Diego Costa admits he 'could be leaving' Chelsea and backs Everton's Romelu Lukaku to replace him

Atletico Madrid are keen on him but are unwilling to pay much more than £20m for their former striker

Jack Austin
Tuesday 30 May 2017 08:48 BST
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Costa is likely to leave Stamford Bridge this summer
Costa is likely to leave Stamford Bridge this summer (AFP/Getty Images)

Diego Costa has admitted he “could be leaving” Chelsea this summer before backing Romelu Lukaku to replace him at the Premier League champions.

The Brazilian-born Spaniard saw his move to the Chinese Super League was blocked by the Blues in January and he was involved in a training-ground row with Antonio Conte and his fitness coach around the same time which led to him being dropped.

After the FA Cup final, Costa said that the only place he would leave Chelsea for is a return to Atletico Madrid, where he won La Liga and reached the Champions League final in his last season.

And he has reiterated the possibility he will leave the Blues during the transfer window, while suggesting the club should replace him with Everton’s Lukaku, who scored 25 goals this season.

“I do not know - that’s a decision for the club,” Costa said when asked about the Belgian. “Of course Lukaku is a very big player who played an impressive season. I hope he can sign at Chelsea because it’s a unique club.

“He is a big player and has an impressive future for himself. The past matches have proven that he has quality and scoring ability.

“He is a boy who will take great steps. Hopefully he will continue to grow - he has all the qualities to stay here. Batshuayi may stay because he’s young and I could be leaving.”

However, while Atletico are keen on Costa, The Independent understands it is only for what they consider to be a reasonable price, which threatens to derail Chelsea’ transfer plans.

While China’s Tianjin Quanjin are willing to pay around £76m for the striker, the Spanish side are only willing to pay £20m, having sold him for £32m three years ago as a 25-year-old.

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