Simeone: We can replace Falcao
Diego Simeone says he is sure Atletico Madrid will find a suitable replacement should Radamel Falcao leave the La Liga club this summer as expected.
Falcao, who has 21 goals in 25 La Liga games this season, has been heavily linked with a €55 million move away from the Estadio Vicente Calderon, with Premier League side Chelsea reportedly at the head of a long queue of suitors.
Atletico coach Simeone told Spanish radio show Al Primer Toque that the Colombia striker, 27, would not be the first big name to leave Los Colchoneros in recent years, and all others had been suitably replaced in the past.
“It is complicated, but it would be fabulous if he stayed,” the Argentine said. “I am not his agent. I am not Falcao. Falcao has given me a lot and is a player with commitment, and I respect him a lot for that. The fans do not have to judge him after all he has given.
“[Fernando] Torres went and [Sergio] Aguero came, which was a risky bet. [Diego] Forlan went and Falcao came. If he does end up leaving, another competitive player will surely arrive.”
Simeone hinted that summer business at the Calderon could also include the return of Brazilian playmaker Diego, 28, who played a key role in Atletico’s 2011-12 Europa League victory when on a season-long loan from his current Bundesliga side Wolfsburg.
“With players who have passed through the club and have done well it is normal that we follow their current situation,” he said. “Last year Diego gave us the possibility to be different - without him we have to play a different way. Hopefully we will meet again.”
Atletico have slipped behind neighbours Real Madrid in the Primera Division standings in recent weeks, but remain well placed to qualify for next season's Champions League.
The money generated by playing in Europe's top club competition was key to helping his side compete with richer rivals such as Madrid and Barcelona, said Simeone, who recently put pen to paper on a new four-year contract at Atletico.
“I renewed my contract because I am crazy and I have a dream that will be made by the club growing economically,” he said. “The only way that we can come close to competing with those who have money is winning things, and we must look for all the tools to win, because that will give us economic power. To compete with the powerful you must be in the Champions League."