Chelsea transfer news: Conte 'eyeing up Sergio Aguero to replace Diego Costa'
Blues are first in line for a summer move if Spanish striker wants out of Real Madrid - latest Chelsea transfer news and gossip
Chelsea transfer news: £130m to sign Diego Costa this month
It will cost any club who wishes to buy Diego Costa £130m. So says the Sunday Times with the paper reporting that contrary to some recent press reports Chelsea are in fact "open to a deal this month".
Owner Roman Abramovich has decided he'll call the bluff of the Chinese Super League clubs and see if they'll put their money where their mouths are and pay what would represent a world record transfer fee.
According to the paper Costa, who scored for the Blues on Sunday, wants to leave the Bridge, his determination "exacerbated" by Oscar's move last month to Shanghai SIPG.
The ST claims that the Brazilian has "encouraged his friend to join him in the Asian league" and Costa has given the green light to his agents to negotiate his exit from the Premier League leaders. Chelsea, for their part, have reportedly told agents to find a Chinese club "willing to pay €150m (£130m) or more for him".
Tianjin Quanjian tabled an £86m bid earlier this month and the ST alleges they are ready to up their offer to £95m. That's still some way short of Chelsea's asking price, however, and the Blues are waiting to hear if they'll come up with the outstanding £35m.
If Costa does leave the club this month, the Sunday Express says that it's likely his replacement will be Inter Milan's Ivan Perisic. The 27-year-old, comfortable either as an attacking midfielder or up front, has been linked to Chelsea and Manchester United in recent weeks and according to Italian rag Gazzetta dello Sport, Inter are preparing to overhaul their squad and selling Perisic is part of that equation.
They've put a £35.5m price tag on the Croatian international and the Express reports that Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is "most keen" on signing him.
Chelsea transfer news: Courtois set for Real Madrid move
Chelsea may be on course for the title, but the Blues could be in for a tough summer as The Sun claims that goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is ready to swap Stamford Bridge for the Bernabeu.
The Belgian goalkeeper was first linked to the European champions at the start of the season but the stories began to lose momentum when Real were banned from dabbling in the transfer market for the whole of 2017. Uefa have since reduced the suspension to just this month, allowing Real to start shopping in the summer, and top of their list is Courtois, who has supplanted David De Gea as the club's main target.
And Courtois "has already begun planning for his move back to Spain", says the Sun, pointing out that his wife still lives there.
Apparently Real have concluded that a move for De Gea "would be too difficult to complete" but see the 24-year-old Courtois as the man to replace current keeper Keylor Navas. Courtois, for his part, is “crazy” at the prospect of moving to the Bernabeu, but it's believed Chelsea will only accept offers of silly money for their highly-rated gloveman.
Chelsea transfer news: Costa demans £300k a week to stay
The latest development in what has become known as Costagate comes in the pages of the Daily Express, which reports that Diego Costa will only pen a new Chelsea deal if the Blues pay him a "staggering £300,000-a-week contract".
So will they? No, says the Express, which claims that Chelsea "will not be bullied" by the Spanish striker.
Revelling in the knowledge that Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian will pay him £30m a year if he quits Chelsea, Costa has allegedly told the Blues of his demands if he's to stay put. The club's response has been to offer him a £225,000-a-week deal over five years and negotiations are set to continue with the Premier League leaders "keen to find a solution" as soon as possible.
Meanwhile Patrick Bamford has joined Middlesbrough on a permanent transfer with the official Chelsea website saying that the striker - who signed for the club in 2012 from Nottingham Forest - is returning to the Riverside Stadium, where he scored 19 goals in a successful loan spell in 2014-15.
Truth be told, Boro is more Bamford's level but the Blues were magnanimous in wishing him well, saying: "We thank Patrick for his service and wish him well in his future career."
Chelsea transfer news: Blues up for shock Gerard Pique deal
In a week when it's been one sensational story after another emerging from Stamford Bridge, Talksport has another as it reports that Barcelona defender Gerard Pique "could be in line for a sensational return to the Premier League" with Chelsea.
The former Manchester United centre-half, now 29, is said to be "unsettled" at the Camp Nou and is pondering a move back to the Premier League. Quoting sources in Spain, Talksport says that the World Cup winner, a regular since joining Barcelona from United in 2008, "is not a popular face in the dressing room with his fellow Barca colleagues" and that might prompt Pique to pack his bags and accept an offer from the Blues.
