Chelsea have reportedly placed a £130m price-tag on striker Diego Costa, and believe that a Chinese Super League club will be willing to pay it.
According to The Sunday Times, the Premier League leaders are ready to allow the Spaniard to leave, but only if an interested party is willing to pay what would be a new record transfer fee.
The report goes on to insist that contrary to previous claims, owner Roman Abramovich is willing to sell the club’s top goalscorer so far this season, and that Costa isn’t settled in London and wanted a return to Atletico Madrid last summer.
In turn, it has raised real doubts over his future at Stamford Bridge, as it remains to be seen whether or not Antonio Conte brings him back into his starting line-up against Hull City after dropping him last weekend.
The official line from Chelsea was that the 28-year-old had a back injury, but there was speculation of an offer from China as well as a bust-up in training, as noted by The Telegraph, which left question marks hanging over Costa’s future in west London.
This report will only add further fuel to the fire, but the question does have to be asked in that who will be willing to spend £130m on him regardless of the qualities that he brings to the table?
A move to the Chinese Super League would seem like the only realistic option in that case, and the Times do note that Costa has been targeted by clubs in the Far East since last season and could now make a big-money move this month with Chelsea ready to let him leave.
It isn’t suggested who Conte would line up as a replacement though as the Italian tactician will need to bring someone in to help them maintain their impressive run so far.
Nevertheless, with a possible £130m transfer kitty on offer if they reinvest in the squad, along with the money raised by the sale of Oscar earlier this month, he will undoubtedly have plenty of flexibility in the market.