As the January transfer window creeps upon us, and Chelsea Football Club are in their usual, frenzied state, people are wondering, who are they going to buy next? Well, with recent reports of striker Daniel Sturridge being sold to Liverpool in the window, that’ll then leave the club with just one recognised forward, the struggling Spaniard Fernando Torres. Usually, we see a swirl of rumours, of forwards from across the globe being linked with a club like Chelsea, but this time only one is being mentioned; Radamel Garcia Falcao.
The Colombian forward has been in immaculate form this season with 20 goals in just 16 games, a record which would be worshipped around the world, if it weren’t for the ridiculously talented lad at Barcelona, Messi is it? Nevertheless, a Falcao-insipred Atletico Madrid, often called Real’s ‘little brother’ have risen to second in the league table, providing Barca with their biggest challenge, as their so called big brothers continue to flounder in La Liga.
Last Sunday’s match at the Nou Camp may have ended in a 4-1 loss for Atleti, but Falcao silenced the 90,000 crowd with the opener, and for a good half an hour they were harassing the home team, getting in their faces and giving them a run for their money. Alas, goals came from unusual sources, right-back Adriano scoring a spectacular equalizer, before Sergio Busquets put them 2-1 up just before half-time, after which Messi dominated, preventing Falcao and Atletico from a famous win. It was sign of intent though, both from the challengers and their talismanic number 9, they mean business and look on course for a top 3 finish at the least, and a return to the Champions League, the question is, will Falcao make it back with them?
Let’s rewind back to Summer of 2011. Our Colombian hero had finished his second season at Portuguese treble-winning Porto, and a huge 38 goals in all competitions, with 17 in the Europa League success, which saw a new record set. Atletico, on the other hand, were in a slight state of flux, having suffered an average season, 7th in the table and early exits from the cups and selling their two world-class forwards, Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan, to new homes in England and Italy, respectively. Fortunately, for Atleti, with their financial gain came the arrival of Radamel Falcao, paying the £40million buy-out clause Porto had inserted into his contract, which turned into a bit of a bargain.
He fit like a glove, becoming the Spanish side’s number one player, everything revolved around him. Excelling in the Europa League once again, but with his side floundering in La Liga, in came Argentine Diego Simone in a move that has revitalized the club entirely. Ever since Simone’s arrival, Atleti have been on fire, winning a 2nd Europa League title in 3 seasons, and 2 out of 2 for Falcao. Perfect start! This season’s exploits have been well documented, but are Atleti about to lose their star man, as they’ve become accustomed to with the departures of Aguero, Forlan and, previously, Fernando Torres?
Some have even questioned whether Torres might be up for a return to the Vincente de Calderon, to rediscover the form that made him one of the world’s most feared forwards, and saw him idolised by Atleti’s boisterous support. A swap deal then could be a good option for both parties, with Torres’ time at Stamford Bridge not having too many highs and Atletico surely snapping off Roman Abramovich’s arm for the reported £60million transfer fee that’s being banded about Europe. Of course, Simone would love to keep him until the Summer when he’d most likely have the golden carrot of Champions League football to tempt his star man to stay, but Atleti must have contingency plans for this inevitable departure.
Personally, I think Falcao would relish the Premier League. It’d suit his ‘targetman’ style of play, and on first look he would appear to be a clumsy, slow forward, but you’d be a fool to think that’s all he has. He’s shown in his time in mainland Europe that he’s capable of scoring many different types of goals, long-range strikes, a poachers tap-in, headers galore and cheeky backheels. Infact, in the recent 6-0 rout of Deportivo La Courna, in which our man scored 5 out of the 6, he showed many of these attributes, the explosive pace, the superhuman strength and his unnerving presence in the box, unnerving for defenders that is!
With Chelsea employing a system of constantly ‘buzzing’ playmakers this season, the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Juan Mata, he’d fit in beautifully, allowing a couple of the trio to play off him to great effect. That seems to be the one thing Chelsea are missing this season, a confident, consistent front man. For all the millions spent, this is the one area they haven’t gained much in, which may just convince owner Abramovich to support his interim boss Rafael Benitez and make one more significant outlay in the squad, in a topsy-turvey season for the Blues so far.
Of course, if the move goes through, Falcao will have his doubters in England, every foreigner tends to, but he can point to one massive example of his talent, proof he can score against English sides, and something fresh in the minds of every Chelsea supporter. Just this September, Atleti and Chelsea faced off in the UEFA Super Cup, for winners of Europe’s top two competitions, everyone assumed Chelsea would stroll to a meaningless trophy win, but that’s not what Falcao had in mind. He hit a superb hat-trick in a game which, ironically, started the rumour mill off, and led to then manager Roberto Di Matteo’s dismissal. A 4-1 victory was the outcome, but will the eventual outcome be Radamel Falcao in a blue shirt come the end of January? Who knows, but whatever he decides, wherever he may go, he’s going to have a phenomenal 2013.