Diego Costa's potential transfer from Atletico Madrid to Chelsea will spark a striker merry-go-round in the summer.
The reported deal will see Fernando Torres, Demba Ba, Samuel Eto'o and Romelu Lukaku deemed surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge, but furthermore, is likely to see other top-class European names move as teams aim to bulk up their attacking output.
John Cross of the Mirror reports a £185,000-per-week deal is on the horizon for Costa, whose switch will be funded by several underperforming Chelsea stars:
As well as moving Torres on, Chelsea will sell Demba Ba, Romelu Lukaku is heading for the exit after spending the past two seasons on loan at West Brom and Everton respectively and Samuel Eto’o wants out when his contract expires in the summer.
Chelsea also maintain interest in Napoli’s Gonzalo Higuain and Paris Saint-Germain pair Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Cross also suggests Atletico will target Ciro Immobile of Torino to replace Costa, a potentially shrewd move considering the 24-year-old's 19 goals in 29 Serie A matches this season, per WhoScored.com. Immobile is valued at between £10.5-12 million by Transfermarkt.com and is a cut-price replacement for Costa, who could cost Chelsea £50 million, according to Cross' report.
There's no doubt a Costa move would signal open season on Jose Mourinho's current strikers. Torres, who has largely misfired since joining Chelsea in 2011, remains on Inter Milan's radar. Marco Fassone, the Italian club's general director, confirmed the club's interest during an interview with Radio Deejay, per Simone Bargellini of Sky Sports:
"He is one of the names that interest us, as admitted by our president Erick Thohir in recent days," said Fassone. "Then you will discover in due time who will be the player we will focus on."
Ba's recent run of two goals in as many games highlight his ability to make a difference. He is sure to receive plenty of attention at the end of the season if he's still scoring, especially considering he wishes to leave.
"I'm looking to leave Chelsea. I want to play the full 90 minutes, get the maximum number of games and enjoy myself," said Ba, according to quotes attributed to the Sunday People and via Sky Sports. "I've not done that very much this season, and I doubt things will change for me here."
While Ba outlines Paris-Saint-Germain as a possible destination, he understands the Ligue 1 side are more likely to sign "international stars in the £50 million bracket rather than steady performers costing £10 million."
Jamie Sanderson of the Metro reports Eto'o has already held talks with Turkish club Besiktas ahead of a summer move. To round off Chelsea's major outgoings, Lukaku's agent recently confirmed he has held talks with Tottenham Hotspur, per Kristof Terreur of Sky Sports.
Should Chelsea sell all of their current first-team strikers they would undoubtedly be looking to strengthen beyond Costa. The Mirror's Martin Lipton believes PSG duo Edinson Cavani and Ezequiel Lavezzi are both "keen" to secure a future with Mourinho's developing Premier League side.
Costa's suggested fee—which could well match the price Chelsea paid for Torres—is sure to have an impact on many clubs across the continent. The Blues need to raise funds by selling players if they are to adhere to UEFA's financial fair play guidelines, detailed by Ben Rumsby of the Telegraph.
While Atletico will have a major chasm to fill if Costa leaves, Chelsea's forwards have shown just enough life to attract decent suitors. Lukaku is undoubtedly the catch of Mourinho's mass exodus, and at 20 years old, he has proven his qualities with free-scoring seasons on loan at West Brom and Everton.
We can expect major changes once the summer market opens. Although Chelsea are looking to strengthen in a colossal way, the domino effect of Costa's potential transfer is sure to be felt across Europe.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!