Lee Sharpe: Manchester United must qualify for Europe

andrewbinner 30/01/2015
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Lee Sharpe has faith in the current Manchester United team, backing Louis Van Gaal to challenge the Premiership title next season.

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Louis van Gaal credits Cambridge after FA Cup stalemate

Barny 24/01/2015
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Reaction after Cambridge United held Manchester United to a 0-0 draw in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Friday (23 January), earning the fourth-tier club a lucrative replay at Old Trafford.







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#360debate: Should Manchester United sign Radamel Falcao?

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In need of a lift: Radamel Falcao looked in better shape as Manchester United took on QPR, but failed to add to his modest goalscoring return.

On-loan Manchester United Radamel Falcao's future at the the club in doubt after a very patchy start to life at Old Trafford. 

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The Colombian striker missed out on the World Cup due to injury and signed for the Red Devils last summer on loan, with the club given the option of securing a permanent move.

However, the 28-year-old has only scored three goals from 13 appearances for Louis van Gaal's side, and his future is in doubt.

Our #360debate today is: Should Manchester United sign Radamel Falcao on a permanent deal?

Matt Monaghan, reporter, says YES

Manchester United would be crazy to give up now on one of world football’s great hit-men.

The goal return has not yet matched Radamel Falcao’s lofty reputation, a scoring rate of one every 231 minutes in the Premier League nothing to shout about. But it is too short-sighted to think ‘El Tigre’ will not roar again.

The Colombia international has been hamstrung by manager Louis van Gaal’s sterile 3-5-2 formation and favouring of countryman Robin van Persie. 

Falcao’s 694 minutes on the pitch have provided him with few opportunities to impress in a side that has struggled to create meaningful chances. Van Persie is the man in favour, yet for almost 1,000 minutes more top-flight action he has only scored five more goals.

True, Falcao did himself few favours by missing a pair of presentable chances in Saturday’s 2-0 win at Queens Park Rangers. But his energy and willingness to impress got him into those positions. 

With his calibre, it is highly unlikely he will be so generous in the future. Van Persie has looked a shadow of the player that carried United to the 2012/13 Premier League title, proving too static and once-paced.

Last season, his rumoured distaste for David Moyes was sighted as the reason for his listlessness What is the excuse this
time, under a new boss who has exhibited such faith in him for the Netherlands and Red Devils?

Falcao soon turns 29, so is no spring chicken. Yet, Van Persie will be 32 and within the last year of his contract when the next season begins.

A decision has to be made on the make up of United’s striking ranks. A crippling lack of raw speed has been apparent when viewing them this term.

As captain, Wayne Rooney is not going anywhere – apart from midfield. Youngster James Wilson is the future, his goal against QPR a peach.

Another pacey forward must be acquired this summer, with space left over for a veteran. With three years further on the clock and a contract expiring in 2016, the pragmatic choice is to make Falcao a permanent addition to the Theatre of Dreams cast and get rid of the dispensable Van Persie.

Martyn Thomas, reporter, says NO

Given he was recovering from a serious injury, signing Radamel Falcao last summer always felt like a calculated risk, and unfortunately it is one that has not worked out.

Falcao put in arguably his best performance in a Manchester United shirt against QPR but while his hold-up play was impressive, and his running willing, he was unable to notch his fourth Premier League game of the season.

Instead it was left up to academy graduate James Wilson to make the game safe, and it is the development of the 19-year-old that could ultimately contribute to Falcao’s departure.

Wilson offers something that no other out-and-out striker at Old Trafford does – pace. Falcao, and Robin van Persie, by
contrast have been found wanting in that area and consequently do not present opposition defences with a threat in behind.

As a result teams who play United know they can get tight to their forwards, meaning the men from Manchester can look laboured going forward. 

That is not to say that Falcao is suddenly a bad player, he is not, and there have been some worthy contributions, not least an equalising goal at Aston Villa.

But has he done enough to earn a full-time contract? Regardless of the extortionate £43 million (Dh239m) fee that would involve,
the answer is an emphatic no. Instead that money – as well as the striker’s £1m-a-month wages – should be invested in an area of the team that needs strengthening, such as the midfield or defence.

Louis van Gaal is likely to oversee another summer exodus and it would be remiss for such a large sum of money to be lavished on a 29-year-old striker who has struggled to adapt. A permanent move would also fuel suspicion that Falcao’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has vice-chairmanEd Woodward, and therefore the club, in his pocket. United have been here before of course, but six years ago Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill stood firm in the face of demands from Kia Joorabchian over Carlos Tevez.

If Van Gaal and Woodward are serious about rebuilding the club’s fortunes, then they must show a similar resolve now.

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