Chelsea to Break Roman Abramovich's Bank to Sign Striker - Report

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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | December 14, 2012 10:28 PM EST

Chelsea have stepped up pursuit of Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao, with club owner Roman Abramovich sanctioning a £48m transfer fee and wages in the region of £200,000 per week, according to the Mirror.

The Colombian international has been linked with moves to the Premier League (Chelsea and Manchester City) as well as cross-town rivals Real Madrid within La Liga, as he continues to rank alongside Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of goals scored.

Falcao's arrival, if a transfer is agreed, either in January or in the summer, is likely to increase pressure on Spanish international Fernando Torres. The ex-Liverpool forward, who is a product of Atletico's youth system, has struggled for goals since the move to west London.

The 28 year old World Cup winner does seem to have found a measure of confidence under interim manager Rafael Benitez (his coach from Anfield), with five goals in his last three games for the club. However, whether that will be enough to convince the Russian billionaire to retain faith in him as the lone striker remains to be seen. Certainly if Falcao does arrive, and prove to be successful, Torres will likely have to be content with a squad role.

Chelsea do also have England youngster Daniel Sturridge but the 23 year old is reportedly close to an agreement with Liverpool and is, in any case, a fringe player at the club.

And interest in Falcao from Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid is unlikely to materialise, largely because the Spanish champions are reportedly preparing a £57m bid for Gareth Bale. The Santiago Bernabeu outfit could use another striker, given Argentine Gonzalo Higuain and Frenchman Karim Benzema are both out injured but Castilla product Alvaro Morata is expected to step up to the first team for the short-term.

The Blues have also been linked with German international Andre Schurrle of Bayer Leverkusen and Metalist Kharkiv's Taison, while Torres was a reported target for Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala in January.

Club World Cup Joy

Meanwhile, Chelsea are in the final of the FIFA Club World Cup, after a comfortable 3-1 win over Mexican side CF Monterrey. Spanish playmaker Juan Mata opened the scoring in the first half before a quick-fire double early in the second period finished the game. Rafael Benitez will play Brazilian club Corinthians in Sunday's final. 

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