Chelsea has already made changes on the sidelines, and now that it has dropped into fourth place in the English Premier League, owner Roman Abramovich will almost certainly be treating himself to a belated gift for the holidays this January.
Rumors have swirled around several players, but there has been a full-blown hurricane of speculation regarding Atletico Madrid’s Radamel Falcao.
The Columbian has scored 11 goals in 12 La Liga matches and has his side in second place in the table. While Atletico’s success may make it tempting to hold on to Falcao, The Daily Mail notes, “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.”
If Chelsea fails to sign Falcao, its best option will be 23-year-old Leandro Damiao, who recently expressed his interest in a move to London. He currently plays in Internacional, the club that produced Oscar, and The Sun quoted him saying, “I had an excellent relationship with Oscar here. It is true that I would like to be reunited with him.”
While Falcao is an ideal option, and price will not be a concern for the Chelsea owner, it will be necessary for the club to have a backup plan, as signing Falcao is not a guarantee.
If Atletico is savvy in this situation, it will hold on to their best player for the remainder in order to secure a lucrative spot in next year’s Champions League, then sell him in the summer, thereby generating even more revenue.
This scenario would leave Chelsea without a headline-grabbing signing for the January transfer window, but Damiao would be a perfect addition to placate the fan base and improve the side.
He has 17 goals and five assists in 31 appearances for Internacional this season, and has proven to be a strong, skilled centre forward. In addition, his age suggests that he still has room to improve.
Falcao is far and away the better striker, but The Sun's report notes that Damiao is rated at £15 million. Abramovich would have no problem spending this now rather than making a monstrous bid for Falcao in the summer.
If the Columbian striker is available, Chelsea should buy him immediately. But if its first option falls through, Damiao’s ability, potential and price make him the perfect back-up plan.