Ed Woodward trying to use Radamel Falcao to make a personal point at Manchester United

This is what happens when someone starts to feel the pressure of expectation.  Since being promoted to Chief Executive in 2013, Ed Woodward has faced nothing but withering criticism and derision for his ineffectiveness in the transfer-market.

He’s been accused of all sorts, from being simply incompetent to being the fall-guy for the Glazer family’s money-lust.

Over time that gets to someone and, when professional reputation is at stake, they can be goaded into a reaction - and that’s how this deal/loan agreement for Radamel Falcao feels.  It’s an opportunity for a press-conference and a chance for Woodward to sit next to one of the most famous players in the game and stick two fingers up at his detractors on Sky Sports.

“Look! Look! It’s Falcao! Are you impressed?”

Manchester United’s personnel needs are well-known and everyone appreciates that very expensive Colombian forwards are really the answer to precisely none of the problems that exist at Old Trafford.  United are two centre-backs, one right-wing back and a central midfielder short, and so there’s no real justification in prioritising the strengthening of an area in which they are already very strong.

And a caveat about the player himself: Radamel Falcao is twenty-eight years-old, has just returned from a very serious injury, and earns around £300,000/week.  Even if this is just a loan deal, the economics at work here are just crazy.  How many clubs has Jorge Mendes offered his client to?  And how many have said passed on that opportunity?  That’s very telling.

The need for depth at forward is a fair counter-argument, but United have willingly depleted their own resources in allowing Javier Hernandez to leave on-loan and, presumably, letting Danny Welbeck follow him out the door.  Both of those players offer something to this side, both of them know how to score goals in the Premier League - and keeping them wouldn’t have incurred the projected £20m cost that Falcao’s stay ultimately will.

It will sell some shirts and get the fans off Ed Woodward’s back, but as a footballing decision it’s very hard to understand.

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