Radamel Falcao: Analysing His Tactical Contribution and How Best to Exploit Him?

Christopher Atkins@@chris_elasticoContributor IMay 23, 2013

MADRID, SPAIN - MAY 17:  Radamel Falcao (R) of Atletico de Madrid holds the trophy in celebration with his teammate Saul during the Copa del Rey Final match between Real Madrid CF and Club Atletico de Madrid at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on May 17, 2013 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo/ Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Barely a day passes at present without Colombia striker Radamel Falcao featuring heavily among the front pages of football media websites the world over. As players go, he is currently one of the hottest properties around.

Indeed, Atletico Madrid have already confirmed that they will allow his exit later this summer.

The Colombian has, in particular, been heavily linked with a move to AS Monaco in recent days, with Porto stars Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez also among those linked with a move to the ambitious principality side.

Should any of the moves be completed, it would be a massive statement of intent. However, just Falcao alone would be enough to send ripples through European football.

Since joining Porto from River Plate (ARG) in 2009, the 27-year-old striker has been one of the most prolific strikers in European football, scoring 142 goals in 177 appearances in the intervening time.

It is an outstanding record, and one only made better by the player's consistently devastating performances in the Europa League—a tournament he won twice in consecutive years in 2011 and 2012.

It would appear, then, as if the Colombian has all the tools to be useful in any lineup. He possesses outstanding intelligence of movement, he can finish off both feet, is good in the air and links play well for his midfielders. He is one of the all-around modern strikers that are so prevalent at the current time.

He is, to a great extent, a goal poacher around the penalty area, in the style of the great No. 9s of the past. However, he offers so much more in the ability to both hold the ball up and also play off the shoulder of the last defender.

The key, then, to bringing Falcao into play is to play with both pace and width. Porto, Atletico and, indeed, national side Colombia have all brought the best out of the centre-forward with a focus on fast attacks from wide areas.

It is the speed of transition from defence to attack that determines just how effective Falcao will be. 

Get the ball wide while the defensive line is still disorganised and the exemplary movement of the Colombian becomes a major threat. Deliver a good ball into the box and chances are that he will convert.

For Colombia, it is full-backs Pablo Armero and Camilo Zuniga who provide that thrust from the flanks, while at Atlético it has been wingers Arda Turan and Koke who have provided that threat.

Turn the defence and feed balls into the box, and you can virtually guarantee Falcao will be on hand to attempt to convert.

It is little surprise, then, to see the likes of James Rodriguez and Dani Alves linked to the Monaco revolution. (Goal.com)

James has shown himself capable of influencing games from the left, as well as springing quick counter-attacks, while Dani Alves has made a living of doing likewise from a deeper position for Barcelona.

Add in highly-rated Argentine right-winger Lucas Ocampos, 18, who joined Monaco last summer for around €11 million, and it would seem Monaco possess, or are aiming for, the perfect group of players to bring the best out of the Colombian.

The thinking is logical. If they are going to spend a reported €60 million upon making the Colombian the centrepiece of their side, then they should surround him with those who will help him perform to his best.

Falcao is not the type of striker to help out regularly in defence, and while he may drop deep, he is also not going to play a creative role. His task is solely to spearhead an attacking line. Others must provide the innovation, while he will ensure that their effort is largely rewarded.

It is a job that he fulfils with aplomb, especially when those around him are on the same wavelength. In Moutinho and Rodriguez, Porto are targeting two players who he has a history of success alongside.

If Monaco can get the discussed names into the same team and comfortable with their new surroundings, then there is no reason why Falcao should not be a success.

Should he arrive at Monaco and quickly find the scoring form that he has shown over his four years in Europe, then PSG might find themselves nervously peering over their shoulder within the next couple of seasons.