Chelsea appear to be moving closer to a summertime deal for Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa.
Representatives from the Blues traveled to the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday night to watch the Brazilian-born striker score the match-winner in Los Colchoneros 1-0 victory over Granada.
Costa’s winner came in the 63rd minute when he headed Jose Sosa’s cross past Granada keeper Roberto to help Atletico into 1st place in La Liga, one point clear of Barcelona and three clear of Real Madrid.
Reports out of West London claim that manager Jose Mourinho is keen to wrap up a deal for Costa before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where the striker will be representing Spain after his recent switch was confirmed by FIFA this past winter.
Mourinho is believed to have made an approach for Costa in January with the 25-year-old rebuffing a mid-season move. An end-of-the-season move, however, is not believed to be adverse for Costa, who boasts a buy-out clause in the region of $66 million, according to the Daily Mail.
Much in the mold of Didier Drogba, Costa represents that large, powerful striker that Mourinho’s teams crave. Many believe that Everton loanee Romelu Lukaku also fits that bill but the Portuguese manager is reportedly unimpressed by the Belgian striker and may look to sell him come next summer.
The aging Samuel Eto’o, ineffective Fernando Torres and seldom used Demba Ba all represent surplus goods when compared to Costa. The combustible striker has been in dashing form this season, with 32 goals in 42 total appearances, 24 of which have come in La Liga.
Mourinho’s Chelsea side take on Crystal Palace this Saturday at 10:45am ET on NBCSN.