Transfer boost for Chelsea as title rivals bow out of £48m striker race

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Chelsea have been handed a boost in their pursuit of Radamel Falcao after Manchester City threw in the towel in their pursuit of the Atletico Madrid striker according to reports.

Falcao has been in stunning form this season, and although he has failed to score in his last four games, the Colombian forward still has 10 goals to his name in La Liga.

Chelsea and Manchester City have been credited with an interest in Falcao in recent weeks, with both said to be keen on making a move in the January window despite Atletico’s insistence they won’t sell up until the summer at the earliest.

The latest batch of rumours suggest that Chelsea owner Roman Ibramovich has grown tired of the misfiring Fernando Torres, a £50 million buy in 2011, and was willing to bring in Falcao in order to bolster the Blues front line ahead of a title push.

Torres once more failed to find the back of the net as Chelsea went down 2-1 against West Brom on Saturday, meaning the Spaniard now has only four goals in 12 Premier League games. Before that defeat, Chelsea boss Roberto di Matteo admitted 'any manager' would like to land Falcao, a further indication of the west London club's desire to take him to Stamford Bridge.

Falcao has a release clause of around £48 million written into his contract – a figure only a handful of teams including Chelsea and Manchester City can reach.

Now it appears as though Chelsea may have a clear run at Falcao after Manchester City reportedly pulled out of the race to sign the former Porto forward.

According to the Sunday Mirror, Atletico Madrid General Manager Migel Angel Gil Marin and Falcao’s agent Jorge Mendes met with City’s new sporting director Txiki Begiristan following their 2-1 victory over Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium last weekend.

The paper reports that neither man was invited to attend the game and were told that the Citizens had no plans to firm up their interest in Falcao when the January transfer window opens.

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini was left frustrated over the summer after a series of moves for transfer targets failed to materialise, and the Mirror suggests Mancini may not be best pleased with the latest developments as the Italian believes he does not posses enough firepower in attack.

That didn’t look to be the case over the weekend as Manchester City put five past Aton Villa, with forwards Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez bagging two goals apiece in the rout.

A move for Falcao could be rekindled however if Mario Balotelli is allowed to leave the Etihad Stadium. The Italian didn’t feature for the second game running and has been linked with a move back to Italy.

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