goals in 19 appearances this season for the Eindhoven based club and has done so while operating in a number of different attacking positions. A player like Depay could fit in any of Van Gaal’s ever changing formations and still be a huge attacking threat each and every week.
This one is less straight forward, Kovacic is not a striker he is an attacking midfielder and one could argue that this is the only position on the pitch that United don’t need to strengthen. Kovacic is a unique player however. His balance and dribbling ability are bordering on world class and he possesses an uncanny ability to beat multiple players without needing to sprint. 4 goals in 22 games for Internazionale this year show that he won’t provide the same level of goals as the rest of the players on this list but he has created 41 chances for his teammates so far in 2014/15. At 21 years old he will provide energy and he is undoubtedly the best dribbler and creater mentioned here, meaning he would most likely provide the most penetration.
Much like Falcao, Pedro has struggled for form this year having only managed 5 La Liga goals all season. Some may question the logic in buying a player who is already 28 years old and in a similar run of form as the ageing striker we already have. The answer of course is money. Pedro is an outstanding talent and at any club other than Barcelona he would be the main attacking threat. Much like Falcao it’s possible that the premier league will not agree with him straight away making the transfer a huge gamble. It would still be a far cheaper gamble than Falcao however and Pedro would command a much smaller wage. The gamble seems worth it when you consider that the pay off could be a fit and happy Pedro in the prime years of his career.
So these are 5 logical alternatives to Radamel Falcao available at the moment with all things considered. It makes plenty of sense that at least one of these players be on the United radar as we speak. Especially as none of the players mentioned are likely to cost anywhere near as much as Radamel Falcao and all of them would be likely to have a much longer United career.