Monaco's reported pursuit of Diego Costa poses a major threat to Chelsea's hopes of signing the Atletico Madrid striker, but such a development could finally open the Stamford Bridge door to Radamel Falcao.
As reported by Rob Draper of the Daily Mail, Costa is rumoured to be the subject of a mega bid from the rich Ligue 1 side:
Chelsea are in danger of losing out on signing Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid this summer, with French club Monaco offering a tax-free salary understood to be £150,000 a week as well as trumping a £40million bid.
While such a bid could gazump the Premier League side's hopes of signing their long-time reported target, Falcao may prove to be a viable alternative for the West Londoners. Atletico chief Enrique Cerezo also recently said the club will not sell Costa, per Paulo Freitas of Sky Sports:
"I don't believe Diego Costa is leaving the club next season, we won't sell him next season, but that won't stop other clubs from wanting him," said Cerezo.
If sold, it is unlikely Costa and Falcao would play up front alongside each other at Monaco—they both excel in lone-striker roles—while the principality will be concerned of adhering to FIFA's Financial Fair Play rules.
It is this legislation that ensures Chelsea are unlikely to enter a bidding war for Costa. Tony Banks of the Express recently suggested any substantial fees may have to be funded via the sale of key stars:
(Roman) Abramovich has given the green light to the departures of all three of Mourinho's flop strikers - £50 million Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto'o - as well as the sales of other big money buys like David Luiz and John Obi Mikel.
But Mourinho has been told there will be no money on top of what he brings in from sales, as Chelsea try to stay within Financial Fair Play rules.
Falcao has proven himself adaptable to three leagues on the continent. His plethora of goals across the Portuguese, Spanish and French divisions, as well as during successful European encounters and international matches, highlights the player's ability to excel against the best.
Which forward should Chelsea prioritise buying?
He isn't blessed with the pace of Costa, but he is a tremendous finisher and more dominant in the air. Falcao is a physically adept hold-up man who would naturally suit Chelsea's play. The 28-year-old is the type of player who can maintain possession and spray it wide for the likes of Eden Hazard and Willian, before heading into the box in anticipation of racking up a telling touch.
Although the Colombian doesn't offer much of a defensive contribution, especially when compared to Costa, he is lethal enough to spearhead an attack that is currently falling short of Chelsea's standards. None of Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o or Demba Ba have the quality to remain in Jose Mourinho's side, as summed up by their collective haul of 15 Premier League goals this campaign.
Falcao's season has been cut short with injury, but he still managed to score nine goals in 17 matches for Monaco, per WhoScored.com. The newly promoted side have fallen away from Paris Saint-Germain since his January absence, currently residing 13 points behind the champions after 32 games, while Falcao remains on the recovery table.
FIFA's Financial Fair Play rules ensure clubs can no longer afford to consistently overpay for talent. If Chelsea were to land either Costa or Falcao, Mourinho would need an instant return on the pitch. A repeat of Torres' ill-fated £50 million switch from Liverpool would leave the team struggling to adhere to the "break even" guidelines, even after selling a couple of pricey stars.
Although originally feared to be out of the World Cup, Falcao could now be fit for the Brazilian tournament, according to Monaco boss Claudio Ranieri and via Robin Bairner of Goal.com:
Chelsea's summer is likely to be defined by their hunt for a new striker. Stamford Bridge is yet to see a permanent replacement for Didier Drogba, an oversight that is likely to ensure Mourinho's men fall short in the race for the Premier League title.
While Chelsea fans are likely to be excited by either Costa of Falcao's arrival, it appears both players' futures could have a direct impact on each other. If Monaco happen to snap up Atletico's prolific scorer, Falcao is an excellent solution to the Blues' striking woes.