Rafael Benitez looks to have made Chelsea pair Diego Costa and Eden Hazard his key summer transfer targets as he looks to bring success back to Real Madrid.
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According to the Sunday Telegraph, via the Express, Benitez sees the Stamford Bridge duo as central components in his plans for the Merengues.
The Spanish coach took over at Real Madrid last week, having left his position at Napoli [Mirror]. The former Liverpool manager replaced Carlo Ancelotti, who was fired after failing to win La Liga or to retain the Champions League title the Spanish giants won in 2014 [via ESPN].
Benitez may face a tasking brief at the Bernabeu, with Florentino Perez unlikely to tolerate failure, but the Spanish coach may well have considerable resources available in order to remould the squad as he sees fit.
Two Premier League forwards have also been linked to Real this summer, and it remains to be seen whether the club will make a move for Manchester City top scorer Sergio Aguero [International Business Times], or Liverpool’s wantaway star Raheem Sterling [AS].
Despite indicating that he wanted to employ Cristiano Ronaldo as his centre-forward [AS via the Daily Mail], Benitez now appears to be envisaging another striker at the pinnacle of his formation and has set his sights on Costa.
The Mail on Sunday, via AS, have indicated that Costa—who left Atletico Madrid for Chelsea last summer—has emerged as the Spanish giants’ choice to replace Karim Benzema.
The French forward has been linked with a move to Manchester United [Manchester Evening News] and may be set to leave the Bernabeu as part of the deal that brings David De Gea back to Spain [La Sexta via Mirror].
However, it remains to be seen whether Mourinho would be willing to part ways with two of his key men.
Costa may have suffered an injury-hit campaign, but he still managed 20 goals in 26 league appearances for the Pensioners, an impressive return considering it was his first season in the top flight.
Mourinho, speaking about the futures of his key men, has intimated that neither will be sold.
“I don’t see our team losing players,” he began, speaking to the Sunday Telegraph [via the Express] I don’t see our team losing our qualities, especially our mental, emotional approach to matches, to the season, to the competition.”
For his part, Costa has also sought to dispel suggestions that he is heading for the Stamford Bridge exit door.
“(It is) quite a simple answer. It’s always a bit more difficult in the first season for adaptation, but I have no reason to leave this place, I love it, the fans love me and I want to stay,” he began, speaking to Chelsea TV as quoted by Goal.
“It’s really good to come in the first season and win two things. It’s really important and next year I’ll be ready to come back and hopefully win a couple more trophies.”