Chelsea’s pursuit of a leading striker to fill their void up front may not be as straightforward as has been reported in recent weeks. According to widespread claims, Chelsea were finalizing a £50 million deal to bring Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa to Stamford Bridge. Even Atletico coach Diego Simeone has declined to play down the rumors, stating that he would not stand in the 25-year-old’s way should he decide to move to a club who could enrich him far greater financially. A potential transfer also made sense due to the fact that Costa is represented by Jorge Mendes, the same super-agent who has taken care of Jose Mourinho’s interests for several years.
However, reporter for Spanish newspaper El Pais, Diego Torres Romano, has claimed that, according to word from Mendes’ camp, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich does not want Costa, but instead Edinson Cavani.
Links with Chelsea and Cavani are nothing new. When at Napoli, the Uruguay international was frequently mentioned in connection with a move to Stamford Bridge. Yet, having only joined the phenomenally wealthy Paris Saint-Germain for close to £57 million last summer, another transfer appears unlikely so soon. Chelsea’s main hope will lie in the fact that Cavani has expressed his frustration at having to play from a wide berth due to the presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Any transfer would doubtless still be far more complicated than one for Costa. As well as the Mendes connection, Chelsea would also potentially be able to sweeten any deal for the Brazilian-born Spain international by offering either on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois or former Atletico striker Fernando Torres, who Simeone has recently hinted at having an interest in. Abramovich and Mourinho may also be having second thoughts over a move for Cavani having witnessed the 27-year-old miss crucial chances in both legs of Chelsea’s Champions League quarterfinal victory over PSG.
On the subject of Courtois, there has been more speculation about the Belgium international’s future. The 21-year-old has been a focus of attention in the past couple of weeks after he was deemed able to play for Atletico against his parent club in their Champions League semifinal tie. The Daily Mail reports that Chelsea think they are close to getting Courtois to sign a two-year contract extension to keep him tied to the club until 2018.
Courtois has said he has no desire to return to Chelsea unless he will be first-choice. There has been no word that current No. 1, Petr Cech, will be moving on, meaning Courtois could be set for a fourth season on-loan.
In terms of players coming in, Talksport has claimed that Chelsea are keeping a close watch on the situation with Sevilla’s Ivan Rakitic. The Croatian playmaker has repeatedly been linked with a move away due to Sevilla’s financial problems and he is also thought to be interesting Liverpool, Juventus and Napoli. Speaking to Italian website Cittaceleste.it, Rakitic’s brother and representative, Dejan, confirmed there have been approaches from more than one club.
“He is much admired in Italy and I have already talked to a couple of clubs interested in him,” he said, according to Talksport. "I cannot confirm who they are, but we are also considering the possibility of renewing the contract with Sevilla. We're talking to the president, but at the moment there is nothing concrete."