Jose Mourinho’s summer rebuilding plans at Chelsea have yet to really take hold but the capture of Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa remains his top priority.
Mourinho made no secret of the fact that he was unhappy with his forward line last season as Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto’o all flattered to deceive across the campaign, as they managed just 19 Premier League goals between them.
When you consider Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge’s 52 goals between them almost took Liverpool to the title, you begin to see why the Blues boss is after at least one supreme goal-getter of his own this summer.
And, clearly, he believes that man is Costa. 36 goals for Atletico in all competitions to help them claim an unexpected La Liga crown and a run to the Champions League final – knocking Chelsea out along the way of course – means he is THE in-demand striker in Spain right now and one Mourinho covets above all others. Forget Edinson Cavani and Mario Mandzukic, Costa is his first choice and the hope around the club is that a deal in the region of £30million will eventually be struck during the transfer window.
Negotiations have been ongoing with Atletico for several months and the player himself believes the time is right to make the move to England. Chelsea seems the perfect fit as Costa will develop his game further under the watchful eye of Mourinho, while surely becoming the 20-plus goalscorer the manager craves in the process. The deal is not yet a foregone conclusion and Costa’s involvement for Spain at the World Cup in Brazil is likely to delay the move but expect the 25-year-old to be pulling on a blue shirt come August.
He could well be joined at the Bridge by two of his Atletico team-mates in the shape of Filipe Luis and former Chelsea holding midfielder Tiago, who is being tipped to make an unexpected move back to west London but Costa’s arrival could signal the end of Torres’ Chelsea career.
Mourinho will struggle to keep Costa, Ba and Torres all happy next term so the likelihood is that the latter will ask for a move away after failing to hit the heights during his three-and-a-half years at the club and failing to hit it off with the Blues manager last season. He could even become part of the deal that would see Costa joining as Torres is thought to be willing to go back to his old club Atletico this summer if he slips further down the Chelsea pecking order.
There will be changes at the club before the new campaign gets underway, that is for sure, but the overriding priority is to get that top striker on board. The futures of both Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole need sorting out one way or the other, while defenders and midfielders remain on Mourinho’s wish-list as well. However, the arrival of Costa will be the most eye-catching.
It will send out a message to the rest of the Premier and Champions League that Chelsea mean business as they aim to justify their position among the favourites with bet365 for titles once again next season.