I remember writing an article on Radamel Falcao last summer, hoping he would come to the Premier League…obviously he didn’t and I was left disappointed. As I watched Falcao kiss the Europa League trophy last night, I reminisced about what could have been…imagine if he had headed to England. Had Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United or Spurs signed him there is a chance they could have had the league title sown up by now in a season where a deadly striker can make all the difference (see Papiss Cisse). Following Falcao’s brace last night he has confirmed himself as one of, if not the best, out-and-out striker in the world.
Despite Falcao impressing last season for Porto, doubts remained whether Falcao was worth the €40m that Atletico paid for him – to put his fee in context that is just €5m less than Manchester City paid for Sergio Aguero. You can understand the doubts to a certain extent, I mean Aguero had done it in La Liga and Falcao had only really in Portugal’s ZON Sagres Primeira Liga and the Europa League and for the extra €5m most would opt for Aguero as a player widely considered world class. For me, strikers like Falcao are priceless and €40m (around £32m today) is a snip.
To give Falcao’s talent more context we are going to compare him to Aguero. Now lets get this right, Falcao and Aguero are different types of players despite many people viewing Falcao as being Aguero’s direct replacement at Atletico. The headline stats tell you how the two are different; Sergio Aguero has played 335 games to date and has scored 153 goals, which is a goal-to-game ratio of 0.45. Falcao has played 247 games in total, scoring 158 goals, which is a goal-to-game ratio of 0.63. Falcao is an out-and-out goalscorer who only plays one way – goal machine. You would expect Aguero to give more in terms of assists, he does, having chipped in with 8 league assists this season compared to Falcao’s 3, but they are not a million miles off in terms of talent and goal return.
Now Falcao has silenced the few doubters he has had with his performances this season, Premier League bosses must be crying in to their Latte’s that they didn’t sign him. At 26-years-old Falcao looks destined to join some of the world’s other best strikers who will never grace the Premier League. Falcao is only one year in to a 5-year contract at the Estadio Vicente Calderón and insists his future is with the club, but he is available…technically. Could there still be time for Premier League clubs to make a move?
If rumours are true, Falcao has a €60m buy-out clause and realistically he will need to move this summer or at the latest next, to give any club who wants to buy him value for money. In today’s climate when a player hits 29 his resale value plummets, a club could justify spending €60m on getting striker who would get them 30 goals-a-season over 3 or 4 seasons, but would clubs spend the money if that was reduced to just 2 seasons? Probably not.
Maybe managers should be having a word with their chairman to go big on Falcao and trigger his release clause, but I think they have missed their chance. I would have enjoyed Falcao in the Premier League, but his performances and goals this season have confirmed that the Premier League’s loss was truly Atletico Madrid’s gain.
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