Radamel Falcao is playing with Manchester United’s U21s

One Falcao.

Estimated loan fee: 6 million pounds.

Estimated salary: 265,000 pounds per week (or 350,000 pounds, if you want to believe that).

Cost to purchase: 43.5 million pounds.

Former Monaco superstar and Colombian heartthrob Falcao is spending his Tuesday night playing for one of the biggest clubs on the planet, Manchester United. That shouldn’t come as a complete shock to anyone with a passing interest in soccer. What is surprising is that he’ll be playing for Manchester United’s U21 team, lining up next to a bunch of random young people, and probably serial villain Rafael.

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. After missing out on Colombia’s wildly entertaining World Cup run due to a knee injury, Falcao had extra time to heal before unveiling himself to the people of Manchester. It was a mouthwatering prospect — Falcao joining a United team featuring some proper on-paper talent: Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Angel Di Maria, Danny Welbeck, Anderson.

But it just hasn’t happened yet. When Falcao has played, he’s looked more like Manchester United legend Bebé than the man that thrived at Atlético. It seems pretty clear that United manager Louis van Gaal doesn’t quite care for him anymore, which may be why he’s facing Tottenham’s U21s tonight.

Now, to be fair, there are other possible reasons why he’d be playing with the U21s, but those reasons are neither dramatic nor of interest to me. But I’ll share. The most obvious reason: Falcao’s U21 appearance is simply down to his need for games to keep his fitness levels up. Sitting on the first team bench is harder on the body than one might imagine. Think NASCAR. Sitting down can be taxing.

Meanwhile, Falcao’s direct deposit is still in good shape.

Oh, Falcao will be joined by former Barcelona goalkeeper Víctor Valdés at the U21 outing – another player who is decidedly not under 21.