Chelsea transfer news: Atletico Madrid close in on Diego Costa
Blues striker wants to return to his old club but he cannot play for them until the new year - latest Chelsea transfer news and gossip
It won't be long before unwanted striker Diego Costa leaves Chelsea says the Daily Mail, passing on information carried in Spanish outlet O Jogo. But it may not be soon enough to avoid an awkward reunion with Antonio Conte.
Apparently Atletico Madrid are "preparing to make their move" for the Blues forward ahead of the Premier League champions beginning their pre-season training.
Chelsea are due at their Surrey training centre on Monday and Chelsea gaffer Antonio Conte would like Costa to be gone by then. Costa would also like to be elsewhere after he was dumped by text message at the end of the season. Despite that, the Mail says he "will only consider a move back to his former club Atletico Madrid".
His stance rules out are permanent move to China and Italy and puts the onus on the Spanish outfit.
According to the Mail negotiations have been ongoing this week and "a deal might be close but no fee has been agreed". Atletico are reluctant to pay more than £20m for a 28-year-old with two years on his £150,000-a-year contract - particularly as the Blues have made clear they want to get shot of the Spanish marksman.
Conte would like to squeeze more out of Atletico but such is his desire to agree a deal that he might lower demands to secure an agreement with the Spaniards.
Bizarrely, the Daily Mirror claims that once Atletico have signed Costa, they'll loan him out to a Chinese club, probably Tianjian Quanjian, until January. The Spanish side are banned from registering players by Fifa, and will not be able to play Costa until January.
Romelu Lukaku is widely expected to replace Costa at Stamford Bridge, but there may be other strikers on the way. The Daily Express claims that the Blues are "set to make a renewed move for Swansea striker Fernando Llorente". Apparently Conte had made a pitch for the 32-year-old in January - a player he knows well from their time at Juventus - and although he failed on that occasion he'll have another crack this month.
Llorente scored 15 goals last season for the Swans and Conte believes his experience will enhance his squad as they prepare to defend their league title while also contending with the challenge of Champions League football.