Three of the finest heading to England
The European Championships last summer brought to fore a new concept, widely known as “the false nine.” This refers to a system where a team plays with no out and out striker; instead deploying a creative player in the furthest position on the field. Their main aim is not so much to score goals but instead act as a foil for the rest of the attacking players in the team, therefore making their play fluid, dynamic and unpredictable.

There are formations  that are highly friendly to this concept, not least the 4-3-3 which is widely used in the Spanish La Liga. Of course there is still a good number of conventional strikers flourishing in Spain; a la Karim Benzema and Radamel Falcao from the two Madrid clubs.

However, it is no secret that the most striker-friendly league among the top European leagues is the English Premier League. And that is exactly why I am convinced that three of the finest continental strikers in Europe are headed to the queen’s shores. We take a quick look at their specific situations.

Radamel Falcao

Just this week named in the FIFA XI for 2012, there is arguably no better striker in the world right now than the Colombian. His ratio of goals to games frighteningly resembles that of the two best players in the world; and that coming with him representing a smaller club where he plays in less illustrious and capable company than the Messis and the Ronaldos. A stereotype used to say it is easier to score in the La Liga than in the EPL but surely Swansea’s Michu has put that to bed.

It is no secret that Chelsea want the Colombian, and they might just hold all the right cards for this one. With a £50m price tag on the head of Falcao, Chelsea is only one of a few clubs that could afford him but even if they didn’t want to splash all that cash, they could just pay a chunk of the entire asking price and offer struggling Fernando Torres back to his old club. Sounds perfect, right? I am sure Mancini and the Man City hiearachy would have something to say about that.

Edinson Cavani

As Falcao takes all the plaudits in the La Liga, a name that has slowly slipped out of the minds of people is that of Uruguay assassin Cavani. That has not made him any less dangerous. Cavani’s goalscoring record this season tells us he is scoring an average of slightly more than a goal a game.

If the battle for Falcao is between Chelsea and Man City, I reckon Cavani will be the perfect fallback for the loser in that one. In truth, I don’t think there’s much to choose between these two dangermen. Oh, apart from the fact that Falcao is exactly a year older.

Robert Lewandowski

A lot of reports towards the end of the year indicated that only formalities remain before Lewandowski is a Man Utd player in the summer. Sir Alex Ferguson is known for his love of a  prolific forward (read Hughes, Cantona, Cole & Yorke, van Nistelrooy, van Persie et al). Losing the title on goal difference to Man City seems to have punched the nitro on the old Scot’s obsession with quality finishers. At about £15-£20m for a 23-year old talent the calibre of Lewandowski, it might just make perfect sense to complete the business that would surely see the beginning of Wayne Rooney’s much touted evolution into an attacking midfielder.