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Costa signing makes Chelsea Premier League favourites

Premier League side Chelsea have finally announced the signing of Diego Costa, after agreeing a deal with Atletico Madrid to meet the striker’s £35m buy-out clause. As a result, the Blues have now leapfrogged top-flight champions Manchester City to head the betting to win the title next term at 7/4.

The west London side announced on their website: “Chelsea Football Club can confirm an agreement has been reached with Atletico Madrid for the transfer of Diego Costa, with Chelsea meeting the buy-out clause for the Spanish international.”

Manager Jose Mourinho will be particularly pleased with the deal after his strikeforce last season of Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba managed to net 31 goals in 104 appearances collectively. Costa, meanwhile, managed to score a total of 36 in just 51 games.

“We don’t have the kind of striker able to, in a short space, to make an action, to score a goal, to open the gate,” the Portuguese manager said before the end of last season.

“Against teams that are more defensive, more aggressive, more worried about trying to keep a clean sheet than really to play, we keep saying the same.

“In these kind of matches, you just need to open the gate. When you open the gate, the gate is open and you win much more. We weren’t able to do that.

“We have to try to win as a team, to improve as a team, but also add the attacking player with that killer instinct and the number of goals that push teams to different levels.”

While Eto’o has now been released by the Blues, Torres and Ba still remain, but reports suggest that the Spaniard could be on his his way in the opposite direction to Costa, and re-join his boyhood club.

The transfer comes just weeks after Chelsea announced the signing of another Spain international, former Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas, from Barcelona for around the same price.

Mourinho’s men finished in third place last term, four points and 31 goals behind City. With a proven marksman, who came second in La Liga scoring charts ahead of Lionel Messi, and the Spanish league’s top assister Fabregas, with 12, Chelsea are now in great stead to win their first Premier League since 2010.

Of the top English clubs, it seems the Blues have done the best business so far.

Man City have added right back Bacary Sagna, who is likely to deputise for Pablo Zabaleta, and uncapped 26-year-old Brazilian midfielder Fernando to their ranks for the new season, while star man Yaya Toure seems more and more unsettled. They are 2/1 to defend the Premier League.

Liverpool (7/1 title chances), meanwhile, have decided to splash the cash on new England internationals Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert, as well as young midfielder Emre Can. Their northwest rival Manchester United (11/2) have also spent big, signing teenage left back Luke Shaw and ex-Spain Under-21 star Ander Herrera.

However, you could argue that none of those transfers are world class. Chelsea may be losing Frank Lampard but, at the age of 36, his best playing days are far behind him. Fabregas is a fantastic replacement, and the club’s midfield ranks are now well-stacked. With an addition of a natural left back to replace Ashley Cole, the Blues will be fully prepared for the new season.