On-loan striker Radamel Falcao has been absent from the pitch since November, after picking up a knee injury followed by a muscular problem. His second season in the Premier League so far can only be judged as an utter failure, probably even worse than his time spent at Manchester United, and odds are it will remain that way.
Nevertheless, Falcao is still tied to a contract with Ligue 1 club AS Monaco and according to the club's vice-president Vadim Vasilyev, they are willing to have him back next summer. Though it's not like they have a choice.
"We thought about bringing him back in January, but he was injured. We'll see what happens at the end of the season. We won't exclude the possibility of him coming back to the club in the summer."
-Vadim Vasilyev; source: Radio Monte Carlo via Goal
Currently earning up to £250,000 per week in wages, moving Falcao's financial burden off of Monaco's books for a third time will be a rather hard task, especially when you factor in his latest showings when healthy as well as his age. They have tried to drum up interest recently, perhaps stoking that Chinese flame especially, but they might need some serious Jorge Mendes magic to pull this off.
"I didn't know about Columbus' interest, but a lot of teams want Falcao, and hopefully he starts playing again soon. He's soon to recover from his latest injury and might come back with Chelsea any time. But wherever it is, it's important that he gains his confidence and playing time back."
-Nestor Lorenzo, Colombia assistant coach; source: MLSSoccer
While a move to China would effectively end whatever is left of his national team career, it might be El Tigre's one and only final salvation.
"I talk to him, but always with the expectations and desire for a healthy recovery, that's the most important thing. If he's not well, it would be very difficult for him to recover his competitive level. We have many players who need to recover their playing time, and we need to focus on the generational shift that Colombia needs, and hopefully Falcao can be part of that."
"Each one is free to choose what they want for their future, but for the national team it's an inconvenience [to play in China] because of the long distances of travel. Not because of their quality, because they can train and compete well anywhere they are, but because trips will be longer and they'd have less days to recover. It's a difficulty."
-Jose Pekerman, Colombia head coach; source: MLSSoccer
With Bertrand Traoré taking full advantage of his substitute appearances, Alexandre Pato slowly coming up to speed, and Loïc Rémy still knocking about (two more days left in the Chinese transfer window!), Falcao's Chelsea opportunities will be severely limited, if not non-existent. Not that this wasn't entirely predictable when we signed him on loan this summer.