The Portuguese press have strongly linked two English clubs Aston Villa and Tottenham with a summer swoop for highly rated Colombian striking sensation Radamel Falcao. Liverpool tried to sign him last summer but Porto won the race and he has been a revelation in Portugal this season. Now both Aston Villa and Tottenham have been named as potential suitors in the Portuguese press although the player’s price tag will have increased dramatically after a superb prolific start to his Porto career.
Radamel Falcao Garcia Zarate or plain old ‘Falcao’ as he’s usually known was expected to sign for the Reds for a fee of just 5.5m euros but it was Porto who instead signed the player to replace Lyon bound Lisandro Lopez. The player has already proved to be a bargain and Liverpool’s form this season suggests they missed out on a potential star who could have provided the firepower to compliment Fernando Torres or compete for a place with him. The Colombian’s performances in Portugal have attracted interest from both Martin O’Neill and Harry Redknapp with both looking to add to their attacking options this summer. Porto have not enjoyed a good season domestically as they sit 3rd in the league, a staggering 11 points behind leaders Benfica. However, Falcao’s performances and his goals have had scouts from Spurs and Villa flocking to the Estádio do Dragão.
The talented 24-year-old previously plied his trade for River Plate in Argentina but was sold to ease the financial situation of the cash-strapped club. Falcao had been linked to the Premier League in the past but a possible move to Martin O’Neill’s Villa in the 2009 January transfer window failed to materialise as well as summer moves to Arsenal and Manchester United. However, the performances of the player nicknamed the ‘Tigre’ (Tiger) brought the player to the attention to some of the biggest clubs in the world including reported past interest from Real Madrid and AC Milan. Despite the continued speculation a move to Europe was widely expected but perhaps not to Portugal.
It’s no wonder both Aston Villa and Tottenham are chasing Falcao as his form for Porto has been simply outstanding. He has scored a total of 23 goals in 27 league appearances (25 starts) plus four goals in just eight Champions League matches and four strikes in four Portuguese cup matches. The Colombian has been incredibly consistent and is ending the season strongly with 7 goals in his last six matches. Such finishing make him an outstanding target for the O’Neill or Redknapp as he is both versatile, brave and perfectly suited to the English game. He is not the biggest player but his aerial ability is one of his main strengths. Falcao can play centrally or on either flank so would fit perfectly into Villa’s set-up and may be a more mobile dangerous partner for Gabriel Agbonlahor than either John Carew or Emile Heskey. Alternatively, he offers a different threat to Tottenham’s current batch of strikers with Harry set to freshen up his forward line with Robbie Keane and perhaps Roman Pavlyuchenko still to be sold.
Falcao would certainly fit in with Aston Villa’s work ethic as he has shown a great desire for every team he has played for which has marked him out as a fans favourite. The Villa Park crowd would certainly take to him if the club can persuade Porto to sell their prize asset, although it would take a big offer reportedly around the £19million mark. The fact that Falcao is so useful in the air but is still very mobile makes him the perfect fit for Martin O’Neill. The current Villa team is packed with great crossers of the ball and pace but their lack of goals has cost them dear. However, the Colombian is a proven goal scorer and may be just the man to help the Villans kick on. Tottenham seem spoilt for choice up front in comparison but Harry is set to shuffle his pack again this summer and Falcao’s record, passion and age make him ideal. The Colombian is in the Carlos Tevez mould of South American strikers in so much as he is as hard working a forward as you will see which makes him a real prospect for the Premier League.
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The Colombian had a scoring record of 34 goals in 90 League games (73 starts) in Argentina though a serious injury in 2005 has hampered his fledgling career. In fact, Falcao has suffered from a number of niggling injuries as a direct result of tearing his anterior cruciate ligaments 3 years ago. However, the dynamic striker battled back to full fitness and is more than living up to his early promise shown at River Plate.
The Colombian is not your usual run of the mill footballer; he is a devout Christian and was a leader of a number of Church youth groups so he is not one to be plastered all over the tabloids after a weekend booze binge. Harry Redknapp wouldn’t have to worry about him organizing a Christmas jaunt to Ireland or staggering out of clubs like Ledley King and a number of other Spurs players have in recent seasons. He’s also studied Journalism at the University of Palermo in his former adopted home city of Bueno Aires. Falcao’s father Radamel Garcia was also a professional footballer in his homeland but played as a defender. The young striker’s reputation was boosted when selected as a member of the “XI of America” in 2007 which is a prestigious annual survey voted by South American Sports journalists.
The player is renowned for his pace, his ability to shoot from distance with both feet and his strength in the air despite only standing at a modest 5 ft 9. He also illustrated his versatility at River Plate after moving from an out and out striker’s role into a more withdrawn position or onto the wings under his club Coach and David Beckham’s former nemesis Diego Simeone. Those attributes appeal to both Tottenham and Aston Villa. The Villans have been particularly well organized but perhaps lacking the individual flair of the so-called bigger clubs especially at home when they’ve drawn far too many matches due to an inability to break teams down.
Falcao has played for Colombia at U17, U20 and now senior level but has only scored five times in 22 internationals. The versatility and the price tag made Falcao an absolute bargain signing for Porto given his reputation in South America and so he has proven. The Colombian opened the season with 7 goals in 7 league games (6 starts) and hasn’t looked back. Only Benfica’s Oscar Cardozo has scored more goals than Falcao this season (one more) in Portugal but the Paraguayan has scored five penalties compared to the Colombian’s two. Whether he remains at Porto remains to be seen with Premier League big hitters Tottenham and Aston Villa attempting to persuade the Portuguese champions to sell. Spurs fans may remember him scoring against Arsenal this season and may well see him doing the same for them next season.
So do you like the look of this player? Which club would be better suit the player Tottenham or Aston Viila? Let’s hear your views.