Chelsea open talks to sign Diego Costa

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Chelsea have opened talks with Atletico Madrid to sign Diego Costa - and hope to complete a deal for the Brazil-born Spain international ahead of next month's World Cup finals.

According to the Mail Online, Chelsea are prepared to activate the 25-year-old's £32m release clause before their rivals can make a move. Blues' boss Jose Mourinho has stated on numerous occasions this season that his team requires a new top-class striker, and the Portuguese coach has identified the prolific Costa as the ideal summer signing for the west London outfit.

Costa has emerged from the shadow of Radamel Falcao, who left Atleti to join AS Monaco last summer, scoring 36 goals in 50 appearances for the Champions League finalists this season. He is also expected to lead to line for Spain at the World Cup in his native Brazil.

Chelsea supporters caught their first glimpse of Costa during the recent two-legged Champions League semi-final between Atleti and the Blues, when the in-form striker netted a crucial penalty at Stamford Bridge.

He missed Atletico's crucial La Liga fixture against on Sunday with an injury, but hopes to win his battle for fitness ahead of Saturday's make-or-break game against Barcelona at the Camp Nou. Win that and Costa will leave Atletico as a La Liga champion.

It remains to be seen what Mourinho plans to do with his four current strikers - Fernando Torres, Demba Ba, Samuel Eto'o and Romelu Lukaku. However, it's been reported that all four players could leave Stamford Bridge this summer as Mourinho attempts to overhaul his team.

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