Chelsea consider Thibaut Courtois and Diego Costa swap deal
Premier League leaders Chelsea, 6/4 second favourites for title, are reportedly in talks Spanish La Liga side Atletico Madrid over a possible swap deal involving in-demand striker Diego Costa and Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
The tabloids claim Atletico are prepared to offer either Brazilian-born Spain striker Costa or playmaker Koke to Jose Mourinho to land stopper Courtois, who has spent the past three seasons on loan at the Vicente Calderon.
Blues boss Mourinho is far more likely to want 25-year-old Costa because his midfield ranks at Stamford Bridge are already full, but the centre forward spot remains an issue. Demba Ba, Samuel Eto’o and Fernando Torres have managed just 18 goals between them in all competitions this season.
To sweeten sealing the deal for keeper Courtois, who won the Zamora Trophy – awarded to the best goalie in Spain – last term, Atletico will also pay £8m on top of £32m-rated Costa. He is understood to have a release clause totalling that amount in his current contract.
Only Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo has scored more times in La Liga than Costa this term. At Atletico, he forged a 30-goal-plus partnership with David Villa. That pairing might feature at the World Cup as Vicente Del Bosque bids to retain the trophy Spain won in South Africa.
Reports earlier in February suggested Chelsea might offer former Atletico icon Torres in part-exchange for Costa, but making Courtois a permanent acquisition appears to be Diego Simeone’s preferred option.
Atletico have a rich recent history of having star strikers on their books. Between Torres and Costa, they have also had former Manchester United man Diego Forlan, who was La Liga’s top scorer in 2008/09, and Sergio Aguero – now at Manchester City.
Costa is also rumoured to be a target for Arsenal. Arsene Wenger’s Gunners slipped to fourth favourites for the Premier League title at 9/1 behind Liverpool following their drab draw at home to the Red Devils.