It is being widely reported that Chelsea have stolen a march on their rivals for Europe's hottest hot-shot, Diego Costa. The figure is reputed to be around £32 million (which meets his release clause) and therefore means they now only need to agree terms with the Brazilian born but Spanish representative.
On paper there may not be a need for Atletico Madrid to sell Diego Costa (or indeed for Costa to leave Atletico) as they have beaten Chelsea in the past two seasons, have won trophies in the past two seasons and find themselves in a shootout for La Liga and the Champions League. However, Atletico Madrid are strapped for cash. This season may be the peak of a club riddled with debt and may need to offload a few players to stabilise the books.
Furthermore, with another Chelsea player (Thibaut Courtois) on loan at Atletico and arguably more important to them, Atletico will want to ensure he is at the club for another season by giving Chelsea the opportunity to sign Costa.
Chelsea's approach marks the second occasion a British side has attempted to sign Costa. At the beginning of this season, Liverpool breached Costa's previous release clause of £22 million, though he rejected them by re-signing a new deal with Atletico. Lightening is unlikely to strike twice as Chelsea are willing to triple Costa's wage to £150,000 a week.
For Costa, Chelsea's approach completes an amazing 18 months for the striker where he was a troublemaker routinely sent out on loan by Atletico to now being billed as one of the best strikers on the planet. Last seasons tally of 20 goals in all competitions (when he played out wide) has now been increased to 36 goals (from a traditional striking position).