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Falcao in action for River Plate
Back in 2008, a little-known Colombian striker was making waves in Argentina and attracting interest from Martin O'Neill's Aston Villa. According to the Mirror, Aston Villa had been in touch with River Plate to discuss the £5 million transfer of Radamel Falcao as O'Neill looked to bring in a new forward.
Now recognised as one of the world's deadliest strikers, Falcao was regularly finding the back of the net for his Argentine club under the tutelage of Reinaldo Merlo and later Diego Simeone. The striker—still just 22 at this point—scored 36 goals in 93 appearances for River Plate, per Transfermarkt.
The Villans did not manage to land their man though. Instead, Falcao remained at River Plate until the summer of 2009 when he made the transfer to Portuguese outfit FC Porto. His new club parted with a reported €3.9 million to secure 60 per cent of his playing rights, per Goal.com.
Whilst in Portugal, Falcao honed his talents in front of goal. The Colombian forward scored an incredible 72 goals in 87 games, per Transfermarkt, helping FC Porto win the Primeira Liga, Portuguese Cup and UEFA Europa League. His goals also ensured that Falcao finished top goalscorer in both the domestic league and Europa League.
To make things worse for the suffering Villa fans, the club were again linked with Falcao in 2011. As reported by the Metro, the Colombian hit-man's form for Porto saw renewed interest from the Villans with a fee of at least £15 million being mooted. However, this appeared to be just a rumour as Atletico Madrid parted with a club record €40 million to bring Falcao to the Vicente Calderon to replace Manchester City-bound Sergio Aguero, per Goal.com.
Falcao's goalscoring exploits continued in Spain with his new club. The striker found the back of the net on 70 occasions in just 91 games, per Transfermarkt, again helping his employers to silverware. Falcao lifted the UEFA Europa League, Copa del Rey and UEFA Super Cup during his time with Atleti, most notably scoring a stunning, match-winning hat-trick against Chelsea in the latter.
Falcao left Atletico Madrid last summer to make the surprising switch to French moneybags Monaco in a £53 million transfer, as reported by the Daily Mail.
With reported interest from the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester United and Chelsea, moving to a newly-promoted club not participating in the Champions League suggested financial motivations were behind the transfer. During his first season in France, Falcao scored 11 goals in 19 games, per Transfermarkt. However, an injury in January ruled the forward out of the rest of the campaign and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, as reported by the Guardian.
Having missed out on Falcao on two occasions, the thought running through most Villa fans must be "what if?". Instead of the Colombian international wearing the claret and blue shirt, the Holte End faithful instead got to see the likes of Emile Heskey and Marlon Harewood take his place in the starting XI.