The adage that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure certainly applies when considering the merits of mercurial striker Radamel Falcao.
He has joined Premier League champions Chelsea, having been discarded by Manchester United after a disastrous season on loan at Old Trafford.
Yet Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is paying a king’s ransom for the 29-year-old Colombian, presumably believing Falcao can regain the blistering speed and eye for goal that made him one of the world’s most coveted forwards before knee injury blighted his brilliance.
Only four goals in 26 games for United throughout a miserable season in Manchester did not enhance Falcao’s marketability, yet Mourinho had no hesitation in offering him a lucrative escape at Stamford Bridge. On wages of over $300,000 a week, rejection by United will not be too painful.
Mourinho has taken an enormous gamble. Falcao is nowhere near the predatory striker of old. Even in last month’s Copa America tournament, he was so ineffective in the first three games he played, despite being captain, Falcao was dropped to the bench.
Falcao is spending time with his family in Colombia this week before joining Chelsea on their pre-season tour of North America. They play Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and New York Red Bulls in the International Champions Cup later this month. If he does not impress, speculation that Chelsea have bought another expensive misfit in the same vein as Fernando Torres, will abound.
Chelsea have made a slow start in the summer transfer window, unlike Liverpool who have already signed a host of players.
Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne is their latest acquisition, and he joins Roberto Firmino, Danny Ings, James Milner, Joe Gomez and Adam Bogdan as new Anfield recruits.
Liverpool will offload unwanted players now, starting with Brazilian midfielder Lucas Leiva and Sami Mokbel, the 28-year-old defensive midfielder, who arrived at Anfield in 2007.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers needs to rebuild his underperforming squad from last season and with star striker Raheem Sterling on his way out, Rodgers cannot make the same expensive mistakes as he did last summer when many of his new signings disappointed.
Sterling has piqued the interest of Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal and with a huge transfer kitty at his disposal; the Dutchman is targeting the finest. Van Gaal has already made a $70 million bid for Germany striker Thomas Muller.
The Bayern Munich forward has been a van Gaal target since he took over at Old Trafford last summer. But despite a massive five-year contract offer, Muller said he is happy to stay at Bayern.
Van Gaal has also bid for Bayern midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger but he too insists he also wants to remain in Bavaria.
Van Gaal’s frustration grew when Real Madrid rejected United’s $35 million offer for defender Sergio Ramos.
Manchester City are also having a frustrating time in the transfer market. They have for months tried to sign Paul Pogba from Juventus and may have to settle for Kevin De Bruyne instead.
City’s fear that Pogba could end up at Barcelona next year were confirmed this week when the 22-year-old Frenchman’s representatives met Barca officials in a Milan restaurant.
Barcelona cannot sign any players until a transfer embargo is lifted in January, but they want to negotiate for Pogba to remain in Turin next season and then move to the Nou Camp next summer.
City are focused on signing De Bruyne as the Pogba deal looks likely to fall through. The 24-year-old Belgium forward will ask Wolfsburg for a transfer when contract talks start next week. Wolfsburg are reluctant to sell him but if a big offer comes in from City they may have little choice.
City will make Liverpool a third offer, this time over $60m for Raheem Sterling, their other main summer transfer target.