El Centrocampista

Flight of the Falcao: Where will El Tigre end up?

With the end of the football season now in sight, it’s time for football writers, bloggers and fans alike to speculate over who will and wont depart for pastures new over the summer.

It is the period where potential transfers can be agreed, Mario Gotze to Bayern Munich having already been announced, possible moves scuppered by injury or bad form and targets can arise from nowhere.

One transfer that seems destined to happen is that of sought-after Columbian hitman Radamel Falcao. The Atletico Madrid hotshot is reportedly courted by Real Madrid, Manchester United, ManchesterCity, Chelsea and Paris Saint-German.

The 27-year-old arrived at the Liga club in 2011 from FC Porto and has continued to cement his status as one of the best forwards in the world.

He has, in recent weeks, done his best to deny any interest in moving to one of Europe’s elite clubs.

“In recent weeks I have tried to isolate myself and not think about the rumours about my future,” he was reported saying.

“I’m focused only on Atletico Madrid. I do not let the market rumours affect my performance.”

But while Falcao’s PR talk is admirable and to be expected, in reality Atletico’s chances of keeping ‘El Tigre’, who has 31 goals in 35 appearances for Los Rojiblancos this season, appear remote with the giants of world football continue to circle around Estadio Vicente Calderon like hungry vultures.

But what are the options for a man who will reportedly cost some £47 million?

An obvious, but difficult move would be to rivals Real. Los Blancos are always interested in the world’s principal talents and currently boast the two biggest signings in history, parting with £80 million for Cristiano Ronaldo and a measly £63 million for playmaker Kaka. With question marks over the futures of Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain, Madrid may well be on the look-out for a new striker and Falcao certainly fits the bill. Whether Atletico would sell and whether Falcao would make the move to the Santi Bernabeau, however, remains to be seen.

Then there is current Champions League holders Chelsea. Falcao has been on Roman Ambramovich’s wish list ever since Atletico’s destruction of the Blues in the Super Cup last year – which was helped by a Falcao hat-trick. Chelsea certainly have the finances in place and could also offer ex-Atletico hero Fernando Torres as part of any potential deal.

Big spenders ManchesterCity have also been credited with an interest in the South American. As well as failing to match their expansive football from last season, they have now relinquished their grip on the Premier League title which will be enough to provoke a reaction from City’s Arab owners. Edin Dzeko is likely to leave, freeing up space for a big money signing. Big wages and Champions League football are likely to appeal to the former River Plate forward.

Across the city and fresh from being crowed Premier League champions for 13th time, Manchester United aren’t about to rest on their laurels. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side are reportedly prepared to meet the £47 million buy-out clause and throw in Mexican Javier Hernandez to sweeten the deal. Reports in Spain have suggested that a downpayment has already been made; however, it is believed that United’s interest is still in its early stages. Also, with Wayne Rooney’s future in doubt, a move has the potential to materialise sooner rather than later

Finally, are French giants Paris Saint-Germain. The soon to be Ligue 1 champions have money to burn, as they proved last summer when signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and Ezequiel Lavezzi. The Parisian side are trying to build a club that will be able to challenge for domestic and European honours and a marquee signing like Falcao would undoubtedly appeal to their Qatari owners.

One potential sticking point with any club wanting to sign Falcao will be the issue of a third-party ownership. A company run by Peter Kenyon, former United and Chelsea chief executive and super agent Jorge Mendes own a stake in the player due to helping finance his £34 million from Porto in 2011.

His likeliest destination? Only Radamel Falcao (and his agents) will truly know who is really interested. One thing is for certain and that is that this is a saga looks set to run throughout the summer months and there is certain to be a few more twists and turns along the way.


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