The English Premier League season has established multiple tiers of clubs. Champions Manchester United are clearly all alone on top. If Chelsea wants to shift the power balance, they need to make a marquee move. Adding Radamel Falcao would certainly qualify.
Falcao is enjoying another tremendous campaign at Atletico Madrid. He's surpassed the 30-goal mark across all competitions for the second straight season and the 27-year-old striker is just entering his prime. So it shouldn't be a surprise that he's generating plenty of transfer buzz.
Neil Rowlands of the Daily Mirror passed along a report from the German newspaper Bild, which suggests the Blues are preparing a major coup that would include landing Falcao and bringing in Jose Mourinho to manage the club once again.
It was quickly followed by a shift in oddsmakers' lines, which made Chelsea the favorite to land the superstar, according to Tim Clement of Sky Sports. The movement suggests momentum is beginning to build in the Blues' favor.
The entire ordeal even reached a point where current Chelsea striker Fernando Torres commented on the talk that he may be joined by Falcao at Stamford Bridge, as reported by Sam Wallace of The Independent.
"When you play for Chelsea you're always hoping big players come and the big names are always being related with Chelsea," he said. "You cannot stop that, especially when the summer comes. Every player is welcome at Chelsea, every top player. Since I came to Chelsea only top players have come so it would not be a surprise [if Chelsea signed Falcao]."
Only time will tell if the rumors end up turning into reality, but it's definitely a move Chelsea should be pursuing aggressively. Falcao is exactly the type of player they need to make a serious run toward the Premier League title or another Champions League triumph.
The main reason no other club was able to keep pace with United is the offensive differential. The Red Devils have scored 12 more goals than any other team. It might not seem like much, but when you consider how many extra points that translates to in narrow victories, it allowed them to pull away.
Chelsea were hoping for a resurgent campaign from the inconsistent Torres or a strong finish from midseason addition Demba Ba, but received neither. That's why they are still battling for a Champions League spot with five matches to go.
It's difficult to make an exact projection for how much better the Blues attack would have been with Falcao up top instead of Torres or Ba. That said, it's safe to assume there would have been moderate improvement at the very least.
Chelsea's struggles to find a reliable lead striker haven't been due to a lack of trying, as the signing of Ba illustrated. But given Falcao's dominance and rise to stardom over the past couple of seasons, there's a good chance he could finally make those woes disappear.
Putting him in front of a talented midfield that includes Eden Hazard, who made a seamless transition to the Premier League, Juan Mata and Oscar would give the Blues an extremely potent attack. Once they developed chemistry, the ability to keep pace with United would probably be there.
At the same time, landing Falcao would also ensure he doesn't end up with one of Chelsea's EPL rivals, which should be a major concern right now. They don't want to fall any further behind the likes of the Red Devils, who have also been caught up in the Falcao fodder.
So if Chelsea was able to secure a deal for the Colombian international, they would really be knocking off two key offseason elements at once. Adding somebody to lead the attack and keeping potentially the biggest star available away from other contenders.
Considering all the talk, it's almost hard to believe the process is still in its early stages. There's a good chance it will take plenty of twists and turns in the coming months. That's what makes the transfer window such an intriguing time.
The only guarantee is that Chelsea must make a big splash in order to become more competitive with United ahead of next season. Falcao should top their list of players who can provide that boost.