During the January transfer window, pundits curious as to why Chelsea were not pursuing a top-class striker to fill the gaping hole in their squad had their questions on the subject parried by Jose Mourinho saying that in the summer the plan would become clear. It clearly hints at a big signing in the summer, and as the season rolls along, more and more speculation suggests that the prime target of any such move is Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa. But it may require the Blues to send Fernando Torres back to his first club as part of the deal.
Although it’s been said a few times over recent years, it may well now be true that Torres’s race is run at Stamford Bridge and with Eto’o and Demba Ba also likely to move on in the summer, plus Romelu Lukaku due to return from a loan spell at Everton, it could be a case of ‘all change’ amongst the strikers in the Chelsea squad.
A run of three defeats for Atli of late have punctured their season that had promised so much. Diego Simeone’s club had stood toe-to-toe exchanging blows with Spain’s big two of Barcelona and city rivals Real Madrid, but now cracks are appearing in the club’s fortunes, and the summer may well see Simeone move on. A turnover of players could also be on the cards, regardless of who the manager is.
Bazilian-born, but Spanish naturalised, Costa is set to figure prominently in the Roja’s assault on the World Cup in his native Brazil this summer, but it is his exploits in La Liga where his goal-scoring record this season compares with that of Ronaldo and Messi that has brought him to Chelsea’s attention. The front man will be one of Europe’s hottest properties in the summer – especially if he has a good World Cup, and Chelsea will be keen to get any deal done early to avoid a possible inflated price following the tournament. There was even talk recently that a verbal agreement is already in place for a summer deal, but none of the parties involved have offered even the slightest official hint of confirmation of such a deal.
Costa would probably cost in the region of £35million to £40million, but although that’s certainly a lot of money, Atletico would be fearful of a fans’ backlash should they let their star striker leave – including Torres in the deal however would offer a veneer of respectability to the transfer. The club’s former skipper still holds legendary status for Atli’s fans and his return would soften the blow of Coasta’s departure.
It had been rumoured that Simeone would want to keep Chelsea’s on loan Belgian goalkeeper Thibaud Courtois as part of any deal, and that may still be the case. A potential agreement to get both Torres and Courtois in exchange Costa may well appeal to Atletico, but there is a question as to whether Chelsea would consider that too high a price to pay. There could be a lot of negotiating to do on this one before any deal is struck on this one.
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