Losing Radamel Falcao would not be a disaster for Atletico Madrid, insists Diego Simeone.
The Colombian international is widely regarded as one of the best talents in world football due to his goalscoring exploits in recent seasons. During his two-year spell in Portugal with Porto, he registered 62 goals in 69 matches in all competitions, which earned him a £34.7million move to Atletico during the summer of 2011.
Falcao has only added to his reputation during his time in Spain, with 63 goals scored in 78 games. Although the 27-year-old remains under contract at the Vicente Calderon until 2016, he has been widely tipped to leave when the window reopens in the summer.
Chelsea and Manchester City are said to have a strong interest the former River Plate man, whilst he has also been linked with a controversial switch across the Spanish capital to Real. It would be a huge blow for Atletico if they are forced to cash in on their prized asset, but as Simeone points out, history dictates it is something they would recover from.
“It is complicated, but it would be fabulous if he stayed,” the coach of Los Rojiblancos told Spanish radio show Al Primer Toque. “I am not his agent. I am not Falcao. Falcao has given me a lot and is a player with commitment, and I respect him a lot for that.
“The fans do not have to judge him after all he has given. [Fernando] Torres went and [Sergio] Aguero came, which was a risky bet. [Diego] Forlan went and Falcao came. If he does end up leaving, another competitive player will surely arrive.”
If Falcao were to join City, he would link up with former Atletico star Aguero who has been a resounding success in England. Roberto Mancini plans to shake up his attacking options in the summer, with Edin Dzeko most likely to follow Mario Balotelli through the exit door.
Chelsea, meanwhile, could offer Torres back to the Spanish club as part of the deal. The 29-year-old may have flopped at Stamford Bridge, but he is still a hero at the Vicente Calderon after developing through their youth ranks to become a key player from 2001 to 2007, before he was sold to Liverpool for around £20million. The Blues could also use Thibaut Courtois, the Belgian goalkeeper who has impressed on loan at Atletico, as a further carrot.
Real will no doubt have the most difficult job in persuading their neighbours to sell them Falcao. There have even been suggestions that when the striker signed his deal with his current club, there was an ‘anti-Real Madrid’ clause inserted to prevent him signing for Los Blancos.