Monaco, on the verge of promotion from the French second division, are ready to pull off a huge transfer coup and land Colombian international striker Radamel Falcao from Atletico Madrid, media reports in Spain and France said Saturday.
Falcao, who hit a hat-trick earlier in the season as Atletico trounced Chelsea to win the European Super Cup at Monaco's Stade Louis II, has a release clause of 60 million euros but Monaco are prepared to meet it, according to Spanish sports daily AS and French publication L'Equipe.
Last week, Spanish television station La Sexta reported that Monaco's mega-rich Russian owner Dimitri Rybolovlev had lunched with the player in Madrid late last month and AS reported Saturday that the principality club had reached agreement with Falcao on a ten-million euro ($13 million) annual salary.
That would more than double the current salary of the 27-year-old striker, who moved to Atletico from Porto in the summer of 2011 and has also been linked with a move to Chelsea and Real Madrid in recent months.
According to L'Equipe, a clause would be inserted in a putative contract for Falcao at Monaco allowing him to join Madrid from next January because of an ongoing tax dispute with other French clubs.
Up until now, foreigners playing for the principality club have not had to pay income tax, while French players have paid less in national insurance contributions while with Monaco.
However, a decision taken last month by the French football league (LFP) means Monaco are set to be subject to the same tax laws as all French clubs as of June next year.
Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri admitted Friday that he had heard rumours about Falcao but dismissed them.
"Falcao is coming to Monaco? Ah, like Beckham! When he comes I'll tell you all," L'Equipe quoted him as saying.
Beckham had been linked with a move to the principality before joining Paris Saint-Germain in January.
Monaco can clinch promotion back to Ligue 1 with a win at Nimes on Saturday afternoon.