Chelsea have all but completed the signing of Atlético Madrid striker Radamel Falcao, whose contract with his present club expires in 2016.
The Mail believes the Colombian international's representatives have met Stamford Bridge club officials and agreed a wage package worth £200,000 per week. The Blues will play the Spanish club £46m in exchange for the 27-year-old forward's services.
Falcao has had a storming time at the Vicente Calderon since his £40m transfer from FC Porto in 2011. Incidentally, the Blues were linked to him at that time as well, with former coach Andre Villas-Boas a big fan. The striker scored 24 goals in his first La Liga season and scored 12 more in the club's run to the UEFA Europa League title. So far this season, Falcao already has 31 strikes to his name, from only 35 games.
Courtois, Chelsea and Atlético
Meanwhile, there continues to be speculation connecting Falcao's future with that of Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. The 20-year-old Chelsea player is on loan to Atlético and coach Diego Simeone is reportedly keen to make the youngster a permanent signing.
Chelsea earlier valued Courtois at £17m, which, by itself, would have caused a problem for the Spaniards, given their weak financial situation. A player/cash deal for Falcao could smooth negotiations considerably; Courtois has admitted he would prefer to remain in Spain for next season and play regularly, rather than return to west London and be benched in favour of Petr Cech.
However, Chelsea are believed to be reluctant to consider a permanent transfer and view Courtois as a long-term replacement for Cech; the Czech international is 30-years-old. As a compromise, the Blues' coaching staff would reportedly be happy with the young Belgian remaining on loan in Spain to further his development. And the chance to hold on to him for at least one more year is likely to please Atlético as well.
Edinson Cavani Out
News of Falcao nearing an agreement with Chelsea has led the Premier League club to reportedly abandon interest in signing Napoli's Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani. The Blues and Manchester City were both believed to be tracking the 26-year-old, who has 23 Serie A goals in 30 games this season.
Roman Abramovich remains interested in German midfielder Andre Schürrle though, with the Evening Standard confirming ongoing talks between Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen's director of football, Rudi Voller and Chelsea.