Chelsea have officially announced the signing of Radamel Falcao on a season-long loan. Though some critics have quibbled that his abysmal form with Manchester United last season and Colombia at the Copa America last month should have served as a clear warning for the Premier League champions to stay away, there are actually so many reasons for them to acquire the once prolific striker that they probably don’t even know exactly why they’re doing it themselves.
First, they simply needed a striker. With the departure of Didier Drogba and the inevitable loan and eventual sale of promising young talents Dom Solanke and Patrick Bamford, Chelsea need a third striker for when Diego Costa gets a four-month ban for curb stomping Gunnersaurus and Loic Remy realizes he could be playing twice as much almost anywhere else.
Still, that doesn’t answer why they need a once great striker who is now a sad husk of his former self. But this is actually a calculated element of modern Chelsea teams. A big-earning and underachieving player in a glamor position maintains some semblance of relatability for the mega-rich club. Whether it’s Adrian Mutu, Andriy Shevchenko, Fernando Torres, or Falcao, having a guy with a big reputation and bigger wages for the general population to make fun of and compare themselves favorably to helps the cash-fueled juggernaut seem endearingly flawed (as they win trophy after trophy anyway).
Then there’s the secondary reasons Chelsea would sign Falcao. Like, as a reward for what he did (or didn’t do) at Manchester United last season. Perhaps keeping him in the league and forcing Man United to remember what a failure their own Falcao experiment was will serve as Jose Mourinho’s latest mind game.
He could also be some kind of motivational tool for Chelsea’s own players. A living, breathing, daily reminder to make the most of every second of good form because it could evaporate at any second. But it should be pointed out that Chelsea’s press release on the arrival of Falcao didn’t specify that he would actually be used as a striker. He could be joining for a year of work experience as an assistant masseuse or as a camera operator for Chelsea TV. We simply don’t know.
Finally, there is the possibility that he will regain his form and contribute actual goals for the club when called upon, helping Chelsea win more trophies and giving Mourinho one more example of his own managerial brilliance. If this happens, after all the jokes and negative comments that have been made about Falcao, Mourinho’s self-satisfaction will be felt by all living beings on the planet and may even destroy what remains of the ozone layer. No one will be safe. There will be no escape.