There were many question marks when Radamel Falcao was the first arrival for Chelsea FC this summer window.
For starters, this wasn’t the same Falcao that terrorized defenses during his spells in Portugal and Spain with 142 goals in four years. Instead, it was the one who joined Manchester United in a loan deal on deadline day.
During that time, he scored just four times in 29 appearances in all competitions for United, all coming against Everton, Aston Villa, Stoke City and Leicester City, looking like a shadow of the player the world had grown to respect.
As United however, qualified for the UEFA Champions League finishing fourth, he went to Chile to take part in the Copa America for his native Colombia, in which compared to his club form, his overall international form was spectacular ahead of the tournament.
During the eight matches he played for Los Cafeteros whilst he was at Manchester United, he scored five goals and became the top goalscorer ever for the national team with 25 during the process.
In Chile, with a team that was essentially the same in the World Cup last year in Brazil, El Tigre’s presence (and previous international form) gave the impression that this would be the tournament that he’d bring silverware to Colombia for the first time since 2001.
Instead, he was a shell of his former self and a reminder of what United fans have been accustomed to during his short time at Old Trafford.
In the Copa America, he played a combined 249 minutes, failing to score at all in a 1-0 loss to Venezuela, a 1-0 win against Brazil and a 0-0 draw against Peru.
He was on the bench during the quarterfinal match against eventual finalists Argentina but only played 26 minutes during that time and failed to make an impact as Colombia lost on penalties.
Still, that was then and this now. Jose Mourinho has been known for reviving players’ careers in an instant as he did so with Diego Milito in the treble winning side of Inter Milan in 2010, scoring two in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich.
While he is expected to be a backup for the fiery Diego Costa and the replacement of MLS bound and club legend Didier Drogba, there are ways to revive a player who was once regarded as the best pure number nine as well as one of the best players in the world after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The first reason is the player himself. Falcao and Mourinho are both individuals who in comparison, share similar traits of faith, passion and a fiery desire to win, meaning that the player and manager share the same levels of chemistry on and off the pitch.
Combining with creative players such as Oscar, Eden Hazard and Cesc Fabregas, Falcao will take up a big role in the middle and look to make the most of any chances that these players create.
His situation is also different compared to what he dealt with at United, being the backup to players such as Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie as the strikers. Failing to make much of an initial impression, Louis van Gaal dropped Falcao as he couldn’t afford to give the Colombian time to adapt, especially with a top four place at stake.
There is also the fact that Costa & Remy are injury prone or can only play a certain number of games per week, meaning that Falcao will be more important as he’ll get more games than any other average backup striker, or in this case, what he was dealing with last season at Old Trafford.
The Colombian should also be in better shape fitness-wise as having joined United, he had just come off the back of a season ending knee injury with Monaco – so he naturally needed time to get back to his best. Chelsea just might reap the benefits.
And Mourinho knows that the confidence he can give the Colombian will be essential as they look to contend on four fronts this season.
With confidence and the fact that he doesn’t have to deal with the pressure of making the top four as Chelsea are already the reigning champions, Falcao can be given the time and patience he needs to fit in at Stamford Bridge.
Of course, there is every chance that the opposite could happen and he has a similar season to last season, but if anyone could revive Falcao, it’s Mourinho.