Diego costa has agreed personal terms with Chinese side Tianjim Quanjian, according to reports.
Spanish radio station Cadena Ser say the Blues forward will put pen to paper on a pre-contract agreement in a matter of days. The deal will reportedly see the Brazil-born forward rake in a massive £25m-a-year in the Far East.
Cadena Ser say a meeting took place last Friday between Costa, his agent Jorge Mendes, and four representatives from Tianjin. The deal was struck and it will be signed off in the middle of this month.
Chelsea are said to be aware of the meeting and the arrangement and are willing to do business for £76.2m (€90m). That money will immediately be reinvested into Antonio Conte’s squad.
Cadena Ser say Real Madrid’s Alvaro Morata is the top target to replace Costa at Chelsea. Costa’s move will see him link up with the likes of former team-mate Alexandre Pato and Belgian midfielder Axel Witsel.
Meanwhile, Antonio Conte prioritises winning over his Chelsea players’ happiness and has told Diego Costa to focus on the bid for silverware after further speculation over the striker’s future.
Chelsea are top of the Premier League with four games to play and in the May 27 FA Cup final with Arsenal as Conte seeks the double in his first season as head coach.
But, heading into Monday’s clash at home to Middlesbrough, speculation continues to surround the future of players including Costa, who has again been linked with a mega-money move to Tianjin Quanjian, and playmaker Cesc Fabregas, who is not guaranteed a starting spot under Conte.
The Italian did not clarify Costa’s situation yesterday, saying: “The present is very important for us. Now is more important than the future.”
And when he was later asked if he could keep Fabregas happy, Conte outlined his preference. “I like to underline a concept – that I mustn’t keep the players happy. We must win,” he added.
“You speak about ‘happy’. I speak about ‘to win’ and to work very hard.
“Players are not always happy to work very hard.
“But I think my target is to put in the mind of my players a winning mentality, and a winning mentality doesn’t have to keep the players happy. It’s very difficult to keep 20 players happy. I don’t want this. I want players ready to fight and to try to put themselves in the team, to try to win together.
“Then, if you are happy or unhappy, I don’t care.” Costa was happy at the start of the season, scoring goals at ease, but he endured a seven-game scoreless streak which ended with a double in last month’s 4-2 win over Southampton.
The striker missed January’s trip to Leicester amid reports his head had been turned by a lucrative offer to join Tianjin in the Chinese Super League.
Conte publicly insisted Costa’s absence was due to a back injury. Reports resurfaced this week of a move being agreed, although Tianjin took to Weibo – China’s equivalent of Twitter – to deny any negotiations had taken place. “I don’t know about this,” Conte said.
The Blues have three games in eight days – at West Brom next Friday and on May 15 against Watford – before the season concludes against relegated Sunderland on May 21.
Conte added: “The pressure in this stage of the season is normal and you must cope with this.”