The Express have sensationally claimed that striker Diego Costa will be allowed to leave the club this summer after Chinese outfits Tianjin Quanjian and Guangzhou Evergrande reignited their interest in signing the Spaniard on a £30 million a year deal, working out at an incredible £575,000 per week.
Reported interest in January unsettled the forward who has had his head turned and is open to the idea of leaving the Blues, and Antonio Conte and his team are now thought to be happy to allow him to move on to avoid him becoming a disruptive influence within the squad.
Those same reports also state that the Blues have already lined up his replacement, with Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata identified as their key target this summer. The Spanish club are demanding at least £50 million to part with the former Juventus man, but that should be achievable given that the sale of Costa could see the club receive as much as £90 million.
Morata has found his opportunities in Madrid limited since returning last summer and could be on the move again if Chelsea do opt to go all out to make him their first choice striker and replace Costa in leading the line for the London club next season.
Costa was one of a number of players who underperformed on Sunday as the side crashed and whimpered to a 2-0 defeat against former boss Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United. Post-match, Antonio Conte assumed responsibility as he told the club website:
“We didn’t play a good game, and United deserved to win the game because they showed more desire, ambition and motivation. It’s very simple, but in this case it is the fault of the coach. It means the coach wasn’t able to transfer the right concentration, motivation, desire and ambition to win this game.
“The situation is simple today. We have to think there are six finals from now until the end. The league is open. We have a 50 per cent probability of winning the league. We must know this. If we finish top of the table it means we deserve to, otherwise it means another team deserves it…
“The pressure is normal. I prefer to fight for the title and have the pressure rather than not fighting for the title and staying calm. We are lucky to have that pressure.”
With a four-point lead with six games to go, the Blues are certainly in pole position to win the Premier League title but, with Tottenham on form behind them, they can’t afford to take their foot off the gas at the final hurdle.
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