Radamel Falcao is top target to strengthen Chelsea's attack

Shooting star: Radamel Falcao has made a huge impact during his first season with Atletico Madrid
CAPTION TEXT

Napoli’s Edinson Cavani is among the strikers Chelsea are looking at for next season but top of their list of transfer targets is Colombia international Radamel Falcao.

Standard Sport understands Chelsea’s principal objective is to strengthen their forward line with the 26-year-old, who joined Atletico Madrid from Porto last August for £35million.

Falcao has impressed during his first season in Spain, scoring 20 goals for his new club and proving he can deliver in a major European league following two excellent campaigns in Portugal, where last season his coach was former Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas.

Although Atletico would be reluctant to sell a player they captured just last summer, they will be vulnerable if they fail to qualify for the Champions League. Currently, the team managed by Diego Simeone are eighth in the table, four points adrift of fourth-placed Malaga.

Falcao’s pace, strength and accurate finishing make him one of the most coveted forwards in today’s game, along with Cavani.

The Napoli forward is admired by Chelsea and has also impressed Manchester City and Tottenham having scored 57 goals in 82 matches for the Serie A club.

The Uruguayan scored three times in two Champions League group matches against City and followed that with the second goal in Napoli’s 3-1 first-leg victory over the Blues.

Cavani, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Marek Hamsik form one of the most fluent attacks left in the Champions League, and the team have scored in every one of the seven games they have contested in the competition.

Chelsea have watched Cavani on several occasions this season while both Spurs and City have also kept a close eye on the 25-year-old.

Cavani is Napoli’s top earner but is thought to be keen to increase his salary to between £4m and £5m per year — a figure outside Napoli’s current wage structure.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis claimed yesterday it would take “crazy money” for him to sell Cavani while the player himself  denied the matter was a distraction.

“As for questions about my future and other issues, these are things that don’t concern me; they concern other people,” he said. “All I am thinking is about trying to help Napoli into the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

“We already have experience playing in England. We played at Manchester City during the group stages, where we saw a great stadium and passionate supporters. The only thing we can do at this moment is concentrate on tonight’s game.”

Napoli’s supporters are some of the most fanatical in Italy, and about 2,700 have travelled to England on the club’s official trip. There is, however, a possibility that many more will arrive without tickets, although Chelsea have been working with local police to manage any potential problems.

Former UEFA referee Fernand Meese, a Belgian who is an expert on security, has been offering advice to officials and he is expected to attend tonight’s match.

Comments

Property search

ES Rentals

    Don't Miss
    I was a karate kid and boys used to kick me in the boobs, reveals Suki

    ES Magazine

    Model of the moment Suki Waterhouse
    The Silver Tassie, National's Lyttelton - theatre review

    Theatre review

    The Silver Tassie at the National's Lyttelton
    Espresso yourself: What does your coffee order say about you?

    London Life

    What your coffee order says about you?
    'Buccaneering aristo-rebel': a tribute to Mark Shand, a gent who walked on the wild side

    Mark Shand

    A tribute to the gent who walked on the wild side
    A part of the Establishment says that it’s fine to have coke laid out after dinner: Justine Picardie on 'cocaine Conservatives'

    Interview

    Justine Picardie on 'cocaine Conservatives'
    Jay-Z and Beyonce spend £5.5m on west London home

    Run This Town

    Jay-Z and Beyonce spend £5.5m on west London home
    Dorian Gray, Riverside Studios - theatre review

    Theatre review

    Dorian Gray at Riverside Studios
    The true cost of buying a first-time home in London boroughs

    Homes & Property

    The true cost of first-time buying in London
    Fay Maschler reviews Rotorino

    Fay Maschler

    Dalston gets a taste of Italy
    Pictures: Party people - the stars out in London

    Party people

    The stars out in London