Diego Costa looks certain to be lining up in the colours of Chelsea next season, after completing a medical ahead of a £32million transfer from Atletico Madrid.
The Spanish international has emerged as one of the best strikers in European football in recent times, having scored 35 goals in Los Rojiblancos eventful La Liga and UEFA Champions League campaigns in 2013/14. Although the Vicente Calderon side lost out to city rivals Real in the final of the latter, they at least won a first domestic league title since 1996.
Costa was a key member of Diego Simeone’s armoury, but with Jose Mourinho desperate for a new striker after his first season back in charge of Chelsea ended without a trophy, a transfer to the English capital has been in the pipeline for some weeks. The Blues finished third place in the Premier League, four points behind champions Manchester City, and Fernando Torres, leading marksman Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba returned just 19 goals between them.
Having been made aware of Costa’s buyout clause, the Stamford Bridge giants activated this by meeting his £32million valuation. Had this not existed, it is likely they would have had to pay almost as much as the club record £50million they paid Liverpool for Torres in January 2011. The 25-year-old, who scored against the Londoners in the Champions League semi-final, has now passed a medical and will discuss personal terms ahead of his summer transfer.
Mourinho may not quite have finished with Atletico just yet, though. It has also been widely reported that the Portuguese coach wants midfielder Tiago, 33, to return to Chelsea, having previously helped the Blues to the title in 2004-05. Filipe Luis, the Brazilian left fullback, could also swap capitals from Spain to England, as a replacement for Ashley Cole is sought.
Such engagement between the two clubs could be fairly smooth if Chelsea agree to allow Thibaut Courtois, the impressive goalkeeper, remain at the Vicente Calderon for a fourth successive season on loan. The Belgian international has been superb during his time at Atletico, and whilst he is seen as Petr Cech’s eventual successor at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho could keep faith in his reliable Czech Republic number one before finally giving the younger man the gloves.