Atletico Madrid are already planning for life without striker Radamel Falcao as they plot a January bid for Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez.

The Spanish side are convinced that there will be a number of clubs interested in signing Falcao when the transfer window opens in the New Year, and have decided that they must identify strikers capable of replacing the prolific forward.

Javier Hernandez
Hernandez has remained in good form for Mexico as he is overlooked by United [Reuters]

Falcao scored his ninth league goal of the season as he curled a last minute free-kick home against Real Sociedad to earn Atletico a 1-0 win which leaves them level on points with Barcelona at the top of the league.

Premier League duo Manchester City and Chelsea have both been strongly linked with the Colombian international who last season was the third top scorer in Spain, behind just Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.

Atletico have admitted that they would find it difficult to turn down an offer of £46million, Falcao's release clause, as they are struggling financially.

The Daily Mail suggests that should Falcao be sold in January then Manchester United striker Hernandez would be their number one priority.

Hernandez moved to the Premier League for a fee of £7million back in 2010 and was an instant success as he netted 20 goals in his first season for the club.

However, the arrival of Robin van Persie has pushed him down to fourth choice behind the Dutch striker, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck.

Hernandez has struggled to force his way into the Manchester United side this season as he has started just one Premier League game and has scored just one goal in seven appearances.

A report in the Mail states that Fiorentina are also interested in signing Hernandez and are willing to make an offer of £8million.

This may not be enough to land the player nicknamed 'Chicharito' as Atleltico would certainly have plenty of funds available should they receive an offer that would match Falcao's release clause.

The size of the fee has meant that the majority of clubs have been ruled out, with Chelsea and Manchester City the leading candidates in England, while mega-rich French side Paris Saint-Germain are also said to be interested.