Radamel Falcao has provided an update on his recovery from a persistent thigh problem. The forgotten Chelsea striker has not played a single minute of football since appearing as a late substitute during the 3-1 defeat to Liverpool on 31 October, with such an absence leading to suggestions that he could have his season-long loan from Monaco terminated four months ahead of schedule.
The Colombia international, previously revered as one of the world's most prolific goalscorers before a serious knee ligament injury and his miserable spell at Manchester United last season, did briefly return to his parent club for checks earlier in January. However, the club's vice-president Vadim Vasilyev later confirmed that Monaco had declined the chance to take him back early due to a belief that he would be sidelined for a further six to eight weeks.
With Loic Remy having only recently returned from a calf issue and Diego Costa's fitness now in question after he bruised his tibia against Everton at the weekend, Chelsea's attempts to sign a new striker appear to be stepping up a notch. Fresh reports from The Mirror claim that Alexandre Pato has been offered a three-year deal to join from Corinthians, although Falcao's latest social media post would appear to suggest that he could be back earlier than anticipated.
Taking to Instagram, he said: "Working on my recovery. I believe that everything is going to be normal very soon. thanks for the medic Staff. I really appreciate social media message that you send me."
Falcao's implication that things could return to normal soon would certainly be at odds with Guus Hiddink's rather downbeat recent prognosis. Speaking to Sky Sports after the eventful 3-3 draw with Everton, the Chelsea manager said: "There are still many months to go, so that's too far.
"We're almost at the end of January, then February, normally six, seven, eight weeks with serious damage. It's very serious. It's a pity for him because he's very eager to come back. That's a bit of the problem -- he was so eager the previous time and wanted to prove himself maybe a little bit too much to me, and then he fell into this injury again.
"If you've been one of the star players in Europe scoring many, many goals and then you have these [injury problems] at the age in which you want to perform in your career, it must be very hard for him."
Falcao will certainly be sidelined for the trip to Arsenal on 24 January, while Costa's status for the test against the Premier League leaders remains uncertain despite Chelsea confirming that he has avoided a shin fracture. Eden Hazard could make his return after returning to first-team training this week following a groin issue suffered against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.