Chelsea have been offered a last-gasp deal by Atletico Madrid in their quest to sign Diego Costa before transfer deadline day, with the Spanish giants willing to allow Colombian star Jackson Martinez to join the Blues.
Antony Kastrinakis of the Sun said the Rojiblancos will let their £25 million striker switch to the Premier League champions, if Chelsea allow Costa to rejoin the team he left for Stamford Bridge.
Spanish site Fichajes (h/t Bruce Archer of the Daily Express) revealed Atletico director Andrea Berta has reportedly visited London to discuss the return of Costa to the Spanish capital, including a shock move for Spain international Pedro.
Atleti would gladly take Costa back after the striker helped the club capture the Spanish Primera Division title in 2013/14. During the campaign, Costa scored 27 times, according to WhoScored.com.
Jackson arrived at Atletico with a huge goalscoring reputation but has ultimately failed under manager Diego Simeone. He has not provided the venom expected this term, and a new start in England could revitalise the hitman.
Colombian ace Martinez has failed to shine for Atletico since a £25m summer switch from Porto.
Atletico dressing room sources have insisted that Costa frequently speaks to his former Calderon teammates and pines for a return to the Spanish giants.
But they have announced they will appeal and by taking it all the way to the Court of Arbitration they are likely to have their sentence suspended and be able to register new players this summer.
And even if they fail to land Costa now Atletico will be back in again this summer — particularly if Simeone stays on as boss.
Martinez was prolific in Portugal during his time at Porto, and it is surprising he has not been a success in Spain.
Despite Atleti's reported willingness to use Jackson as a makeweight in a deal for Costa, football journalist Paul Smith said Tottenham Hotspur want the striker, but not in a permanent move:
Paul Smith @Smudge1962
Tottenham have made a move for Atletico Madrid striker Jackson Martinez but only on loan #coys https://t.co/916cS85dFO1/22/2016, 8:53:55 PM
Here is a video of Martinez at his attacking best:
Costa's immediate future is up in the air, but one player who will not be departing Chelsea is Gary Cahill.
Simon Johnson of the London Evening Standard claimed the England international is "unsettled" after starting just five matches in the last two months.
However, interim manager Guus Hiddink was clear he believes the defender will remain at the Bridge for many seasons to come, as quoted by the Telegraph:
He [Cahill] was very open and very clear. He would love to stay at this club. There was no single space left by him to say he wasn't happy. He's very happy here, but he's not playing. And that gives him a bit of frustration, which is normal.
As far as I'm concerned, I will have him in the upcoming months and the club will have him in the upcoming years. He signed a new contract recently which is a signal he loves the club and likes to be here.
There was no hint that he wants to leave.
Cahill has played a central part in Chelsea's back line since his acquisition from Bolton Wanderers in 2012, but the collapse of the team's title defence has seen the England player fall down the pecking order, as Kurt Zouma continues his development in the starting XI.
Martinez would be an interesting purchase by Hiddink, but if it meant Costa is to suddenly leave, the short-term impact could be horrific.
This is not the time for more instability to cause toxic waves through Chelsea's squad after a baffling first half of the season.
Costa's form has recovered under the Dutch manager, and he is still a world-class striker when on top of his game and in control of his faculties.
Jackson has proved in the past he has the ability to score a goal in any match he plays, but currently he is an individual who is out of form and touch, and west London would not be the correct destination for him to set his compass.
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