Chelsea's bid to sign Diego Costa this summer has taken another turn after it emerged that the Blues could look to use Romelu Lukaku as part of a player-plus-cash swap.
Reports have surfaced claiming Chelsea have already agreed a deal to sign Costa. However, when a reporter for Spanish television station La Sexta (h/t talkSPORT) this week told the forward of the speculation on English shores, he swiftly replied:
"Yes? People say a lot of rubbish."
After succeeding on loan at West Brom during the 2012-13 season, Lukaku left a similar impression this term while farmed out at Everton, scoring 15 goals in 29 Premier League starts, per Transfermarkt.
Jose Mourinho recently gave his views on the loan spell when speaking to the official Chelsea website, speaking positively of the forward's time away from Stamford Bridge:
Romelu Lukaku had what I call a successful loan. Sometimes players go on loan and at the end of the season we cannot find one positive reason for that loan, but Lukaku played all the time - apart from when he was injured - so he has minutes of experience in the Premier League in a good team, with a good coach and scoring his goals.
You can say the same thing about Thibaut Courtois. A successful case of loans are the ones we have to analyse. My final report will have in detail these kinds of cases. That's my job - to analyse things, have an opinion and make my decisions. I have to work with the club and respect the club's decisions, but I know clearly what I would like for next season.
Although appreciative of Lukaku's fine work at Goodison Park, the question still remains as to whether Mourinho would value that presence above that of Costa should the decision be left up to him.
The Blues boss knows the sting of Costa's prolific touch himself, having watched the Brazilian-born sensation score in the Champions League semi-final second leg that ousted his own side from the tournament.
WhoScored.com shows that while the Spanish international has been in hot scoring form this season, Costa does have his patchier runs of form:
Diego Costa: Has both scored (20) and missed (22) the most clear-cut chances in Europe’s top 5 leagues this season #Atleti— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) May 13, 2014
Lukaku arrived in West London almost three years ago, managing to make just handful of appearances for the club's first team since moving from Anderlecht in 2011.
However, his time away from the English giants doesn't appear to have stunted his confidence in any way. OptaJoe displays the propensity both he and compatriot Christian Benteke have held in netting against the Premier League big guns of late:
5 - Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku scored the most Premier League goals (excl. OGs) against the top four this season. Coveted.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 12, 2014
Whitwell's report does mention that Lukaku holds understandable concerns about the racism issue that is so much more prevalent in La Liga than the English top flight, with Villarreal recently escaping serious punishment after a fan threw a banana at Barcelona's Dani Alves.
It's undeniable that both strikers hold worldly talents in their own capacities, but it would appear Chelsea must make a decision on whether to stick or twist with the attacking assets at their disposal this summer.