EXCLUSIVE: Bring me Falcao! Chelsea owner will bankroll £46m striker deal
Prolific: Falcao nets against Malaga last weekend
Roman Abramovich has told Chelsea to press ahead with a £46million swoop for Radamel Falcao in January.
The Chelsea owner has identified the Colombia striker as the next world superstar he wants at Stamford Bridge and instructed Chelsea’s hierarchy to put together a bid for the next transfer window.
The prolific Atletico Madrid striker interested Chelsea during the Andre Villas-Boas regime and he has been extensively scouted by the club despite the Portuguese manager’s sacking.
Chelsea officials are understood to be confident a deal can be reached with Madrid, with the player open to moving to London and the Spanish club willing to sell. The only obstacle will be the price.
Falcao’s release clause is £46m and Atletico are determined not to lose their prized asset for anything less.
Chelsea will try to negotiate a lower fee but Abramovich’s desire to see Falcao in a blue shirt is such that the west London side will do what it takes to sign the 26-year-old.
Falcao’s £35m move from Porto to the Spanish capital last year was partly funded by a third-party consortium which included the South American’s agent, Jorge Mendes, and Chelsea will use Mendes and supporting agents to ensure the deal runs smoothly.
The Barclays Premier League leaders splashed around £60m in the summer on the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Victor Moses but are ready to spend again.
Chelsea chiefs are confident a successful swoop for Falcao would still see them fall within the financial fair play criteria, particularly after their money-spinning run to the Champions League title last season.
Despite the summer spree, Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo was frustrated by his failure to sign a centre forward.
Stamford Bridge chiefs decided a move for Napoli’s Edinson Cavani was not value for money, and the same stance was taken with Hulk, who left Porto for Anzhi Makhachkala.
Chelsea also explored a move for Bayer Leverkusen forward Andre Schurrle but a bid never materialised, leaving Di Matteo short of striker options after the departure of Didier Drogba to Shanghai Shenhua.
Fernando Torres has started the season as Chelsea’s first-choice striker, making a promising opening with six goals in 12 games.
But a striker remains Di Matteo’s priority and the Italian will be buoyed by Abramovich’s support for a bid for Falcao, who would again raise question marks over Torres’s long-term future at Stamford Bridge.
Falcao tore Chelsea apart with a hat-trick in Atletico’s 4-1 demolition of the Champions League holders in the European Super Cup in August.
Having scored an incredible 24 league goals during his first season in Spain, the Colombian has picked up where he left off with eight La Liga goals this term – the same as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
However, Chelsea could face competition from Manchester City after manager Roberto Mancini watched Falcao last weekend.
The European champions also retain an interest in Arsenal contract rebel Theo Walcott, who is entering the final six months of his deal after rejecting a £75,000-per-week extension in August.
The England winger wants to stay at the Emirates but feels he deserves a better package. Talks between the parties are continuing.
Long-term admirers Chelsea are being kept updated with Walcott’s situation. Walcott, who can sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club in January, is also interesting Liverpool and Manchester City.