Radamel Falcao’s arrival at Manchester United will inspire Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie to raise their game, says Niall Quinn.
Falcao is reported to have agreed a loan move to Old Trafford, subject to agreeing personal terms and a medical, rather than Manchester City and Arsenal, who have both been linked to the Colombia striker.
Quinn said Falcao’s move from Monaco is Louis van Gaal’s way of inspiring a team that has yet to win a Premier League game this season, despite the arrival of Angel di Maria, who made his debut in Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Burnley.
“If Falcao comes then I think it is fantastic competition for places because when you look at how the game is played now, it is no longer an 11-man game – it’s a 14-man game every week,” Quinn told Sky Sports News HQ.
“The way the game is going that’s going to become more dependent on players coming in, making an impact and being flexible and moving around.
“This will actually kick Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie on a little bit – they’ll be thinking ‘ok, we’ve got to fire even further than we have been’.
“To make Manchester United improve, Louis van Gaal doesn’t just rely on reputations – he builds his teams around people pushing each other and really buying into his philosophy, but also increased competition and Falcao coming to Manchester United is a wonderful lift to the football club if it comes off.”
Falcao missed the World Cup after suffering a serious knee injury but in recent weeks has been linked with a number of clubs across Europe, including Real Madrid.
Quinn said he hopes that the 28-year-old – who has scored 11 goals in 20 appearances for Monaco – will settle at Old Trafford quickly after what has been a disruptive period.
“United need a lot – there’s no doubt about that – but Falcao certainly brings with him a reputation that he has what it takes,” reflected the former Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland striker.
“For the last six or seven transfer windows his name has been linked with a club here and a move to the Premier League.
“It has been well mooted that his style of play will suit the Premier League and Manchester United are the one club that can attract the best players around even though they are not in the Premier League.
“That’s a big statement for Manchester United to make – that they can attract someone like him away from Manchester City, if indeed City were interested in him.
“He’s got a good track record – he’s done well wherever he’s been – although I would be worried slightly that he was gearing himself towards a move to Real Madrid over the last few days.”
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher, meanwhile, feels Falcao, Rooney and Van Persie could combine effectively if Van Gaal sticks with the 3-4-1-2 formation – but reckons one big-name striker may have to miss out if United revert to a 4-4-2.
And the former Liverpool defender is also surprised by reports that the Old Trafford side are considering letting England frontman Danny Welbeck leave the club.
“Falcao will want to play so it will be interesting to see how Van Gaal juggles those three players and gets them into his starting line-up,” said Carragher.
“Rooney could play in behind the two strikers, in the role Juan Mata is currently in, and you could have Falcao and Van Persie up front.
“But if they change to a 4-4-2, a formation they have played over the years, it could be difficult [to get them all in], even though Rooney could play in a wide role.
“With talk of Welbeck and [Javier] Hernandez moving on, they will need three strikers but at times it could be difficult to keep them all happy.”
On Welbeck’s possible exit, Carragher added: “I think it is a strange one as he has a lot of pace and energy and in the last 12 months or so United have lacked that in the team.
“I don’t think he will ever be an out-and-out No 9 in the Rooney, Van Persie or Falcao category but he is great to have in your squad as he can play in two or three different positions.”
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