Chelsea target Radamel Falcao has hinted that he may be set to stay at Atletico Madrid beyond this summer. It had been widely believed that the striker was set to move on at the end of the season with a number of clubs chasing his signature.
However, Falcao’s latest comments call into question that notion.
"I have a contract with Atletico for three more years, therefore that's the best option," he told Spanish publication El Mundo Deportivo.
If Falcao does decide that his future lies elsewhere then Chelsea may be aided in their bid to sign the Colombian this summer by Atletico Madrid’s interest in their former striker Fernando Torres, according to the Daily Mirror.
Falcao is widely reported to be Chelsea’s leading transfer target, but he is likely to be difficult and extremely expensive to pry away from the Spanish club. The Mirror reports that Torres, who came through the youth ranks at Atletico, could now be used as a bargaining chip.
The story contains a quote from a vaguely described “Spanish source,” who apparently said “Despite all his problems at Chelsea, Torres is still held in great affection at Atletico and he would be welcome back.”
Torres’s time appears to be coming to an end at Stamford Bridge having, despite being first-choice this season, continued to fail to come close to justifying his £50 million fee. Chelsea’s likely desire to recoup as much of that fee as possible if and when they decide to sell the 28-year-old could make a deal difficult, however.
There have also been reports in recent weeks that Chelsea would use goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois as a makeweight in a deal for Falcao. But the Belgium international, currently in his second season on loan at Atletico, has said that he doesn’t believe that will be the case.
“A lot of things the press say are nonsense. They are guessing,” he said, according to Metro.
“They know Chelsea want Falcao but Chelsea have told me, ‘The last thing we want to do is sell you.’ Maybe they are lying to me but I don’t think so.”
It also seems likely that the many suitors for Falcao will have to pay his buyout clause of €60 million (51.7m). Chelsea could well face competition for the 26-year-old’s signature from Real Madrid and Manchester City.
Chelsea have also been linked with another striker in recent times, in the form of Saint-Etienne’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The Gabon international has scored 12 goals in 24 Ligue 1 appearances this season, but could now be set for a move to Newcastle, reports Metro. The 23-year-old has said that he has not heard of Chelsea’s interest, which according to Metro, signals that he is on his way to Newcastle.
“I want to see something else, find something else. A new challenge,” Aubameyang said.
“Chelsea? I was not aware of that. You’re teaching me something new.”
One man that has said he is very much aware of Chelsea’s reported interest is Marouane Fellaini. The powerful Everton midfielder recently urged the Blues to make a bid if they were keen on him, but Chelsea could be set to face serious competition for the Belgium international’s signature.
According to the Sunday People, Manchester City are now eagerly pursuing Fellaini and are prepared to put forward a deal worth £23 million, which would include two players moving in part exchange.
Everton are determined to hold on to the player, whom they signed for £15 million back in 2008, and his future could well be determined by whether the Merseyside outfit qualify for the Champions League for next season.