Confidence and service the key to Falcao success at Chelsea
Chelsea have signed Radamel Falcao on a season-long loan, handing him another chance at success in the Premier League following a dismal spell at Manchester United.
Just a few years ago, Falcao was seen as one of - if not the - best striker in world football as he justified a €40million move from Porto to Atletico Madrid by firing the Spanish club to glory on the European stage.
Falcao netted 70 goals in two seasons at the Vicente Calderon and was the driving force for a team that lifted the UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup and Copa del Rey.
Recently, though, the Colombia international has cut a very different figure on the pitch, and heads to Chelsea not as a marquee signing in his prime, but as a gamble made by a club short of strikers outside of Diego Costa.
Pairing his undeniably brilliant instincts with superb hold-up play and having succeeded in one of the top leagues in the world, it was no surprise when Falcao left Atletico. What was a shock, however, was the destination.
Monaco paid a reported €60m to lure Falcao to the Stade Louis II ahead of the 2013-14 season yet, while flashes of his quality were there for all to see, his play was heavily affected by the lack of talent around him.
A serious knee injury ended his only season in France to date and any hope of playing in the 2014 World Cup, but did not prevent United from making what looked to be an astute season-long loan move last September.
What United did not foresee was the impact of the injury on Falcao. The undeniable sharpness he had at Atletico was gone, although he hardly received the service from wide areas he needed for a renaissance.
Indeed, manager Louis van Gaal's system did not suit Falcao's strengths and, for the majority of his time at Old Trafford, looked a shadow of his former self.
So now he arrives at Chelsea as a reclamation project and, thankfully for Falcao, he has a manager in Jose Mourinho who has made a living out of proving people wrong.
From his Champions League success at Porto to his triumph in the same competition with an unfashionable Inter side, Mourinho has a penchant for overcoming the odds.
Falcao's penultimate start for United came against Mourinho's men and was perhaps the perfect encapsulation of his problems under Van Gaal's stewardship as he was bullied by a determined Chelsea side cruising to the league title.
The 29-year-old now has another opportunity to redeem himself in front of the same home fans that bore witness to that dreadful performance, but he moves to Chelsea starved of service and bereft of confidence.
In order for this transfer to be a success, Mourinho must change that.