Falcao to Chelsea looks to be all but official at this point, and in general, the fanbase doesn't seem to love the idea. Given the terrible season he had for Manchester United last year, that feeling is not hard to understand.
I'm of the opinion, however, that this is a fairly logical move as a one-year loan, especially given that instead of a loan fee, we're reportedly sending AS Monaco 2-3 youngsters on loan this season. Here's why I'm a fan of the rumored move:
What other options are out there?
The striker market this summer doesn't look particularly enticing, at least based on the rumors we've seen thus far. The standouts of the group appear to have been Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala, two undersized forwards with limited physical tools, playing in a league where that lack of physical gifts isn't generally as big of a deal. Both have sorted their futures already, anyway, but I have no issues with Chelsea deciding to pass on that pair.
Christian Benteke is a name most of here are familiar with, and would appear to be the cream of the remaining crop. He's a nice forward, but I think it's easy to be skeptical of how well he'd do in Chelsea's setup, given the fact that he excels in open space, and often struggles against compact defenses.
I'm not a big fan of guys like Danny Ings or Charlie Austin, and certainly wouldn't want to be handing multi-year deals to either of that pair. All in all, it's a pretty awful summer to be in the market for help at center forward.
Is there upside with Falcao?
Just two years ago, Radamel Falcao was considered to be one of the best players on the planet. There's little reason, however, to believe that the 29-year old striker will ever return to that level, especially considering the awful knee injury he suffered while playing for Monaco.
That knee injury offers a bit of reason for hope, however, as players don't tend to fully recover from major ACL surgeries for 18-24 months. While there's not much reason to think we'll be getting the player that we watched destroy us in the UEFA Super Cup, there's also a very real chance that he's more explosive than he was for Manchester United, even one year closer to the end of his career.
Is there downside with Falcao?
Of course there is. Radamel Falcao is at an age where strikers are generally past their prime, and he's still recovering from a terrible injury. There's a very real chance that he's no better for Chelsea than Fernando Torres was.
What happens if Falcao is better than he was last season?
Obviously, nothing but good things are likely to happen if Falcao recovers some value, as at the moment, he's being counted on as a third choice forward. Monaco will be happy, as they'll probably be able to find someone to take the player off their hands for the final season of that deal, though given the player's age, wages, and spotty recent past, I can't imagine it's anything but another 1-year loan. Chelsea, with their policy of not handing out multi-year contracts to players 30 and over, are highly unlikely to be making a permanent move for the player, though.
What happens if Falcao is a flop?
Here's the only real risk in the deal for Chelsea. If Falcao flops, Chelsea have less depth behind Loic Remy and Diego Costa, and have to rely on whichever of Bertrand Traore, Patrick Bamford, or Dominic Solanke remain in London for the season as their third choice forward. Assuming that isn't working out, they may even have to enter the striker market in January, which thankfully, isn't likely to be any less appealing than it is right now.
From a long term perspective, there's really no downside to Falcao not producing, as he'd simply return to Monaco at the end of the season, to become their issue for one more year. Chelsea, at that point, would go striker hunting again, in what will hopefully be a more interesting market than they're looking at this summer.
I know I'm in the minority here, but I like this particular move because of the circumstances surrounding it, at least, as it's being reported right now. Radamel Falcao isn't likely to be anything but a role player for Chelsea, and I have no reason to talk myself into believing otherwise. That said, he's essentially a role player on a one-year, make good deal, with the Blues taking no long-term risk at all.
I'd obviously love to have Chelsea acquire a young, talented attacker that could be a part of the squad for the next 8-10 years, as I'm sure that most here would. That said, I'm not big on any of the young forwards available this season, and would much prefer to see the Blues simply take their chance with the Colombian on a one-year deal, and re-enter the market for a forward in a year, when hopefully there's more talent available.
In addition, the short term move gives us a chance to let Dominic Solanke develop some more, gets us a look at Bertrand Traore without the pressure of that third-choice role, and allows the club to get Patrick Bamford some experience at the top level of English football. While I don't love the idea of using any of that trio being leaned on for a meaningful role this season, I like the fact that a Falcao loan wouldn't block them long term, especially with Loic Remy also likely to depart in the next several seasons.
All in all, I'm skeptical of how well Falcao will perform, but I love the fact that the player does offer some reward while carrying absolutely no long term risk, as that's something you don't often see in the transfer market. Even if he's a massive flop, the logic behind a move like this is something I can get behind.