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May 20, 2013

Falcao's fate in his own hands

Atletico Madrid chief executive Miguel Angel Gil-Marin has suggested Radamel Falcao himself will decide if he leaves the club this summer.

Falcao celebrates after breaking the deadlock against Real Madrid
Falcao has scored 34 goals in 40 games for Atletico Madrid this season

Fevered recent speculation has linked Falcao with a summer move to ambitious Ligue 1 side Monaco, while Manchester City are also apparently poised with a €60 million offer. Chelsea and Manchester United have also long been seen as admirers of El Tigre, who has scored 28 goals in 33 La Liga games this season while helping Atletico qualify for next season’s Champions League.

In the build-up to Friday's Copa del Rey victory over Real Madrid, Falcao animatedly denied reports he had already agreed to join Monaco. Asked during Saturday's celebrations of his side's win over their neighbours if he was now staying at the club he limited himself to a “I hope so”.

A surely tired Atletico squad then flew to Singapore for a fundraising trip which includes a friendly game against a local XI on Wednesday. Speaking to AS on Monday from the south-east Asian city-state, Gil Marin claimed that Falcao could leave if he wanted to, but nothing had yet been decided.

"Before the start of the season we spoke with Falcao and promised him that if he kept up the same performances and helped us to qualify for the Champions League, Atletico would help him," he said. "Whatever decisions he makes, Atletico will be with him."

It is widely believed in Spain that Atletico do not anyway have a 100% say in Falcao’s future, having received help from third-party investors when signing Falcao from Porto for €47 million in 2011.

The Doyen Group, a fund linked to Falcao’s agent Jorge Mendes and former Manchester United and Chelsea executive Peter Kenyon, advertises its connection with the Colombian international on its website, although his current club continue to maintain they have full control of his sporting rights.

Mendes and Kenyon were both also in Singapore on Monday, and dined with Gil Marin, Atletico president Enrique Cerezo and Singapore billionaire Peter Lim, who is rumoured to be interested in investing in Atletico.

Gil Marin did not comment on the reasons for this high-powered meal, however he did make reference to how Atletico had successfully replaced a number of high-profile attackers - Fernando Torres, Diego Forlan and Sergio Aguero - when they all left the Calderon in recent seasons.

"We know how to replace a good forward," Gil Marin said. "I do not know exactly who will be the next, but you can be sure that Atletico will have a strong team next season."

Potential Falcao replacements reportedly include Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, Porto’s Jackson Martinez, Galatasaray’s Burak Yilmaz and Sevilla’s Alvaro Negredo.

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