Chelsea appear to be closing in on their number one target to bolster their much-derided striking contingent, with Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone conceding that he would not stand in the way of Diego Costa moving to Stamford Bridge. The Brazil-born Spain international has scored 34 goals this season to propel Atletico to the top of La Liga and the last four of the Champions League.
Despite Demba Ba scoring the dramatic winning goal to take Chelsea past Paris Saint-Germain and into the semifinals of the Champions League and Samuel Eto’o coming up with some crucial goals, Jose Mourinho has made no secret of his desire for major reinforcements up front. And the most high-profile arrival looks set to be Costa, who the Daily Mirror believe Mourinho is confident of securing in a £50 million deal. Simeone has confirmed Chelsea’s interest.
“It will depend on him and what he thinks is best for his future,” he revealed to Spanish radio station Onda Cero. “I will support any decision he makes. It's natural that Chelsea are interested in him. And that makes me happy, because my aim and that of my coaching staff is to see our players improve. We understand that Chelsea have huge financial power, and if he wants to live off football for the rest of his life, I will have no problem with him going. It was like Radamel Falcao -- how could I tell him not to go to Monaco?"
With Eto’o’s contract is expiring and Ba is likely to leave in search of more regular first-team action, Chelsea will also surely be looking to remove Fernando Torres’s massive wage bill from their balance sheet. And Simeone suggested that Torres could return to Atletico, where he came up through the ranks when the Argentine was still a player with the club.
“Fernando is always with us, obviously I have sent messages to him," he said. "He is very happy with everything that is happening to this team and he is always present, wishing us luck. Of course he would love to come back to the club he grew up in and where he was happy."
In recent days, Chelsea have also been strongly linked with Hamburg’s attacking midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu. The 20-year-old is also thought to be on to be on the radar of the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Juventus, however, according to the Turkey international’s agent there is little substance to the speculation.
"We have not been receiving official enquiries from any club with regard to Hakan's future," Bektas Demirtas said, according to Sky Sports. "Nothing serious, no single club.
"There is also no reason as Hakan wanted to sign a long-term deal at Hamburg in February. He feels at home at the club. Any action is therefore up to the club. We would only start considering if Hamburg start negotiations with another club.”
Closer to home, Chelsea are said to be interested in two young English defenders. The Blues’ liking for Southampton’s 18-year-old Luke Shaw has been known for some time. Yet there are conflicting reports about where they stand in the keenly contested race to secure his services. The Telegraph believes that Manchester United are now in prime position due to Shaw’s concern about competition at Stamford Bridge for the left-back spot from Cesar Azpilicueta and Ashley Cole. According to The Guardian, however, that is not an issue. Shaw could well decide his future before this summer’s World Cup.
The Daily Mail believes that Chelsea are also looking to recruit Everton’s promising 19-year-old central defender John Stones. The England Under-21 international has impressed while filling in for the injured Phil Jagielka in recent weeks and the Mail claims that Arsenal are also monitoring his progress. However, both clubs are likely to be disappointed, with Everton having no desire or need to sell.