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Friday, November 16, 2012
Roberto Di Matteo talks transfer plans news services

Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo said Friday "any manager" would want Radamel Falcao in his team as he admitted Chelsea may need reinforcements up front in January.

Speculation that the European champion is set to move for Atletico Madrid sensation Falcao has reached fever pitch, with reports claiming the Blues could even launch a 48-million-pound ($76.2 million) bid when the transfer window reopens.

Blues boss Di Matteo stuck to his policy of not discussing the club's transfer plans when quizzed on Falcao Friday afternoon but also said, "If you ask any manager, he would have him in his team."

"He is one of the best strikers, probably, in European and world football," Di Matteo said. "His ratio of goals per game is quite impressive, not just this season but over the last three seasons, at Porto and Atletico Madrid."

Chelsea is set to lose Nigeria star Victor Moses in January for the African Nations Cup, leaving it without a back-up for Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge.

"We're looking at that, because we'll lose Victor and John Obi Mikel for that tournament," Di Matteo said. "We'll look and see how we deal with it, but for the moment we're okay."

The past few days have seen Falcao both voice his admiration for Chelsea and commit his immediate future to cash-strapped Atletico.

The 26-year-old has been linked with the Blues for more than a year and showed them exactly what they were missing during August's UEFA Super Cup match when he tore their defense to shreds almost single-handedly.

"I'm happy when there are great names attached to Chelsea," Chelsea defender David Luiz told on Wednesday. "He's a great player. It would be a good choice for Falcao to come to Chelsea ... All of the players would be happy because Falcao would be a great player."

Falcao has yet to feature in the Europa League this season, and there have been suggestions that the primary reason for his absence is to ensure he is not cup-tied ahead of a January move.

The player had insisted it was "not because I'm leaving in January" during the week, and Atletico coach Diego Simeone added: "I do not have to explain my decisions. I do what I have to so we are competitive in three competitions."

Any Chelsea move for Falcao would also cast further doubt on the future of Torres, who has failed to live up to his record-breaking price tag since joining from Liverpool almost two years ago.

Chelsea has been linked with several other forwards who would represent less of a threat to Torres, while it could also recall Romelu Lukaku from his loan spell at West Brom.

Chelsea could have a bigger problem holding onto players than signing them in January if Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole's suitors get their way. Chinese club Guizhou Rehne confirmed this week they want to sign Lampard when the transfer window reopens, while reports claim former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti has called Cole personally to tempt him to join Paris St. Germain.

Both players are out of contract in the summer and although Di Matteo wants them to stay, he admitted he is in the dark as to discussions over Lampard's future in particular.

"Ultimately that's between the player and the club to agree a new arrangement," he said. "I'm not aware how the discussions are going at the moment."

Insisting he was unaware whether Lampard had opened talks with clubs either in China or the United States -- where the 34-year-old has also been linked -- Di Matteo added: "If there's a willingness from both sides, he will remain with us. He's been a fantastic player for us over a decade, so it would be nice for him to finish his career here."

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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