Radamel Falcao to Manchester City: City's hopes of Falcao coup fade but Alvaro Negredo still seems set to leave

Any move would be dependent on Negredo returning to Spain

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The Independent Football

After a weekend of frantic speculation, Radamel Falcao is unlikely to end up at Manchester City. The Premier League champions have been offered the Monaco striker as his agent, Jorge Mendes, attempts to find him a club before the transfer window closes.

Should City manage to sell Alvaro Negredo to either Valencia or Real Madrid, they might be in a position to do business – and Valencia appear close to a loan deal.

While City have been talking to Mendes, they have not been proactively seeking Falcao, as another striker was not a priority for the club’s director of football, Txiki Begiristain, when he drew up his list of summer transfer targets.

Valencia have been interested in bringing Negredo to the Mestalla on loan and the club president, Amadeo Silva, reportedly met Negredo’s representatives in Madrid over the weekend. It appeared today that Valencia had got their wish to take the striker on loan with the proviso that the deal be made permanent next summer. Negredo, who is recovering from a broken foot, is still far from match-fit.

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On Saturday night, Real was thought to be Falcao’s destination, with Monaco having agreed an £8m loan deal to take him to the Bernabeu for a single season with an option of a permanent deal for £24m. Falcao tweeted, “A dream come true”, followed by the only Spanish phrase David Beckham uttered on the day he was presented at the Bernabeu: “Hala Madrid”.

Falcao then deleted the tweet amid reports Mendes had spoken to City about a permanent deal for the striker that would be dependent on Negredo returning to Spain.

Meanwhile, Juventus were said to have lodged an offer of £16m to take Falcao to Turin for the season. Of his three possible destinations, Madrid have gone from a certainty – most bookmakers stopped taking bets on him joining Real – to the least likely.

Perhaps it was appropriate that Mark Hughes was at the Etihad Stadium as deadline day approached. Six years ago, when he was still manager of City, the men from Abu Dhabi who had just bought the club had made him a present of Robinho for £32m just like some people would bring a bottle of wine to a party.

On Saturday, Hughes’ Stoke side had given an object lesson in how to overcome a club like City in their own stadium. They took their chance through former United striker Mame Biram Diouf just before the hour and clung on to it with Ryan Shawcross marshalling his back four impressively against an array of attackers that never quite threatened to break through.

“Maybe other teams will play the same way,” said the City manager, Manuel Pellegrini. “But I am sure our team will not play the same as they did today. Normally, we have creative players who can make a difference.”