United is reportedly close to signing Radamel Falcao from Atletico Madrid. The Colombian striker is ready to leave the Spanish club this summer, and United has already made a down payment on his transfer to Old Trafford, according to Marca.
“Manchester United has every chance of being the team that Radamel Falcao joins for next season,” the report says. “Despite speculation in recent months linking him with Chelsea and even with Real Madrid, the fact is that the Old Trafford club is the best place to sign the Colombian forward. Sources close to both parties suggest that a down payment may have already been made as a guarantee for a future transfer.”
Falcao has established himself as one of the world’s premier strikers in recent years, showing lethal finishing ability and a knack for rising to the biggest of occasions. His scoring prowess helped Atletico Madrid win the UEFA Europa League and Super Cup in 2012. His 22 La Liga (Spain’s first division) goals this season have put the club in position to achieve its highest finish since 1996.
The 27-year-old has been the subject of widespread transfer speculation in recent months. Chelsea and Manchester City are two of the clubs which are reportedly prepared to pay his buyout clause of £51 million ($78 million) to land him this summer. Rumors of a secret agreement sending Falcao to Real Madrid arose in late 2012, but Atletico Madrid denied its existence. Marca reports that United will not pay the full value Falcao’s buyout clause, but any transfer fee for the marksman will be significant.
If Falcao moves to the Premier League club, he would join a corps of strikers which currently includes Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Wayne Rooney. United is also expected to bid for Borussia Dortmund’s Polish star Robert Lewandowski during the summer transfer window, while Rooney and Hernandez have been linked with moves away from the club. It could be a summer of change for United and its stash of world-class forwards — especially if Falcao arrives.