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Chelsea Transfer News: Latest Rumours on James Rodriguez and Diego Costa

Stuart Newman@@StuNewmanSportFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2017

TOPSHOT - Real Madrid's Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez celebrates after scoring on a penalty kick during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King's Cup) round of 16 first leg football match Real Madrid CF vs Sevilla FC at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on January 4, 2017. / AFP / GERARD JULIEN        (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
GERARD JULIEN/Getty Images

Chelsea have suffered a blow in their pursuit of out-of-favour Real Madrid Galactico James Rodriguez, as it’s emerged that the Colombian could be the latest player to join the super-rich Chinese Super League.

According to James Whaling of the Daily Mirror, Rodriguez’s agent Jorge Mendes has been spotted meeting with Tianjin Quanjian club president Shu Yuhiu, fuelling speculation of transfer negotiations.

Rodriguez has endured a torrid time at the Santiago Bernabeu ever since Zinedine Zidane took the hot seat, having struggled for regular first-team action.

The likes of Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with putting the 25-year-old out of his misery, but even those football superpowers can’t compete with the money coming out of the Orient.

Real Madrid's Colombian midfielder James Rodriguez (R) celebrates past Real Madrid's French defender Raphael Varane after scoring on a penalty kick during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King's Cup) round of 16 first leg football match Real Madrid CF vs Sevilla
GERARD JULIEN/Getty Images

And as Mendes has previous with the Chinese top flight—having sanctioned lucrative switches for clients Jadson, Luis Fabiano, Jackson Martinez, Ricardo Carvalho and Axel Witsel—there’s plenty of reason to believe that Rodriguez could be packing his bags soon.

Chelsea are no strangers to the cash-happy Chinese Super League, having lost both Ramires and Oscar on big-money deals.

The latter recently signed a stupendous £400,000-per-week deal with Shanghai SIPG, per Luke Augustus of MailOnline, and the Blues may be in danger of losing star man Diego Costa to a similarly crazy deal in the coming weeks.

According to Lyall Thomas of Sky Sports, Costa has been offered a staggering £30 million per year to play his football in China, and Bleacher Report’s Dean Jones revealed that he’s interested in snapping it up:

Dean Jones @DeanJonesBR

Diego Costa's head has been turned by interest from China, where he would become the highest paid player in the world

However, former Liverpool and Newcastle United manager Graeme Souness believes that the Blues must turn their attention to keeping Costa at Stamford Bridge, or their title hopes will evaporate.

Talking with Sky Sports, Souness warned Chelsea that their grip on the Premier League trophy will get looser and looser if the striker departs: "This is the very last thing Chelsea need. He is playing out of his skin. They lose him and all of a sudden they are not going to win the Premier League. If sense prevailed, maybe he could stay until the end of the season. There has to be a way around this where everybody can be happy."

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 31: Diego Costa of Chelsea celebrates during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Stoke City at Stamford Bridge on December 31, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)
Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

Chelsea have options up front in the form of Michy Batshuayi and Pedro stepping up from a deeper position, but the impact of Costa is something else.

Arguably the Premier League player of the season so far, Costa has been ruthless in front of goal, caused nightmares for defenders and toned down his notoriously aggressive attitude, too.

Without Costa, Chelsea lose a lot of their bite going forward, and they’d be wise to negotiate with the frontman and give him every reason to stay.

The Blues travel to the King Power Stadium to face Leicester City on Saturday in what could be a preview of how life without Costa will be, as the Spain international has not been included in the travelling squad.

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