Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa may be on his way to the Premier League next season, to join Jose Mourinho's Chelsea. As one of Europe's hottest properties, he could be the final piece in the Special One's puzzle.
Throughout January we heard whispers of a potential move to London, with Arsenal cited as the most likely destination, but with that deal never materialising, the rumours are that Stamford Bridge will become Costa's new home this summer.
According to the Daily Star, the Brazil-born forward has a buy-out clause in his contract set at £32 million. However, the report also says that Atletico are resigned to losing their star attraction and are prepared to sell him for a much lower fee, and could also be interested in a player swap deal—although Mourinho is said to be uninterested in the latter proposal.
Chelsea have been fantastic during Mourinho's first year back at the Stamford Bridge helm and currently sit atop of the Premier League table, but if there is one area in which the Blues are lacking, then it is clearly the attacking department.
Summer signing Samuel Eto'o scored an impressive hat-trick against Manchester United, but those three strikes make up half of his Premier League tally. Meanwhile, £50 million signing Fernando Torres continues to struggle for consistency whilst Demba Ba barely gets a look in.
The three strikers have returned just 11 league goals between them this season and that lack of firepower has placed immense pressure on the club's midfielders. So far the likes of Oscar and Eden Hazard in particular have risen to the challenge, but that does not alter the fact that Chelsea desperately seek a prolific talisman to lead the line.
Whilst Romelu Lukaku will return to the club from a loan spell at Everton this summer, it appears that Mourinho is not a huge fan of the big Belgian, and therefore Costa may well be the man that Chelsea turn to.
Since the departure of Radamel Falcao to Monaco, Costa has stepped in superbly to fill the huge gap vacated by the Colombian striker with 25 goals in 26 games. His personal tally has played a pivotal role in Atletico's La Liga success, and only Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more goals in Spain's top-flight this campaign.
On the face of it, at least, Costa appears to be the perfect suit for Chelsea. Whilst there haven't been that many successful Brazilians in England, other South American forwards like Carlos Tevez, Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero have shone in recent years and there is no reason that the 25-year-old Atletico man couldn't become one of the Premier League's most deadly strikers.
His biggest hurdle may be settling into a new formation. At the Vicente Calderon, manager Diego Simeone tends to employ a 4-4-2 formation, but if Costa was to make the switch to Stamford Bridge, then it is almost certain that he'd have to adapt to playing as a lone striker. However, with the likes of Oscar and Hazard supplying the ammunition, the Brazilian would not be short of chances, and if he could replicate the form he is currently displaying in Madrid, then there is no doubt that he'd feature highly on the Premier League top scorers list too.
Whether a deal is brokered remains to be seen, but with a world-class striker being top of Mourinho's summer shopping list, it's definitely an interesting proposition that will have Chelsea fans salivating in anticipation.
Do you think there is any truth to the rumours, and if so, is Costa the right man to spearhead Chelsea to success? Let us know your thoughts below.
Stats courtesy of whoscored.com
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