Chelsea are on the brink of taking a substantial gamble by securing Radamel Falcao on a season-long loan from Monaco, with the player accepting that he will need to take a huge cut in the £265,000-a-week wages which have made him one of Manchester United’s most expensive mistakes.
Final details of the agreement under which the 29-year-old will join Jose Mourinho’s side are still being finalised, but Falcao’s arrival will not shatter the pay structure, in which £200,000-a-week Eden Hazard commands the top salary at Stamford Bridge. It is thought that Falcao’s salary may be closer to £130,000 a week.
The move still constitutes an expensive gamble on a player who has cost United hugely, even though the Old Trafford club’s commercial revenues have helped soften the blow. In his 43 weeks as Old Trafford’s top earner, Falcao was paid just short of £11.4m but completed 90 minutes on only six occasions. Based on the fact that he played only 1,497 minutes of football last season, Falcao appears to have earned just over £7,600 for every minute completed. United, who have decided not to take an option to buy him, have never confirmed the salary or how much of it is bonus-related.
There will be less pressure on Falcao to deliver at Chelsea than at Old Trafford, where he arrived with a huge reputation and weight of expectation in Louis van Gaal’s reshaped side. While his absence for weeks at United was a cause of intense interest – he had started only three games by 20 December – Mourinho can use him as an impact player.
The Chelsea manager’s firm disinclination to play two strikers provides a degree of protection for the Colombian, who is currently in action at the Copa America, since Diego Costa will always be the first choice.
But there will be nowhere to hide from expectations during those periods when Costa, who suffered persistent hamstring trouble during his first season, is out of action and Mourinho looks to Falcao to step up. The Premier League champions will then expect to see the world-class impact which Falcao failed to make at United.
Monaco are expecting to be hit by financial fair play restrictions, which explains their desperation to offload the player for a further year. Van Gaal felt Falcao was not providing the intensity he looks for in his training sessions and that may have been because he was rushed back from a serious knee injury sustained the season before last. It is thought that Chelsea have been reassured that the player does not have any recurring fitness problems.
Loïc Rémy will seek assurances about his Chelsea future in the light of Falcao’s arrival, which has shattered his own hopes that he would become second-choice striker following the departure of Didier Drogba. Mourinho may keep the player, but if one of the clubs who have shown an interest – including Crystal Palace and West Ham – come in with a strong offer, he may be tempted. Rémy would be even more peripheral if Chelsea make good on their interest in Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann.Reuse content