Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao heads for moneybags Monaco in £51m deal – despite tax glitch

The Colombian had been courted by Chelsea and Manchester City

Paris Saint-Germain's financial hegemony in France might be over, because a new competitor has arrived.

AS Monaco's promotion to Ligue 1 has prompted a remarkable spending spree which, by the end of this week, will include the €60m (£51.3m) purchase of Atletico Madrid's Colombian striker Radamel Falcao, so coveted by Chelsea and Manchester City. The Porto pair Joao Moutinho and James Rodriguez have already been secured for a reported €70m, along with veteran defender Ricardo Carvalho.

One year on from PSG's signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, Lucas Moura, Ezequiel Lavezzi and others, the landscape of French football is being changed again. Only one French side has won the European Cup, but the country now has arguably the two richest clubs on the continent. Certainly the two billionaire-backed clubs dwarf far more traditional and well-supported French sides such as Marseilles, Lyons and Saint Étienne.

But while those teams were powerless to stop PSG running away with the domestic title, there is some resistance to Monaco's return to Ligue 1 next season.

The principality, of course, is a tax haven which is one of the reasons – along with the billions of Russian majority shareholder Dmitry Rybolovlev – why they are able to persuade very good players to join a team whose average attendance last season ranked somewhere between that of Southend United and Port Vale.

So the Ligue 1 clubs tried to restrict Monaco's entry to the top flight unless they moved their headquarters to France to register for French tax.

When the French Football Federation stepped in to mediate, they proposed that Monaco would not have to move to France if they paid €200m over the next seven years to make up for their lack of tax. But the club is now challenging this in the French courts as being contrary to the tax convention between France and Monaco made in 1963.

However it turns out, Monaco are seemingly here to stay. Sporting director, Vadim Vasilyev, said that they "want to build a beautiful team who play beautiful football" and they are certainly assembling a handy side. Moutinho, Rodriguez, Falcao and Carvalho are rather better players than most newly promoted teams can sign. They are closely associated with Portuguese agent Jorge Mendes. Given the money on offer, the location and the fact that Monaco will probably be playing in the Champions League in 2014-15, a few more will probably arrive soon.

Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes, coming to the end of his time at the Nou Camp, is likely to be the next to join after Falcao, and Eric Abidal could well go the same way. Mendes clients Fabio Coentrao and Angel Di Maria have also been linked with a move should they be victims of the changes at Real Madrid this summer.

So Europe now has another financial giant, unimaginably wealthy thanks to a foreign owner. It may take a few years, but the top table of, first, French, and then Continental football, should make room for another diner.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave long-running series
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
A long jumper competes in the 80-to-84-year-old age division at the 2007 World Masters Championships
athletics
Life and Style
Walking tall: unlike some, Donatella Versace showed a strong and vibrant collection
fashionAlexander Fury on the staid Italian clothing industry
Arts and Entertainment
Gregory Porter learnt about his father’s voice at his funeral
music
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
Life and Style
Children at the Leytonstone branch of the Homeless Children's Aid and Adoption Society tuck into their harvest festival gifts, in October 1936
food + drinkThe harvest festival is back, but forget cans of tuna and packets of instant mash
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam