Atletico Madrid: 5 Strikers Who Could Replace Radamel Falcao

Jason Pettigrove@@jaypetti1971Contributor IMay 7, 2013

Atletico Madrid: 5 Strikers Who Could Replace Radamel Falcao

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    Radamel Falcao continues to set the football world alight with some devastating individual performances for Atletico Madrid.

    Potential suitors Chelsea have been courting the Colombian ever since his skill and work ethic destroyed them at the start of this season in the European Supercup (via Express).

    However the official Manchester United website also ran a story quoting a report saying that their club are in pole position to sign the player with rumours of a down payment already made.

    Whatever the truth, a deal has yet to be concluded with either club, or anyone else, but it seems likely that Falcao will be plying his trade elsewhere from next season.

    The wish of manager Diego Simeone is for Falcao to stay at Atletico, but according to Fox Sports, the Argentine has admitted the situation is "complicated."

    Let's take a look at five players who could replace the Colombian at the Vicente Calderon.

Christian Benitez

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    Yes, this is the same Christian "Chucho" Benitez that had a disastrous loan spell at Birmingham City in England scoring a paltry three goals in 30 games.

    The Ecuadorean striker—now at Mexican side Club America—is like a man reborn with a prolific 47 goals in 73 games.

    His powerhouse performances have brought him to the attention of Diego Simeone and trusted Ecuadorian website Ecuagol believe he could be the man to replace the departing Falcao.

    The capture of Benitez would afford Simeone the luxury of not radically changing the make up of his Atletico side as the player offers much the same threat and movement as Falcao.

Gonzalo Higuain

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    Gonzalo Higuain will definitely be leaving Real Madrid at the end of the current campaign, having had enough of life at the Santiago Bernabeu, via

    "El Pipita" has been a wonderful servant for the all whites and at just 25 years of age potentially still has his best footballing years ahead of him.

    His goalscoring prowess, link up play and general attitude will grace any forward line and a queue has already formed with Liverpool no shortage of takers, via Express.

    Here is a player right on Atletico Madrid's doorstep who is similar to Radamel Falcao in terms of his work rate and the physical nature with which he plays the game.

    Higuain could be the perfect fit for Atletico but will it undermine Real's own campaign next season if his paymasters allow the player to transfer to their cross-town rivals?

    The lure of the Premier League may in the end prove irresistible, however, it is hard for the player to ignore that a switch across town would allow him and his family an ease of transition to pastures new that will not be afforded him elsewhere.

Javier Hernandez

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    You have got to feel sorry for Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez.

    Fifteen goals from 26 games in all competitions—including eight from 19 games in the Premier League, despite the majority of the time being used as a substitute—is a return worthy of a place in most starting XI's.

    With Robin Van Persie in such stellar form, however, the "Little Pea" has seen his appearances curtailed.

    As has been mentioned in the introduction to this article, Sir Alex Ferguson is rumoured to have Radamel Falcao as one of his summer targets.

    It therefore makes sense to include Hernandez in any transfer fee, rather than keeping him on the bench.

    Hernandez has lost none of the trademark sharpness, in-game intelligence and speed of thought that are his hallmarks, and a move to the sunnier climbs of Spain may make sense.

    He would after all be amongst good company as compatriots Giovani and Jonathan Dos Santos, Carlos Vela, Hector Moreno and Andres Guardado all ply their trade in La Liga. 

    Furthermore, Atletico are likely to be able to offer the carrot of Champions League to satisfy the desire of the player.

Fernando Torres

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    It's been six long years since Fernando Torres donned the red and white of Atletico, but the door is ajar for him to make a dramatic return.

    Diego Simeone is open to the swap deal between Torres and Falcao, according to Mirror, although Torres himself seems a little more reticent.

    He has declared his intention to stay at Stamford Bridge (per, but his stance could well change if, as expected, a new Chelsea manager is brought in who sees Falcao as the focal point of the attack.

    With the Colombian so similar in style to Didier Drogba, it's unlikely any new manager will continue the experiment of partnering Torres with a more physical centre forward, a system that patently hasn't worked for the Spaniard or for Chelsea.

    Torres knows Atletico inside and out and their style of play suits him. It's a club close to his heart and a place where he can immediately feel comfortable.

    Despite an appalling time in London the player still has much to offer and he has the chance to re-ignite his career at the club where he spent 12 successful years.

Luis Muriel

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    By far the most interesting transfer story for Atletico Madrid at this time, surrounds the potential transfer of Luis Muriel from Italian outfit Udinese.

    According to Marca, Italian newspaper Gazetta Dello Sport has reported that the Spanish outfit are willing to offer 28 million euros for a player that has only spent one season in Italian football.

    The 22-year-old has been compared to a young Ronaldo—the Brazilian not Cristiano.

    Extremely quick, two footed and confident in front of goal, Diego Simeone must consider utilising the influence of Falcao in selling Atletico Madrid to his fellow Colombian.

    Although Muriel has only scored nine goals for the Italian outfit, his six goals in 10 appearances for the Colombian U20 and senior sides' has also piqued the interest of the likes of AC Milan, Juventus and Napoli, according to Gazzetto Dello Sport via Inside Spanish Futbol.

    Once a destination for "El Tigre" is known then the transfer merry go round will begin to turn.

    Which of these five strikers do you think will be the next major signing for Atletico Madrid?