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
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
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

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas