Monday 11 December 2017

Chinese club Tianjin confident of signing Chelsea striker Diego Costa in stunning £76m summer deal

Diego Costa (left) and Antonio Conte
Diego Costa (left) and Antonio Conte

Matt Law

Tianjin Quanjian are confident of completing the summer signing of Chelsea striker Diego Costa in a stunning £76 million deal.

Costa has been offered the chance to become the most expensive player in the Chinese Super League, eclipsing the £71m Shanghai Shenhua paid for Carlos Tevez, and earn upwards of £25m a year.

Pictures emerged last week of Costa meeting with agent Jorge Mendes at a London restaurant, at which representatives of Tianjin were also believed to be present.

Spanish reports claim Costa has agreed to join Tianjin, but sources close to the player believe nothing is yet signed. However, the only potential stumbling block to the deal appears to be if a big European club, such as Paris Saint-Germain or Inter Milan, makes Costa a lucrative offer.

Costa has told friends that he would seriously consider a move to Paris, but the French club have been linked heavily with Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Chelsea are unlikely to turn down £76m for 28-year-old Costa, whose contract expires in two years and whose form has dipped since the club rejected a January approach from Tianjin.

Costa rowed with head coach Antonio Conte in the aftermath of Tianjin’s failed January bid before a truce was struck to protect Chelsea’s Premier League title bid. Chelsea are now on the brink of a League and FA Cup double, with Costa scoring 19 Premier League goals.

Should Costa complete a move to Tianjin, then Chelsea will have collected £161m in transfer fees from Chinese clubs in 18 months for the Spain international, Oscar and Ramires.

There is also Chinese interest in 28-year-old Willian, who has become frustrated at spending so much time on the Chelsea substitutes bench behind Pedro this season.

Chelsea would be able to reinvest a £76m fee for Costa into their summer bid for Romelu Lukaku, who Everton have valued at £100m.

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