Radamel Falcao is arguably the hottest striker in the whole of Europe right now, scoring 19 goals in 15 games, including 5 goals in one match against Deportivo La Coruna last weekend. His name has been on the tips of everyone’s lips when people talk about the potential big deals that will get done in the January transfer window. With interest coming from both Real Madrid & Chelsea, and with Chelsea looking to bring in a second striker to challenge Fernando Torres for the lone striker role, many believe that a deal will get done in January, rather than waiting for the summer. As it stands, Falcao’s release clause stands at €48 million, which would seem like a great deal at this time considering the vain of form he’s been in over the last few seasons, proving that he wasn’t just a one season wonder at Porto.
So in my eyes there are 3 big things that point to a January move away from Atletico Madrid for the 26 year old, with the first one being Falcao’s lack of participation in the Europa League this season for Atletico. When questioned on this, Diego Simeone stated that he was being rested, in order for him to be fresh for the weekend’s league matches. And it’s clear that there has been a positive response from this, with Falcao being the top scorer in Spain with his 19 goals. But it does seem odd to not play a man who has been top scorer in the Europa League for the last 2 seasons.
At Porto in his final season he scored 18 goals in 15 games, including the winning goal in the final, and with Atletico last season he scored 12 in 15 games, including 2 in the 3-0 win over Bilbao in the final. This is a guy who is deadly in Europe, and has shown this over the last few years. So why not play him? It seems to me that this could be done with the thinking being that this could reduce Falcao’s price tag if it comes to selling Falcao in January. With Chelsea already out of the Champions League and now heading for the Europa League, it would seem that everything’s been set up for Falcao’s transfer to London.
After Falcao’s devastating display in the Super Cup, where he scored a hat-trick to win the cup for Atletico, it sent out a very clear message to the rest of Europe that this is a special player, and one who can play at the highest level. There are rumors that after the Super Cup game, which happened to be on the transfer window deadline day, that Abramovich made a agreement with Atletico President Enrique Cerezo to purchase Falcao in January, after seeing the striker perform so well against the European Champions. Again, these are just rumors, but you wouldn’t put it past Roman Abramovich making such a move.
Next we come to the endless string of quotes that the press have received over the last few months from Falcao. These have varied from talking about playing in the Premier League, possibly playing for Real Madrid and the repercussions if he was to make such a move, but also about how he wants to stay at Atletico. The quotes are quite random it seems, but you’d have to ask yourself if a player was truly happy at a club, why is he entertaining the idea of moving to a new club?
It’s very clear that he’s a man in demand, being a player who could arguably walk into any top side in the world right now with the form he’s in. But Falcao has said how he’d love to play in the Premier League, praising the quality of the league, which could provide a big insight into where a move could be. Not to mention the fact that the President of Atletico has already come out and said that they’re powerless to stop Falcao leaving if the release clause is met. They do always say there’s no smoke without fire, and it does seem as if Falcao is in the process of wooing the league and possible destinations he could end up at. We’ve also seen how Falcao has spoken of his dream for playing in the white of Madrid, with it being every boys dream to play for the famous Real Madrid.
Finally, the third reason I have for believing a January move is possible, is due to Atletico Madrid’s financial situation. The club have huge debts of about €115 million in unpaid tax, however this is a common problem in Spain, with almost every club failing to pay all of their tax, with about €1.5 billion in unpaid tax being sought by the government. Atletico have agreed to pay €15 million per year in tax, but this still means it will take nearly a decade for the club to just pay off this initial debt they’ve racked up.
But, there’s a problem for Atletico, and this just happens to be the man of the moment, Falcao. Atletico have been unable, allegedly, to fully pay the transfer fee that Atletico promised to pay Porto for Falcao last summer. It’s reported that they’ve fallen behind on their payments, with Porto not being happy. It does seem strange that Atletico could be allowed to buy a player for such a huge sum of around €40 million, with such expansive debts in tax to the Spanish government.
The situation is so bad for Atletico that they had their prize money for last year’s successful Europa League campaign, withheld by UEFA for not meeting their regulations when it comes to tax. However it must be added that these funds were released in late November once Atletico convinced UEFA that they had the proper payment plans in place. But still it’s pretty embarrassing that the winners of UEFA’s second biggest competition have to have their payments withheld temporarily, and you can clearly see why UEFA are so keen to implement the Financial Fair Play regulations for clubs. But like I said before, this problem isn’t just limited to Atletico, with Malaga also having prize money withheld from last season.
So the question remains now, where will Falcao end up and when? It does seem fairly obvious that he won’t be an Atletico Madrid player next season, having been in such high demand in recent months. Atletico are determined to get into the Champions League places this season, in order to bring in more revenue and lower their debts. But it may be the case that they have to do this without their star striker. With Chelsea seemingly desperate for another world class striker, despite Fernando Torres’ recent purple patch of 5 goals in 3 games, London does seem like a viable option. When Didier Drogba left in the summer, people wondered who would step up for Chelsea in the big games, with Drogba scoring 9 goals in 9 cup final appearances. Here’s a stat that Chelsea fans will love about Falcao: in 5 cup final appearances, Falcao has scored 7 goals. Sound familiar?
This is a guy who can play in the big occasions, and could well be the perfect replacement for Didier Drogba, and at the same time compete with a Fernando Torres who looks more and more like his old self with every passing game that Benitez takes charge. At £50 million and at 26, this may well seem like a big risk for a player who doesn’t have much of a re-sales value. However, when Drogba was bought for £24 million at the age of 26, they called that a big risk too, and yet Drogba went on to being the best striker to ever play for Chelsea, and made himself a hero for fans all over the world with his big game goals, including THAT goal against Bayern Munich and THAT winning penalty kick. Now I’m not going to get ahead of myself and say that will be the case with Falcao, but he does have all the attributes to succeed in the Premier League. With Real Madrid also interested, it may just come down to a bidding war when it comes to January, with only one thing being certain. Falcao will leave Atletico Madrid. The only question is where, and when?