Chelsea target Jamie Vardy reportedly has a £30 million release clause in his contract.
That's according to an exclusive from Matt Hughes of the Times, who noted the Leicester City striker has been the subject of interest from the Blues and Manchester United. However, he signed a new deal earlier in the campaign in the wake of his incredible form.
The Foxes will undoubtedly be hoping the new deal will ward off interest from the Premier League's elite this summer.
Vardy has been exceptional this season scoring 19 goals in the Premier League—including a record-breaking 11-match scoring run—and assisted six times as well, meaning he's had a hand in almost half of Leicester's 52 goals.
Such form has understandably caught the attention of those in need of a reliable goalscorer and Chelsea would benefit greatly from bringing in another forward to take the pressure off Diego Costa and provide an alternative to the Spain international.
Loic Remy has struggled to make an impact in his scant opportunities at Stamford Bridge, while Radamel Falcao's loan move has thus far proved even more uninspiring than his stint with United last season.
Vardy's fairytale rise to the top of English football has been well documented, with the Guardian's David Conn among those to note where he was plying his trade just a few short years ago:
David Conn @david_conn
Jamie Vardy reminder on BT Sport: was a few years ago winning Northern Premier League with Halifax, & Conference with Fleetwood. Awesome.2/6/2016, 2:40:47 PM
After only mustering five goals last season—mostly while playing from the left, admittedly—and just 20 in two seasons in the Championship with Leicester, it's possible the 29-year-old could merely be a one-season wonder, so signing him this summer could be something of a gamble.
If Chelsea need to splash out £30 million to get him, they'll more than likely look elsewhere and be wise to do so.
The club may well be in even more desperate need for a striker, though, as according to David Woods of the Daily Star, Paris Saint-Germain are interested in signing Costa in the summer, with his former side Atletico Madrid also keen for him to return.
Costa endured a torrid start to the season but has been in outstanding form under interim Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink, as Squawka Football and WhoScored.com reveal:
Squawka Football @Squawka
Diego Costa's 2015/16 league form: Under Mourinho: P13 - 3 goals, 1 assist Under Hiddink: P10 - 8 goals, 4 assists https://t.co/0QuQe6maoQ3/1/2016, 9:50:58 PM
Diego Costa: Has directly contributed to 16 goals in his last 14 apps for Chelsea (10 goals, 6 assists) #cfc3/1/2016, 8:33:34 PM
Indeed, he has only failed to score or assist in just two matches since the turn of the year. As ESPN FC's Liam Twomey noted in February, the forward looks much more like his old self under the Dutchman:
Liam Twomey @liam_twomey
Eight goals in 11 matches in all competitions post-Mourinho for Costa now. Mask or no mask, a striker rejuvenated #cfc2/13/2016, 5:35:51 PM
Per Woods, PSG's Marco Verratti said Costa is a useful player to have around ahead of their Champions League clash on Wednesday: "I prefer entertaining football but having a personality like Costa in your team is always good. He uses warfare to win the games but I know him, he’s a good guy who transforms when he comes on the pitch."
Chelsea can ill afford to lose him, but according to Woods, the Parisiens could soften the blow by exchanging Edinson Cavani, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic will also be a free agent in the summer.
If the Blues can recruit either of them, then losing Costa won't be that big of an issue. However, they could do with adding to their firepower rather than reducing it, so they should look to bring in reinforcements to support and provide competition for the 27-year-old rather than replace him.
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