With the transfer deadline just around the corner, rumour and speculation is now at its peak. Manchester City have already been active in this summer’s transfer window having signed five new players, but reports in the last 48 hours have suggested there could be room for one more big-name signing at the Etihad.
According to Tom Sheen, writing in the Independent, Radamel Falcao, the Monaco striker, is said to be open to a last-minute move away from the Ligue 1 side, with Real Madrid thought to be his preferred destination. However, after a string of big-money signings in recent months, Real may well find it difficult to make the necessary funds available to sign Falcao.
City, therefore, have emerged as the favourites. However, with the Blues already having 17 many non-homegrown players in their squad—UEFA limits clubs to naming just 16 for the Champions League—any deal to bring Falcao to City would need to be offset by a sale.
Alvaro Negredo appears most likely given the interest from Valencia, per Marca. His fee, expected be around £20 million if a deal is done, would combine with the sales of Jack Rodwell and Javi Garcia, as well as others expected to leave before Monday’s deadline, and give City plenty of room to manoeuvre, despite the £49 million net spend limit imposed on them by UEFA for breaching Financial Fair Play rules last season.
With just over 24 hours of the transfer window left, it seems unlikely such a complicated set of variables will be ironed out but football transfers often gather pace when a deadline looms.
Today's Super Deporte cover. They say Negredo's move could be a loan with option to buy and also report Falcao-City. pic.twitter.com/m91ainBmXp— City Watch (@City_Watch) August 31, 2014
AS claims City have rejected Valencia's loan (with option to buy) offer for Negredo and will only let him go for cash (around £20m).— City Watch (@City_Watch) August 31, 2014
There’s no doubt, though, if City could engineer a "one in, one out" scenario involving Negredo and Falcao, they will have improved their squad for the season. Falcao is top class.
He has searing pace and guarantees goals with his instincts inside the box. He managed 70 goals in his three seasons at Atletico Madrid, and he scored 11 in 19 last season for Monaco. He’s one of the most feared frontmen on the planet.
Negredo showed last season he, too, is an excellent forward capable of scoring goals in English football, but the collapse of his form, which saw him go 16 games without a goal at the end of the campaign, left some with doubts over his long-term suitability to lead City’s attack.
He is tall and quick, capable of bullying defenders with upper-body strength and scored a variety of different goals, but Falcao is a class above.
When asked about the Colombian at his press conference after yesterday’s home defeat to Hull, City boss Manuel Pellegrini refused to rule out a move, saying: “I am not talking about rumours. Just rumours. We have now 48 hours, we will see what happens, we have important restrictions about the amount of money we can spend.”
Pellegrini, though, is always guarded when pressed on transfer speculation, making it incredibly difficult to draw conclusions from his comments. He gives nothing away—a source of great frustration to journalists but in-keeping with the club’s philosophy.
It’s certainly a deal to keep an eye on. Real Madrid’s interest means City will have to be patient. If a move to the Bernabeu doesn’t materialise and City can shuffle their pack to ensure they can comply with UEFA’s spending and home-grown quota limits, they could well make a last-ditch attempt to bring him to Manchester.
It would be a sensational move if it happens.
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise stated
Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2014-15 season. Follow him on Twitter here: @RobPollard_