But it is Diego Costa who has dominated the headlines in recent days and with his future in doubt the Daily Express says that Blues boss Antonio Conte has "made Alvaro Morata his number one target" should the unruly Spaniard decide to move to China.
And even if he sticks around for the rest of the season Conte has been forced to draw up contingency plans because, according to the Express, Costa "will not sign a new deal with Chelsea".
Conte tried to sign Morata in the summer but instead he returned to Real Madrid after a spell at Juventus. But things haven't worked out for Morata at the Bernabeu and the 24-year-old has started just six La Liga games, leading to speculation that he could be tempted by regular game time at the Bridge.
The Daily Mirror, for its part, says "Romelu Lukaku is on the short-list" to replace Costa with the Everton striker initially stalked by the Blues last summer, and Conte also hasn't ruled out making a move for Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez either.
Finally, Sky Sports says that Chelsea "have approached Middlesbrough over the availability of winger Adama Traore". The 20-year-old, who began his career at Barcelona, joined Boro from Aston Villa in the summer and his form has caught the eye of Conte. Apparently it's the youngster's pace that has particularly impressed the Chelsea gaffer and an offer could be tabled in the next fortnight.
Chelsea transfer news: Diego Costa set for move to China
With Diego Costa's Chelsea future in doubt there's allegedly a battle of wills at the Bridge with owner Roman Abramovich ready to go to the wire to prevent the Spanish striker from leaving the club.
The Sunday Mirror says that the Russian didn't get where he is today "by capitulating whenever challenged by a wealthy rival" and will fight to keep Costa amid claims he is tempted by the riches on offer in the Chinese Super League.
And what exactly are those riches? The Mirror says Chinese Super League club Tianjin Quanjian "have offered him more than £570,000 a week to join them". Unsurprisingly, Costa and his agent Jorge Mendes are seriously tempted, but a Chelsea insider has told the Mirror that the pair should think again if they believe Abramovich is going to simply stand aside and allow the Spaniard to leave the club. "The owner is going to play hard-ball," explained the insider, adding that the Russian billionaire "will not be bullied" into selling one of the club's prize assets, who has already amassed 14 goals this season.
It seems Costa will be the winner whatever happens. According to The Times, Costa's punishment for threatening to leave will be the offer of "a five-year deal worth £200,000 a week", a £50,000 hike on his current deal.
The Daily Express has a different take on the Costa affair and claims that Chelsea will cede to his demands and use the money made in his sale to Tianjin Quanjian to sign Bayern Munich star Thomas Muller. Described by the paper as "unhappy", Muller is apparently down in the dumps because he's struggled to nail down a regular first team place under Carlo Ancelotti this season. Consequently, says the Express the Blues "are plotting a £75m move" for the 27-year-old World Cup winner, which hopefully will put a smile back on the frontman's face.
And it is not just Costa on the Chinese radar. Worryingly, for Abramovich, Metro claims that Willian is also being targeted by the Chinese Super League with a big-money offer likely to be tabled this month for the Brazilian wideman.
Finally Caughtoffside reports the news from Spanish rag Marca that Real Madrid have signed Aleksander Isak from "under Chelsea's nose". The 17-year-old sensation had been linked with the Blues last month but it appears that Isak will leave Swedish club AIK Solna and join Real on a five-year deal later this month.
Chelsea transfer news: Niklas Sule to replace John Terry
Chelsea are about to swoop for highly rated Hoffenheim defender Niklas Sule, reports Metro, with the paper saying that Antonio Conte has had his scouts follow the progress of the 21-year-old blocker in recent months.
The reports have all been favourable and consequently he is "lining up a £30m bid" for Sule.
The paper claims he is seen by Conte as the man to replace John Terry, although he is not the only candidate. It is his composure that has particularly caught the eye of Conte.
Already capped by the German national side, Sule is one of the brightest prospects in the Bundesliga and Metro says that Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo "is ready to sanction" an offer of £30m for the 6ft 5in defender who was part of Germany's 2016 Olympic team.
According to the Daily Express, Chelsea and Manchester United are both chasing Roma defender Kostas Manolas, the Greek blocker who was the subject of a £35m offer from Arsenal last summer.
The Gunners had no luck but the Express says the Blues might be able to lure Manolas from the Italian capital.
Asked about the possibility of a move the player's agent, Ioannis Evangelopulos, said: "We are aware of the interest of Manchester United and Chelsea, but for the moment I cannot say anything."
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