Chelsea lead chase for £50 million Madrid striker

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Atletico Madrid may insist they do not need to sell Radamel Falcao any time soon, but that won’t stop Chelsea from trying to persuade them to sell up, according to ESPN.

Earlier today Atletico Madrid’s general manager Miguel Angel Gil Marin insisted earlier today that the club had no intention of selling up to Falcao’s suitors, reportedly Chelsea and Manchester City amongst others, despite their well-known financial troubles.

However according to ESPN Chelsea lead the race for Falcao’s signature, and could look to take their man to Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2013, a move which could suit Madrid as they go in search of Champions League football this season.

The website reports that Falcao’s desire to secure a switch to Chelsea is ‘well known’, while the player himself admitted in an interview in the Times last weekend that a move to the Premier League was a possibility.

"England? One day I could do,” he said. “It is a game I have watched for a long time and one day I would like to sample it.

“I used to watch it on television when I was a kid. Players like Roy Keane, Eric Cantona [Chelsea legend Gianfranco] Zola. But the one I supported was [Faustino] Asprilla, when he was at Newcastle. I think I could adapt to England. I think I could score goals."

Falcao reportedly has a £50m release-clause written into his contract, a figure only a handful of clubs including Chelsea and Manchester City are capable of paying.

The former Porto striker has marked himself out as one of the most dangerous strikers on the planet, and is currently tied on eight goals this season in La Liga with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Falcao made Chelsea sit up and take notice by bagging himself a hat-trick against Roberto di Matteo’s men in the Super Cup last month as Madrid recored a 4-1 win over the Premier League leaders.

Chelsea are only able to call upon Fernando Torres to lead their attack, with fellow striker Daniel Sturridge, who has been out injured for the last month, more frequently deployed out wide.

Chelsea have been looking for the player to step into the shoes of Didier Drogba ever since the Ivorian departed over the summer, with reported moves for Hulk and Edinson Cavani failing to materialise.

Manchester City have no such need for reinforcements up front, with Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli all on board.

However Citizens boss Roberto Mancini was seen watching Madrid's 2-1 win over Malaga on Sunday, although the Italian insists he wasn't there to scout Falcao.

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