Chelsea to rival Liverpool for £15m playmaker - is this Salah and Willian again?

Rhein-Neckar-Arena - 1899 Hoffenheim

Chelsea look set to join Liverpool in the race to sign Hoffenheim playmaker Roberto Firmino with a £15m bid this summer.

The Blues saw their title bid fall apart after defeats to Crystal Palace and Sunderland, and with them looking to reclaim their Premier League crown under Jose Mourinho, Chelsea are expected to spend heavily this summer in order to reach the summit of English football once again.

A £32m deal to sign Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa appears to be in the pipeline, but Mourinho will be seeking extra attacking prowess after watching his side struggle in front of goal at times this season. Few would have expected him to be targeting more attacking midfielders though, which is why their bid to sign Hoffenheim star Firmino is so surprising.

The Brazilian, 22, has been a revelation in the Bundesliga this season, scoring 16 goals in just 33 games, as well as racking up 11 assists in an incredible campaign for the former Figueirense midfielder.

Unsurprisingly, those displays have triggered interest from elsewhere, and it was long rumoured that Liverpool would be bringing him to England as Brendan Rodgers looks to add more playmaking ability to his already potent attack, but Chelsea are seemingly set to join the race for his signature - even with the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, Willian, Andre Schurrle and Mohamed Salah already at the club.

Their pursuit of Firmino is eerily similar to when Chelsea managed to steal the signings of Willian and Salah from under the noses of Liverpool, despite seeming set for moves to Anfield - and Rodgers would hate to miss out on another signing to his former mentor Mourinho.

The situation is complicated even further by the fact that Firmino only agreed a new contract until 2017 in March, and whilst it seemed that his future was with Hoffenheim, it may just have been a ploy to get more money for him this summer.

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