Jose Mourinho has played down speculation over a potential swap deal involving Thibaut Courtois and Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa. Courtois is currently in his third season on loan at Atletico and stated in an interview in recent days that he would only return to Stamford Bridge if it was to be the club’s number one, ahead of Petr Cech.
As a solution, it has been mooted in the press that Chelsea could use the Belgium international in order to secure their reported target Diego Costa. It could be a scenario that works for both teams, with Atletico coach Diego Simeone making no secret of the fact that he wants Courtois to remain at the Vicente Calderon, having been a big success at the club. Yet, likely lacking the funds to purchase him on a permanent deal, the sale of the much sought-after Costa could fund the transfer.
Mourinho, though, expects Courtois back at Chelsea next season.
“Courtois is our player,” he said, according to ESPN. “Diego is not our player. So, again, I cannot speak about Diego Costa. About Courtois, I can. He's my player."
When asked whether he could envisage Courtois remaining at Atletico, he responded with a straightforward, “No.”
While Mourinho has said this week that there is a chance of Samuel Eto’o staying at Chelsea for a second season, a new striker will surely be on the agenda, if not in the closing days of the current transfer window then in the summer.
The latest name to be linked with filling that role is Mario Balotelli. The press has jumped on quotes from the Milan striker stating that he wouldn’t rule out working with Mourinho again, despite his tumultuous relationship with the Portuguese when he was in charge of him at Internazionale.
“Of course I would like to play under Jose again,” he said, according to the Daily Mirror. “In my first days at Inter we had some problems, but then it turned into a mutual respect, and now we have a real friendship.”
While there is no mention of his interest in moving to Chelsea, Balotelli also suggested that he would find it difficult to play for an English team other than his former club Manchester City.
“I said when I left Manchester that the fans were so good to me that I couldn’t see myself playing for another team in England,” he added. “I got great support from the Manchester City fans during my time there and I will always respect them.”
Another forward to be mentioned in connection with a possible move to Stamford Bridge is Real Sociedad’s Antoine Griezmann. The 22-year-old has operated on the left for Sociedad, but could feasibly also be used through the middle. And the former France Under-21 international, who has yet to win a senior cap, has suggested that he could be tempted by a transfer in the summer.
“I am happy at Real Sociedad, I'm very relaxed about the situation," he said, according to Sky Sports. "I want to finish the year here, and then we'll see. The team is working well and it's important we try and get back into European competition next season.”
Finally, the Daily Mirror has made the bold claim that Chelsea are intent on selling Romelu Lukaku this summer in order to fund a £50 million-plus transfer for Edinson Cavani. The story states that Chelsea have had the Uruguay striker scouted on several occasions this season, despite him having only been signed by Paris Saint-Germain in a massive deal from Napoli last summer.