Chelsea have moved ahead of Manchester City and Real Madrid in the race to sign Radamel Falcao.

According to the Daily Star, the Stamford Bridge club have made significant inroads in negotiations with the deadly striker’s club Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has sanctioned negotiators to find an agreement with Atleti for the £40million-rated Colombia international and the report claims both sides are confident a deal will be done.

Securing Falcao’s signature would be something of a scalp for Chelsea to hold off such affluent rivals in Manchester City and a club as prestigious as Real Madrid.

The deal for a player often labelled Europe’s best only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo is likely to be as expensive as any this summer and could prove a problem for one of the other suitors.

The Etihad Stadium outfit are trying to bring themselves in line with UEFA’s incoming financial fair play rules and signing Falcao would likely only make that more difficult.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid’s chances of signing the 27-year-old were always going to be slim due to the city rivalry with Atletico.

The report also claims the return of Fernando Torres to his old club could be an option to sweeten the deal.

Chelsea signed the Spain striker in 2011 in a British record £50million deal from Liverpool, which was the club he joined when leaving Madrid.

Torres has been unable to rediscover anything like his best Anfield form and Abrmovich could decide to cut his losses.

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