Jose Mourinho faces the difficult task of returning Chelsea to former glories next season. This year's Premier League and Champions League proved just out of reach, but with the transfer window approaching, Stamford Bridge is likely to welcome new stars soon.
Diego Costa's name is synonymous with the Blues due to his constant link to the club, despite him being Atletico Madrid's star man. Ross Barkley is the latest to join the Spaniard as a potential new signing, while Thibaut Courtois' future still remains unclear.
Here's the latest news on all three.
Latest on Chelsea's Potential Transfer Activity
In: Diego Costa, Atletico Madrid
Although Diego Simeone previously suggested he has "no problem" with Costa leaving for Chelsea at the end of the season, as reported by Spanish radio station Onda Cero (via Sky Sports), it is now believed the coach "pleaded" with his directors not to offload the prolific forward this year, per John Cross of The Mirror.
Such happenings haven't changed Mourinho's attitude. He reiterated his desire to bring in at least one new striker during his pre-match press conference leading up to the clash with Cardiff, reported by Miguel Delaney of ESPN FC:
Mourinho asked on how many players he needs: "Not many. As I was saying, a striker is something we are speaking about for a long time."— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) May 9, 2014
Mourinho: "When you were trying to understand in Jan why we didn't sign striker, we were preparing for the long term, not just immediate."— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) May 9, 2014
Mourinho: "Now, it's normal we bring in a striker, it's normal evolution of the team. One area we want to improve is striker position."— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) May 9, 2014
Mourinho: "We have three strikers at this moment. Normally one is coming, one is going. That is normal and logical."— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) May 9, 2014
Costa has plenty of years ahead of him at the age of 25 and is the right type of striker to lead Chelsea's line. Blessed with pace, power and the willingness to graft, he is used to working alone, before onrushing teammates support his play. Imagining him holding the ball up as Eden Hazard, Andre Schurrle and Willian bomb on is a mouthwatering prospect, even if Simeone wishes to halt the transfer.
In: Ross Barkley, John Stones, Everton
"Although Roberto Martinez wants to keep his prize assets, Chelsea would look to capitalise on his desire to buy Lukaku by suggesting a deal which involves one of the young talents going the other way," reads the article.
Roberto Martinez admitted he hopes Lukaku has a "really, really good World Cup and then decides to come to us," per Johnson's report. Although not concerned by the Belgian's £20 million price tag, Chelsea could use Lukaku as leverage to snatch one of the Toffees' English talents.
Both Barkley and Stones have enjoyed breakthrough seasons with the club. The latter's stunning goal against Manchester City highlighted his composure and powerful driving ability against the best, while Stones' dominant displays in central defence have given him an outside shot for England's World Cup squad.
Aged 20 and 19, respectively, it's likely Martinez would want major fees for either, whether Lukaku is thrown in or not.
Out: Thibaut Courtois
Everything you need to know about Courtois was underlined during Atletico Madrid's Champions League semi-final second leg against Chelsea. The impressive youngster, who is on loan at the Spanish club, posted a performance of real quality in front of Stamford Bridge supporters who may never get the opportunity to sing his name.
Mourinho will aim to keep the stopper in England next season, per Sami Mokbel of the Mail Online:
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho will make a personal plea to Thibaut Courtois to stay at the club next season following the Champions League final.
[...] There is a feeling Courtois would benefit from another 12 months at the Vicente Calderon before returning to Stamford Bridge for the 2015/16 season. However, Mourinho wants Courtois to return to west London next season to compete with Petr Cech for the No 1 jersey.
Courtois is likely to become frustrated if he doesn't receive plenty of playing time under Mourinho. The Belgian is on the verge of capturing La Liga and Champions League titles with Atletico and has proven he is ready to compete at all levels of the game.
His potential departure from Chelsea could end up being one of Mourinho's biggest mistakes. Courtois needs to feel wanted, but ultimately, Mourinho must realise he is dealing with a player who doesn't have to accept sitting on the bench at a top club.
It's clear Chelsea's transfer business is likely to dominate the back pages throughout the summer. This is an important window for Mourinho, who will hope to continue stamping his character into a team that is just a few missing parts away from appearing formidable.
Should the former Real Madrid coach strengthen as planned, adding Costa or any of the aforementioned youngsters to his squad, Chelsea will be well on their way to building a side comparable to that of Mourinho's first tenure in charge.