Chelsea are set to face intense competition for the signing of prolific Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao. Roman Abramovich is said to have made the signing of Falcao a priority and is ready to sanction a £45 million move.
The Daily Telegraph reports that given the player’s salary demands, he will essentially cost the club a staggering £85 million. Chelsea are far from the only interested party, however, with Real Madrid also pursuing the 26-year-old, according to the Telegraph.
Real boss Jose Mourinho has spoken of the difficulty of procuring Falcao from their local rivals and Atletico are sure to prefer that the player moves overseas.
Falcao, who has scored nine goals in just seven La Liga appearances this season, recently suggested that a move to England would appeal to him.
"The quality of the league is not in doubt—there is so much talk of Barcelona and Real Madrid but the champions of Europe are in England," he said, according to the People.
If he does move to the Premier League, Chelsea could also face competition from Manchester City. Carlo Cancellieri, a scout for the Premier League champions, has said that Falcao is very much on their radar.
“I spoke about him in recent days with Mancini,” he told Tuttomercatoweb.com. “If we were to take a player in January, we should take Falcao. He is an important player, the only one who could make us take the leap.”
If a move for Falcao fails, Chelsea could turn their attentions to a cut-price alternative in Schalke’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. The Netherlands international is out of contract next summer and has been linked to the Blues, along with Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal, according to the Daily Mirror.
Huntelaar, who scored a league-leading 29 Bundesliga goals last season, will be free to negotiate a pre-contract agreement from January. Schalke could also take advantage of their last attempt to cash-in on the 29-year-old.
Falcao and Huntelaar are not the only big names to be linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in recent days. Abramovich has also identified Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets as a leading target for next summer, according to the People. The story claims that the 24-year-old is considering his future at the Camp Nou, with Chelsea keenly monitoring the situation with a view to a £25 million move.
Busquets could be just the kind of player that Chelsea’s midfielder needs and Abramovich is a known admirer of Barcelona’s approach to the game.
A midfield spot could open up at Stamford Bridge, with Frank Lampard again linked with a transfer to the Los Angeles Galaxy, this time by the Daily Mail. Lampard, 34, has fallen behind John Mikel Obi and Ramires in the pecking order and will be out of contract next summer.
According to the Mail, LA Galaxy could even try to lure Lampard to the United States in the January transfer window. That would seem an unlikely prospect, however, with the new Major League Soccer season not set to start until March.