Chelsea’s pursuit of Radamel Falcao is over after big-spending Monaco met the €60 million release clause in the Atletico Madrid star’s contract.
The Colombian striker could complete a move to Monaco as early as Monday in a deal worth €10m-a-year after tax as the club’s Russian owner, Dmitry Rybolovlev, looks to build a side to win the Ligue 1 championship next season.
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Chelsea had been confident of completing a move for Falcao after the 27-year-old was identified by incoming manager Jose Mourinho as his top priority for the summer transfer window.
Blues owner Roman Abramovich was also prepared to meet the release clause in Falcao’s contract but the player’s agent, Jorge Mendes, has now agreed a deal for his client to move to the Stade Louis II.
There have been suggestions in Spain that Falcao is desperate to play for Atletico’s city rivals Real Madrid, with an escape clause likely to be included in his Monaco contract to allow him to leave either in January or next summer.
Chelsea’s attempts to sign the former Porto man had been complicated by third-party ownership issues - with Mendes part of a consortium holding an interest in Falcao - and his demands for a salary package worth around €295,000-a-week to move to Stamford Bridge.
As Real Madrid coach Mourinho prepares to formally re-join Chelsea at the end of the season, he is targeting a first-class upgrade on current strikers Fernando Torres and Demba Ba.
Falcao, who has also been a target for Manchester City, has scored 34 goals in all competitions for Atletico this season and is considered one of the most lethal finishers in the world.