at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Roman Abramovich is ready to concede his £50million gamble on Fernando Torres has failed and step up his pursuit of Colombia sensation Radamel Falcao.
The Chelsea owner will make funds available for Roberto Di Matteo to recruit a new striker, and Atletico Madrid’s prized asset is impressed by the European champions’ ambition. Manchester City and Real Madrid are also interested in the 26-year-old forward, who scored a stunning hat-trick against Chelsea in the European Super Cup. But Falcao said: “Chelsea are champions of Europe and there is not much more to say than that. Even after winning the Champions League they still go and sign players of the highest quality. Their ambition is clear.
”I would not be worried about the physical aspect of the Premier League. I have scored goals in Argentina, Portugal and now Spain. I am confident I can adapt my game to any league. I would welcome the challenge of the Premier League. I was also a big fan of Gianfranco Zola when I was growing up. I have watched the Premier League for a long time. There is so much quality and it is such an exciting league. Of course it is nice to think I might play in it.”
Financial difficulties mean Atletico will almost definitely have to cash in on the 26-year-old, if not in January then the end of the season. There is a £48m release clause in Falcao’s contract.
Chelsea will wait until the summer if necessary – such is the player’s loyalty to Atletico he would first like to help them secure Champions League football – but Abramovich’s desire to see him at Stamford Bridge is sure to spell the end for the misfiring Torres.
After Didier Drogba’s departure in the summer, Abramovich had hoped Torres would finally rediscover the form that persuaded him to smash the British transfer record to sign him from Liverpool in 2011.
But the 28-year-old has shown little sign of improvement, scoring only four Premier League goals this season and delivering another disappointing performance against Liverpool last weekend.
It has been mooted in Spain that Torres could return to his beloved Atletico, who sold him to Liverpool for £25m in 2007, as part of the deal that takes Falcao to London. Chelsea defender David Luiz would certainly welcome the arrival of Falcao. After facing the Atletico star in the 1-1 draw between Brazil and Colombia in New Jersey on Wednesday night, Luiz said: “I’m happy when there are great names attached to Chelsea. He’s a great player. It would be a good choice for Falcao to come to Chelsea. All of the players would be happy.”
Bayer Leverkusen forward Andre Schurrle is a possible alternative.
But it is clear Falcao wants to move. In an interview earlier this week he told Radio Caracol: “The chance of playing in another league and for another club will come. I keep dreaming.”
Chelsea, meanwhile, expect to finalise the protracted £4.5m signing of Brazilian right back Wallace, 18, over the weekend and will keep him at Stamford Bridge rather than loan him back to Fluminense.
His agent Frederico Moraes said: “There are very advanced negotiations with Chelsea and the signature is almost certain.” – Daily Mail