Radamel Falcao
Radamel Falcao (right) was dropped to the bench for Colombia's Copa America quarter-final defeat to Argentina in Vina del Mar. AFP

Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson believes Chelsea are 'pulling off a masterstoke' by signing Radamel Falcao, despite the striker's reputation having been dealt a hefty blow during a forgettable nine-month spell at Manchester United.

Colombian captain Falcao proved a highly-accomplished and revered finisher during previous spells with FC Porto and Atletico Madrid, yet failed to replicate that form during a season-long loan at Old Trafford.

The 29-year-old, signed after United had agreed to sell Danny Welbeck to Arsenal and also sanctioned Javier Hernandez's temporary switch to Real Madrid, netted just four times in 26 Premier League appearances under Louis van Gaal.

Unsurprisingly, the club confirmed that they would not be seeking to sign Falcao on a permanent basis and he subsequently returned to AS Monaco after the loan expired late last month.

Jose Mourinho clearly does not accept that the player's performances last term were reflective of his true ability, though, with Sky Sports claiming after much speculation on 31 May that newly-crowned champions Chelsea had entered into discussions with Falcao over a potential switch to Stamford Bridge.

"If I can help Falcao reach his level again, I will do it," the Portuguese told DirecTV Sports as quoted by the BBC. "It hurts me that people in England think that the real Falcao is the one we saw at Manchester United."

Unconfirmed reports from France had briefly mentioned Falcao in connection with an move to Liverpool as links with Chelsea really began to gather pace.

While that possibility always appeared rather unlikely, Lawrenson believes the former River Plate frontman still represents good value for money and perhaps should have been a realistic target for Brendan Rodgers after all.

"[If I was Brendan Rodgers] I'd have gone for Falcao - £7million on a loan? I would have taken him," he told The Sun.

With Mourinho typically preferring to deploy one central striker in Diego Costa, it is generally expected that Falcao will have to perform another backup role in the event that he did join Chelsea.

However, Lawrenson pointed to the forward's previous experience with Costa as a sign that the two could co-exist to good effect under Mourinho.

He added: "Jose Mourinho is pulling off a masterstroke. He played well with Diego Costa at Atletico Madrid so I think it's a bonus, I really do."

Neither Chelsea nor Monaco have so far issued an official announcement over any advanced negotiations or agreement regarding Falcao, although that could now be subject to change given that Colombia have now exited the 2015 Copa America following a penalty shootout defeat to Argentina.

The underwhelming Falcao started all three group games in Chile, yet was left out of the starting XI for the knockout clash in Vina del Mar as Jose Pekerman opted to promote new Atletico Madrid recruit Jackson Martinez.

Introduced as a 74th-minute substitute, he did dispatch an impressive penalty but Jeison Murillo's miss and Carlos Tevez's dramatic winner ultimately sealed Colombia's fate at Estadio Sausalito.