While a return to Atletico Madrid has been highly speculated recently, Diego Costa‘s future could lie in Asia.
With Ramires, Jackson Martinez and Ezequiel Lavezzi all making high-profile moves to the Chinese Super League during the winter transfer window, Costa could be among the most notable to do so this summer.
With Italy boss Antonio Conte set to take over Chelsea after leading the Azzurri at June’s European Championship, the wholesale of changes could be looming, including the departure of the Spaniard.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the 27-year-old striker is reportedly receiving significant interest from China and clubs have expressed their willingness to spend in the realm of $80 million for his services.
While the Super League is still growing in quality and star power, China could be appealing to Chelsea and Costa for several reasons.
Costa has explicitly declared that a move away from Stamford Bridge would be best, previously citing homesickness after leaving Spain and simply not enjoying life in England. While Atletico Madrid is still in the running to re-acquire the Brazilian-born striker, his contract may be out of their range.
Chelsea’s move for Costa in 2014 came for a sum of $37 million, significantly less than what is being proposed by China. While the striker has greatly contributed in his time at Stamford Bridge, it is Costa’s antics and temper that have caused discontent with fans and staff at times. The Blues, who have never been shy to sell players, certainly won’t hesitate to move Costa, no matter where the destination may be.
While Costa’s only real appeal to join a Chinese side would be money, he wouldn’t be the first Brazilian-born player to make the transition east. Former Chelsea midfielder Ramires, Alex Teixeira and Paulinho are just a few of the names that have recently completed moves to China. There has also been rumblings that another Chelsea midfielder, Oscar, could be approached about a potential deal with the Super League.