Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho hopes Spain striker Diego Costa can emerge from the 2014 World Cup finals unscathed - indicating that the Atletico Madrid star will be making his way to Stamford Bridge, as reported, after the showpiece international tournament reaches its conclusion.
The 25-year-old is reportedly on the brink of securing a £32 million move to Chelsea after a stunning season with Atletico, who won the La Liga title and finished runners-up in the Champions League final. The Brazil-born Spain international scored 36 goals in 52 appearances for Atleti, earning him a place in Vicente del Bosque’s 23-man World Cup squad.
But Mourinho is anxious that the striker, who was hampered by a hamstring injury during the closing stages of the 2013/14 campaign, gets through the tournament unharmed.
"I hope [Costa] has a normal World Cup, no injuries, good holidays and I hope next season he can have a fantastic season," Mourinho said in his Yahoo blog. "I don't know where, but I hope he can have a fantastic season next season."
It seems almost certain Costa will be a Chelsea player come the start of next season. Although reports suggested the striker had experienced a sudden change of heart, he admitted at the weekend that Stamford Bridge looks his most likely destination.
Costa could be joined by teammate Filipe Luis, the 28-year-old Brazilian left-back, while goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois returns to Chelsea after three years at the Vicente Calderon. The Belgium international, who will start ahead of Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet at the World Cup, has established his status as arguably the best keeper on the planet over the last 12 months. Former Blues’ midfielder Tiago Mendes is also on the brink of securing a surprise return to the west London outfit.
But it’s Costa who will be expected to fire Chelsea to glory next season. Mourinho is open to the idea of replacing Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku this summer, while Samuel Eto’o has left Stamford Bridge after his one-year contract expired. It’s believed Mourinho is also considering a move for Bayern Munich striker Mario Mandzukic.
Costa is likely to start for Spain in their World Cup Group B opener against Netherlands on Friday night. In what will be a re-run of the 2010 World Cup final, which Spain won thanks to Andres Iniesta’s injury-time winner, victory for either side would leave them with one foot in the knockout stages.