Ex-Aston Villa manager Martin O’Neil must still have nightmares about that one fateful day in the January 2009 transfer window where he rejected a £7m offer of Club Atletico Riverplate’s plucky young striker Radamel Falcao and opted to sign Emile Heskey instead. Many Villa fans will be wondering what could have been should the Colombian striker have signed for the midlands club that season and the likelihood is it would have been the best signing in their recent history judging by the striker’s devastating form in front of goal this year.
His high-flying Atletico Madrid side hit Deportivo for six last weekend with their star man Falcao netting five of them bringing his overall tally for the season to 16 – three ahead of his Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo. His success on the pitch has not gone un-noticed however with many European clubs including Real Madrid themselves rumoured to be interested in his services.
Falcao’s aforementioned goal-scoring services wouldn’t be cheap to acquire however and with his price tag steadily rising over the last year, it’s a nailed-on certainty that any club that signs him will have to stump up the equivalent of 48 million euros – reportedly his contract release clause fee. So who are the contenders that may be looking to snap up football’s hottest property in January?
Online bookmaker Ladbrokes are already tipping Falcao to be a Premier League player next season and with such a hefty sum to pay this only leaves money-bags Chelsea and to a lesser extent Man City left in the hunt. Much has been discussed about the speculation of Falcao on this blog in the past and with Chelsea most in need of a seasoned front man following the plight of £50 million-rated Fernando Torres, it seems Rafa Benitez’s side seem the most likely to stump up the cash.