He is the most wanted striker in the world, but it looks like Atletico Madrid striker Radamel Falcao has spurned the Premier League and will head to newly promoted Monaco.
Falcao was widely expected to join Chelsea this summer, but it looks like Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been outbid by another Russian billionaire, Dmitri Rybolovlev.
The French media say that Rybolovlev has big plans to restore Monaco to its former greatness, and that Falcao is just the first of what will be several big name signings this summer. If Rybolovlev goes through with this spending spree it will mark a dramatic change in the landscape of French football. Lyon dominated the last decade with 7 Lique 1 crowns, while Marseille is a perennial fixture in the Champions League.
But that is all changing now as the influx of Middle Eastern money (PSG) and Russian money (Monaco) threatens to upset the balance of power in France.
So it is no surprise that the French clubs are fighting back, at least against Monaco. The issue is taxes. Monaco is a principality which means that foreign players at the club pay no income tax, enabling Monaco to pay higher wages than their rivals.
The French Football League’s (LFP) Administrative Council recently voted to require all clubs participating in their competitions to be based in France for tax purposes by the end of the 2013-14 season.
However, talks with Monaco over a potential compromise have since been broken off, and there is talk that some Ligue 1 presidents are considering boycotting games against Monaco next season.
“It’s an extreme line to take. If they’re talking about it, it’s not by chance. But why not?” Bordeaux president Jean-Louis Triaud told RMC Radio. “They’ll be top of the table with 114 points. As they’ll win all of their games 3-0 by forfeit, they’ll have scored 114 goals, have 114 points and conceded none. So they’ll be record champions.”