Chelsea: Costa latest; Arsenal rivalled for defender; Lukaku close
The Express are the latest to provide an update on the unclear future of Spanish striker Diego Costa, as they claim that Antonio Conte is now confident that the forward will remain at Stamford Bridge this summer.
That seems to be because Atlético opted to instead sign Kevin Gameiro to add strength to their squad up front, rather than that Costa has decided he wants to stay.
Long term, it seems that Costa will have to work very hard if he is to revive his Stamford Bridge career after poor performances last season saw him fail to reach double figures for goals in the league.
The controversial 27-year-old will have to knuckle down under Antonio Conte, after various fitness and disciplinary issues under previous bosses, whilst Conte is unlikely to accept that, although he has always been hoping to keep hold of the striker.
Conte is planning to use Costa alongside a future signing in Romelu Lukaku. After making an offer worth over £60 million, including Loic Remy, the Express report that the Blues are confident of completing a deal for the Belgian before the season kicks off in under a fortnight. Whilst expensive, a striker has always been the top priority for Chelsea this summer.
Conte is believed to be planning to play Costa alongside Lukaku in a front two, with new signing Michy Batshuayi likely to provide cover from the bench, with Eden Hazard also likely to have a more advanced role next season.
The new-look attacking set up is exciting for Blues fans, particularly with two of the most physical strikers in the Premier League which is likely to strike fear into the hearts of a number of defences in the coming season as the West London club hope to launch a title challenge.
In terms of their own defence, the Mail report that Chelsea may consider rivalling fellow London outfit Arsenal for Valencia and Germany defender Shkodran Mustafi.
There have been conflicting reports regarding Arsenal’s offer for the central defender, ranging between £15 million and £40 million, but with a £41 million buy out clause, the upper end of the rumours may be more likely if either side is to sign the former Everton defender.
Mustafi is not a top target for Chelsea, so Roman Abramovich and co. may be reluctant to fork out so much money for a back up choice, but Mustafi has undoubted quality and is proven at the very highest levels, having won the World Cup, played in the Champions League and competed in the Premier League, Serie A and La Liga before. The cultured defender is good on the ball and would bring a different dimension to the Blues’ back line.
A move for Mustafi may well be sparked by complications in the move for Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly, with the Express saying that a new contract offer to the Senegalese defender from his current club has delayed any deal. With finances the top priority for the strong centre-back, he is believed to be mulling over the new offer before deciding on his future.
Chelsea and Conte will not want to hang around with the season approaching, and will be prepared to end their interest to chase up other targets if that is what is necessary, with Napoli desperate to retain their man and slowing down the deal in whatever way they can throughout the summer.
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