Until Wednesday, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain were to Atletico Madrid’s Radamel Falcao what they were to almost every other player on the transfer season auction block: the likeliest of likely landing spots given both clubs’ ambitions and the resources at their disposal.
Well, get ready to see another name popping up in the press whenever a transfer rumour is mulled or a high-profile player enters the final months of his contract. Pep Guardiola’s appointment at Bayern Munich redrew the landscape overnight. The Bavarian giants are suddenly a fashionable destination, and here’s guessing they’ll at least be in play for some of the most sought-after signatures in world football. Including Falcao’s.
Until Bayern’s Twitter account confirmed Guardiola would succeed Jupp Heynckes as manager in July, Falcao’s most probable new clubs were Chelsea and PSG. Not only was the pair among his most amorous suitors, but both seemed to offer a route out of the Spanish capital that made a degree of sense.
In Chelsea’s case the acquisition of Falcao would have presented the club with its least embarrassing option for jettisoning Fernando Torres out of London. Torres, after all, came through at Atletico Madrid and played parts of seven seasons there, and a swap deal plus cash would have allowed Blues owner Roman Abramovich to save face on his £50 million flop.
PSG, meanwhile, would have offered Atletico what they crave most: money. The Spanish side, presently second in La Liga to Barcelona, owes more than €100 million in unpaid taxes, and the sale of their most valuable asset stands to wipe out a significant portion of that. PSG could have gone above and beyond the asking price, and in a recent interview with Telefoot Falcao admitted a move to Paris was very much within the realm of possibility.
It could still very well be. But the fact remains that with Guardiola at the helm, Bayern Munich will be seen as a very appealing project to many players. Falcao could be among them, and his arrival would only heighten the sky-rocketing profiles of both Bayern and the Bundesliga.
He’d also be surrounded by some top-end talent at the Allianz Arena. From the net out, Bayern’s squad is populated with players who have the ability to succeed both now and over the next few seasons. Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry may be 28 and 29 years of age, for example, but Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller are both 23 and Xherdan Shaqiri is just 21. And while Mario Mandžukić (26) and Mario Gomez (27) are holding down the lone striker’s job for now, it’s still a position that could use an upgrade.
Falcao could provide that, and Guardiola could provide him a secure environment in which to pursue silverware year after year. Abramovich’s Chelsea and Qatari-backed PSG are hardly as stable—particularly given the spectre of Financial Fair Play—and neither can offer the chance to work with a manager who, by virtue of his trophy-laden years at Barcelona, is as highly regarded as Guardiola.
Of course, at the end of the day Falcao, like most players, will move to the club that bids the most for his services and offers the most appealing wage packet.
Bayern broke the Bundesliga transfer record just last summer when they signed Javi Martinez for €40 million—an amount to which they’d have to add 50 per cent just to trigger Falcao’s release clause. But if they go into the summer prepared to spend that sort of money, they’ll have no shortage of superstar players trying to bang down the door in hopes of joining ranks. They’ll have the pick of the bunch.