Radamel Falcao has created headlines in Spain after following Gareth Bale, Isco and Sami Khedira on Instagram, an occurrence that reportedly lends weight to the Colombian's proposed transfer to Real Madrid.
Spanish newspaper AS reports Falcao "already followed a number of Madrid players, including Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo, Fábio Coentrão, Pepe, Marcelo and Benzema," but suggests his latest activity comes as a surprise due to it happening in "one swoop."
Falcao is reported to be on the verge of joining Los Blancos in a year-long loan deal, as reported by Samuel Stevens of The Independent. Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim insists he is relying on the player "for now," as per French paper L'Equipe (via Stevens' report), fuelling speculation by failing to rule out the forward's exit.
Will Radamel Falcao join Real Madrid this season?
The prolific striker, who has remained a consistent goalscorer throughout his European career with Porto, Atletico Madrid and Monaco, posted nine goals in 17 appearances for the French league side last season, per WhoScored.com.
Injury stopped Falcao from making a greater impression and ruled him out of the World Cup, where Colombia impressed.
His Bernabeu arrival would challenge Karim Benzema's place in the team.
The Frenchman is now Real's only traditional centre-forward after Alvaro Morata left the club and may be disheartened to hear he could be replaced after an impressive season leading Carlo Ancelotti's forward line.
The Italian boss instilled a fast-paced attacking flow through the European champions' play, with Benzema's work up top providing a vital outlet on the break. His hold-up play remains useful, but Benzema is the type of striker who may hit a patch of poor form if he suddenly loses confidence.
Bleacher Report UK's Sam Tighe indicates Falcao's arrival would add to the overluxurious nature that has become Real Madrid's transfer policy:
Real Madrid are a bit short on firepower so Radamel Falcao would be a great signing, said no one other than Florentino Perez ever.— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) July 26, 2014
Falcao offers powerful hold-up play and a more consistent threat that could aid the team's development, particularly now that James Rodriguez is on the scene. The duo excelled alongside each other at Porto and enjoyed a positive (albeit brief) relationship at the Stade Louis II, as well as for Jose Pekerman's national team.
This bond could be key to Falcao's potential arrival and would certainly improve both players' chances of success with Real.
Despite previously claiming his move to Monaco doesn't represent a "stepping stone" to the club, it seems the Ligue 1 side will have certainly been used as leverage if Falcao moves. It would have been troublesome for the experienced goalscorer to travel directly from Atletico to their city rivals, after all.
A loan move appears to be a viable option for each party. Real won't have to worry too intensely about UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules, while Falcao can regain his sharpness without the pressure of a major price tag. Monaco could also look forward to receiving a greater fee once he moves on permanently, if Falcao nets plenty of goals during a temporary stay.
While plenty of progress needs to be made for the deal to go through, enthusiastic supporters will be encouraged by Falcao's decision to follow the Bernabeu's best. Top footballers have nowhere to hide in the modern game, where every action appears to open up a plethora of speculation.
Falcao's future is likely to be contested throughout the summer, as he may wish to develop his interaction with Real's stars from the virtual world and into the physical domain.