Monaco to battle Chelsea in race to sign Atletico Madrid striker Costa

Big-spending French club Monaco are to enter the race to sign Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa and thus join Premier League leaders Chelsea in pursuit of the Spaniard, according to the Daily Mail.

Costa’s fine form in front of goal this season has seen him emerge as one of Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho’s top targets, with none of his current strikers at Stamford Bridge reaching double figures this season. Fernando Torres has particularly struggled, netting just four times in 23 league outings this season.

Monaco, who last summer beat Chelsea in the race to sign another Atletico Madrid star n Radamel Falcao, are now understood to be offering a tax-free salary of £150,000 per week as well as bettering Chelsea’s £40m bid for the 25-year-old, whose 33 goals this season have helped Atletico challenge for the La Liga title and reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

In his current contract, Costa has a buy-out clause of £32m, but any deal is expected to cost much more due to additional costs. Monaco, owned by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovyev, have the advantage of being able to offer wages that are free of income tax.

Meanwhile, Mourinho has been told by Chelsea that he must comply with Financial Fair Play rules, and with the Blues having lost £49.4m last year, they will have to break even this time around.

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