It is no secret that Atletico Madrid want to keep hold of Thibaut Courtois who is currently on loan at the club for the third consecutive season. He has been instrumental in their superb season so far which sees them tied for top sport in La Liga.
Chelsea are very fond of their Belgian 'keeper as well, and would like to see him develop at the club, and eventually take over from Petr Cech as the number one. Courtois has his own ambitions though, and doesn't want to sit on the bench at Stamford Bridge.
The Daily Star reports that Atletico Madrid have offered their star striker Diego Costa in a sensational swap deal with Courtois. Costa has been linked with Chelsea and Arsenal this season whilst Liverpool had a bid rejected last summer. Luckily for Brendan Rodgers it seems as if they didn't need Costa for this season, but imagine their firepower if they had completed a deal.
Costa has scored 24 goals in 26 games so far this season, and 20 of those have come in La Liga. Mourinho is looking to add a striker in the summer and someone with Costa would fit the bill perfectly. However would it be worth losing Courtois in order to get him?
The Belgian 'keeper has great experience for his age. Many players in that position only start playing regularly in their mid twenties, and usually peak around their early thirties. There is no doubt he has a bright future ahead of him. The 21-year-old has already played 177 games in his career at club level, as well as 17 caps for Belgium. He looks set to beat Simon Mignolet for the number one shirt for the national team at the World Cup.
Chelsea don't desperately need a keeper right now, of course they have the reliable Cech between the posts. He is only 31, and could have many years left in the game. However due to his persistent back and knee injuries he could be forced into an early retirement, This was a claim made by Courtois himself a couple of years ago.
They do clearly need a striker though. Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba have failed to find the net on a consistent basis this season, although the latter hasn't been given much of a chance.
They will have the returning Romelu Lukaku from next season though and he is certainly capable of leading the line for them. Diego Costa would give Mourinho more firepower and would solve an initial problem. Whereas Courtois will probably be kept back for another few years.
Atletico Madrid have excelled under Diego Simeone and with Courtois in goal. They have a great chance of winning the Spanish title as things stand, and no one would have expected them to be pushing Barcelona and Real Madrid this close. They're also in the last 16 of the Champions League and will head into their tie with AC Milan as favourites. They wouldn't want to have to find a new 'keeper next year, and they will do all they can to keep hold of one of the brightest prospects in Europe.
They would obviously like to keep hold of Costa too, but as shown over the past few years, Atletico Madrid are great at replacing their departing star strikers. Fernando Torres left to join Liverpool, and the void was filled by Diego Forlan. Then there was Sergio Aguero, and Falcao.
All class strikers, who moved on for large fees (bar Forlan perhaps). However each and every time they have managed to replace them straight away. Someone has always stepped up to the plate. Costa has done it this season following the departure of Falcao, and with Champions League qualification looking very likely for next season, I'm sure they would manage to replace Costa as well.
In my opinion the swap deal would suit Atletico Madrid straight away. Costa can be replaced, and there is still David Villa, and they could have Courtois for potentially the next 15 years or so in goal. As for Chelsea, yes Costa will add goals up front, but then when it comes to replacing Cech it will be extremely hard to find a replacement of that standard.
Mark Schwarzer and Hilario wouldn't be suitable options as they will have retired as well, and then there is young Jamal Blackman who has yet to taste any first-team action anywhere. A solid dependable goalkeeper is hard to find and it can take time to settle in, take David De Gea for example. Only this season has he started to settle in and produce confident performances on a regular basis.
If the deal didn't go ahead and Courtois returned to Chelsea then it would be hard to just leave him on the bench, and he wouldn't be happy with that either. There is always the possibility of another loan deal...
image: © wshjackson