Atletico Madrid have all-but confirmed that Radamel Falcao will be leaving the club this summer. The striker has been Linked with a move to many of Europe’s leading clubs, including Chelsea, for the entirety of another prolific season. And Atletico chief executive Miguel Angel Gil-Marin has revealed that a promise was made last year that the club would not stand in the Colombian’s way of a move this close season.
"Before the start of the season we spoke with Falcao and promised him that if he kept up the same performances and helped us to qualify for the Champions League, Atletico would help him," he said, according to ESPN. "Whatever decisions he makes, Atletico will be with him."
Despite the apparent confirmation, there remains plenty of conjecture as to where Falcao will be plying his trade next season. Chelsea have a long-standing interest in the 27-year-old, but there have been strong reports in the past week that Monaco are close to a deal having agreed to pay his €60 million (£50.1m) buyout clause. In recent days, Manchester City are also said to be preparing a similar bid.
Given the competition and expense involved, Chelsea may well be looking at alternatives to fulfill their apparent need for a leading striker. The Daily Mail claims that the Blues are preparing a £25 million offer for Bayern Munich’s Mario Gomez. The Germany international has been one of the most prolific goal-scorers in Europe in recent campaigns, but following his return from an early season injury has been supplanted in the Bayern side by Mario Mandzukic. With Bayern believed to be close to a deal for Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski, Gomez could well be on the move in the upcoming transfer window.
According to the Mail, it is Jose Mourinho, the presumed next Chelsea coach, that has made signing Gomez his priority. Some doubt must be expressed at that, however, given that Mourinho is not yet thought to have agreed to take over at Stamford Bridge and technical director Michael Emenalo has a large say on transfers. Indeed, the Daily Telegraph reported earlier this month that Emenalo had traveled to Brazil to potentially re-ignite a move for Santos star Neymar.
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There has been incessant speculation about the Brazilian forward’s future in recent days, with the 21-year-old believed to be close to joining Barcelona. With Neymar’s contract set to expire next year, it is now believed that Santos are seeking to sell the player this summer rather than risking losing him for nothing after the 2014 World Cup, when it has always been thought that he would move to Europe.
Spanish publication Marca reports that, with Santos and Neymar’s representatives waiting for an increased offer from Barcelona, the door could be open for big spenders Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain to swoop in.
In other news, Southampton have insisted that Chelsea target Luke Shaw will not be leaving the club this summer. The 17-year-old left-back is seen as a target for many of the Premier League’s biggest clubs after a fine first season in the top flight.
But when asked whether Shaw would be remaining at Southampton, manager Mauricio Pochettino said “for sure,” according to the Daily Mirror.