In Focus: Chelsea need a new striker swiftly as Costa edges closer to exit

Chelsea have given Diego Costa permission to miss the start of pre-season training due to ongoing negotiations with Atletico Madrid regarding a transfer, according to The Guardian.

What’s the word?

For a while now, Costa has been tipped to return to his former club this summer.

There was interest from the Chinese Super League in January, but it appears that the controversial hitman has his heart set on a return to Spain.

If Costa does sign for Atletico in the coming weeks, though, he will not be eligible to play until January 2018 when the club’s transfer ban is lifted.

The Guardian reports that an agreement has been reached between the club and Costa’s advisors to give the player some additional time off until a transfer deal is struck.

At the moment, Atletico are reportedly willing to offer £26m, which is less than what Chelsea are holding out for, but talks are ongoing.

Shouldn’t Chelsea wait for a replacement?

It is clear that the Premier League champions have struggled to get deals over the line given their lack of signings so far.

After a frustrating few weeks for the fans, some positive news emerged at the weekend when the capture of defender Antonio Rudiger from Roma was announced.

With regards to the Costa situation, it is understandable for the club to want to get the striker off the books as quickly as possible if manager Antonio Conte no longer wants him to be part of the squad.

However, the Blues need to make sure that they have a replacement lined up.

Watching Everton forward Romelu Lukaku agree a move to Manchester United would have stung Chelsea as they were linked with a swoop for their former player.

That situation shows that there is no guarantees, regardless of whether you are Premier League winners or not.

If possible, Chelsea should wait until they have a new attacking player – whether it be Alvaro Morata or Andrea Belotti – before they let Costa go.