Chelsea remain hopeful that they can tie-up a deal for Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa before he heads to the World Cup with Spain after they reportedly agreed to meet his £31.8m release clause.
Jose Mourinho has regularly bemoaned his lack of a consistent striker this season as Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres and Demba Ba have found goals difficult to come by, and reports have linked the Blues with a move for Costa even before they met in the Champions League semi-final.
Costa has been an integral figure in Atletico’s bid for the La Liga title, which will go down to the wire this weekend when they take on second-place Brazil in a winner-takes-all encounter at the Nou Camp – although a draw would see the Madrid side triumph against the odds.
The Brazilian native, who has been called up to the Spain World Cup squad after declaring his intention to play for his adopted country, also scored against the Blues in the semi-final second leg victory, and will hope that he will add a Champions League winners’ medal when Atletico face fierce rivals Real Madrid in Lisbon on 24 May.
Even though Chelsea will welcome back Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku from his season-long loan at Everton in the summer, any of the three current strikers at Stamford Bridge could find themselves facing life elsewhere – all three could leave the club should Mourinho want a complete revamp of his attacking options – and a move for Costa looks like a formality this summer.
In fact, the links between the two parties go further given that Mourinho and Costa share the same agent in Jorge Mendes, and although the 25-year-old striker will need a little more persuading to move to London, Roman Abramovich has deployed Marina Granovskaia to negotiate a move having already masterminded the transfers of David Luis and Fernando Torres in 2011.
Mourinho met with the Chelsea hierarchy on Monday where he laid out his vision for the summer transfer window and where he thinks the club needs to press on with their recruitment, having admitted after the season-ending victory at Cardiff that he expects Eto’o to leave when his contract expires next month.
The Portuguese is expected to meet with the board further over the next two weeks, with the futures of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole set to top the agenda. It was being reported on Tuesday afternoon that Terry had agreed a one-year extension, although neither the club nor player had confirmed any deal.
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