All aboard the Diego Costa rumor train! Next stop: Italy!
Now, Costa isn't rumored to be making a move to Serie A...but the Brazilian-born Spanish striker's future could hinge on another striker currently tearing up that league. Guillem Balagué wrote this morning in AS that Costa has reiterated his desire to leave just as Atlético Madrid have reiterated its desire to bring him back to La Liga. Chelsea understand this and will sell...but only if new manager Antonio Conte is successful in bringing Napoli star Gonzalo Higuaín to Stamford Bridge.
Conte is apparently trying to bring all of Serie A with him to London, but if he had to pick just one player to bring with him, Higuaín is not a bad choice. The ex-Real Madrid forward has had a remarkable season, scoring 33 goals and helping Napoli forge an admirable Scudetto challenge. Should he seek pastures new, Napoli will look to squeeze every euro possible out of the purchasing side. Balagué quotes the asking price at €48 million; even though he's 28 years old, I think it could be higher.
As for Costa, the ex-Atlético forward could come back for €30 million - cheaper than Jackson Martínez and as expensive as Antoine Griezmann. The 27-year-old also has an offer from China, apparently, but he would spurn it to return to Madrid,
As this blog has discussed, Atleti hitching its wagon to Costa at this point in his career might not be the best idea. While his hamstrings have mostly cooperated this season, he's endured a much tougher sophomore campaign at Chelsea - he's scored 12 goals, which is a decent haul, so I'd stop short of calling it a disaster. But his on-field behavior has worsened, the supporters turned on him and his hamstrings might still be made of Jello. There are simply better and younger options that will probably be out there this summer - hell, Borja Bastón is still worth a shot and he'd cost nothing!
But then, #CholoKnows. Simeone has built up more than enough credit by taking one Atlético side to La Liga's summit and a Champions League final, subsequently overhauling it, then guiding the rebuilt side to another Champions League final in just two seasons.
We'll see if the rumor train gets derailed this summer or chugs right on through to the Manzanares.