Chelsea may use Fernando Torres as leverage in their bid to sign Diego Costa from Atletico Madrid.
Speaking ahead of the two teams' Champions League semifinal clash on Tuesday, Atletico boss Diego Simeone confirmed the admiration club fans still have for Torres, their former hero, reported by Matt Barlow of the Daily Mail:
He is a lad who will belong to Atletico no matter where he is playing. He has great memories and loves this club, and the people of this club. Before kick-off and after the game he will have the ovation he deserves, because this is his home and he is one of us.
Once again he also indicated Costa could be on his way to Stamford Bridge during the summer, per Barlow's report. "It would not surprise me if a team with financial power and every chance to have a great player like Diego Costa, think of him," said Simeone.
Simeone previously revealed Torres "would love to come back" to the Vicente Calderon, noted by Spanish radio station Onda Cero and via Richard Martin of the Telegraph. He also admitted he has "no problem" in letting Costa leave if the player feels it will progress his career, told to the same station and via Sky Sports.
Atletico were reported to be eyeing a swap deal for Torres back in 2013, an agreement which would have seen Radamel Falcao head to West London, per Matt Law of the Mirror. With Costa likely to cost up to £50 million, reported by John Cross of the same publication, it would be a wise choice by Chelsea to offset the money they may be forced to pay.
Roman Abramovich will be constantly aware of the tightening financial fair play guidelines, which ensure European clubs cannot spend needlessly on the world's best talents. It is continued to be suggested Chelsea must sell stars in order to fund further purchases, noted by Tony Banks of the Express, a restriction that ensures any hefty sum for Costa must be deployed carefully.
Would a Fernando Torres-Diego Costa Swap Deal Make Sense for Both Clubs?
Not only would Chelsea shift Torres off their wage bill, they wouldn't have to worry about finding a club who would offer decent money to snap up a £50 million flop. Torres is wanted at the Vicente Calderon, and at 30 years old, there's not a better place to get his career on track.
Simeone is confident in his ability, calling the player a "very important" striker, per Barlow's article. He could become just that if he returned to Atletico, where Simeone's team would be built around the former Liverpool forward's positioning and movement.
Torres doesn't offer the ceaseless work rate of Costa, but with Simeone's energetic side bouncing around him, he would have a real chance of regaining consistent form. Atletico have made a habit of replacing outgoing stars such as Torres, Sergio Aguero and Falcao with quality and may feel they have a ready-made hero in the form of their old player.
Costa is certainly suited to Jose Mourinho's drilled efficiency, which needs extra time sharpening itself up before Chelsea reach their potential.
At this point, a potential swap deal appears to satisfy both clubs' needs without forcing either to spend too heavily in the transfer market. Torres can turn his career around at Atletico, while Costa is the lethal forward Chelsea have missed all season.
Simeone's array of compliments toward the former, and continued suggestion the latter may leave, hints at an exchange that is looking increasingly likely.