Monaco’s Colombian striker Radamel Falaco seems determined to find his way to Real Madrid, but the player’s long speculated desire hasn’t deterred Liverpool and boss Brendan Rodgers. The Reds pulled out their first Premier League match without last term’s superstar Luis Suarez thanks to timely scoring from Daniel Sturridge, but the attack lagged against Southampton throughout the match and it could be a growing issue both domestically and abroad. Rodgers has reportedly kept tabs on Falcao, but he’s also monitoring the situations of other top strikers like AC Milan’s Mario Balotelli and Paris Saint-Germain’s Edinson Cavani.
Balotelli’s status with the Italian club has been mired in speculation for the past eight months, due in part to poor treatment from San Siro supporters, but the 24-year-old Palermo native pushed passed all of the negativity to score 26 goals in 43 appearances in his first year. Speculation reached such a boiling point Wednesday that Milan vice president Adriano Galliani was pressed to respond to reports of a £17.5 million switch to Merseyside.
“At this time we have not received any offer from Liverpool for Balotelli,” Galliani said according to The Guardian. “Therefore, there is no negotiation. We will see as the transfer market ends on 1 September.”
The fee would push just past the £17 million Milan spent to acquire Balotelli from Manchester City last summer. They would come out ahead of the deal, though Milan could demand more with Balotelli under contract until 2017. At a solid 6-foot-2, Balotelli has the height and strength to overpower opposing defenders, and he’d immediately step in as the focal point of Rodgers’s attack, a role he didn’t have with City. Compared to what Falcao might fetch for Monaco, Balotelli would also be a bargain acquisition for Rodgers, who’s spent nearly £100 million on eight players this summer.
The Reds would also have to fend off three-time defending Serie A champions Juventus for Falaco, according to Daily Mail. Juve are apparently mulling a loan for Falcao, something Monaco might be more open to, and could even sell off Fernando Llorente to Valencia to increase their offer to the French side. For now Juve appear to be Liverpool’s main competition for Falcao, with Madrid first needing to sell one more non-European Union player before even negotiating a fair price and wage for the 28-year-old.
Then there is the Uruguayan Cavani, who has struggled to find the same form of his Napoli days behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and is evidently Rodgers’s “Plan B” if a Falcao deal falls through, according to Bild. The German paper stressed that a Cavani switch could reignite the Ligue 1 champs pursuit of Madrid’s Angel Di Maria as well. Cavani, 27, and Falcao would each cost roughly £50 million, and though Rodgers has proven eager to spend the £75 million Suarez bounty, Balotelli again might be the more cost effective measure.
One report indicated Rodgers isn’t solely concerned with his attack. Barcelona defensive midfielder Alex Song has been looking for a new home after failing to surpass Javier Mascherano in two years.
"We will see if we can find a way out in the remaining days of the market,” club sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta said according to Daily Star.
Song, 26, is coming off a disappointing World Cup showing with Cameroon, but the Catalans have set his asking price at £10 million.