Antonio Conte is looking to replace troublesome star striker Diego Costa with Real Madrid hitman Alvaro Morata at the end of the season. The Chelsea manager wanted to sign Morata last summer but the Blues baulked at the asking price set by the Spanish giants.
Costa's future at Chelsea was thrown into doubt on Friday (13 January) after he and Conte clashed during a training session. However, the Daily Telegraph reports the fiery forward has rejoined first-team training and could be included in the squad to face Hull City on Sunday.
Costa is still expected to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season and Conte is already planning to replace him with his international teammate, Morata. The former Juventus man has seen little action since returning to Madrid in the summer but the 24-year-old has managed to score five goals and provide two assists in just six starts in La Liga this season.
Chinese Super League outfit Tianjin Quanjin's owner Shu Yuhui revealed that his club did put in an offer for Costa, believed to be worth £30m -a year, and met his agent Jorge Mendes. But Shu said Chelsea were not willing to part with their star striker until the summer and hinted that Tianjin's pursuit of Costa is now over, with the club unable to wait until June to bolster their strikeforce.
"I made an appointment with Mendes and he came to my hometown to visit me. At that time, we were interested in signing Costa. PSG told us [Edinson] Cavani would only be allowed to leave in June, even though the player himself was willing to join us." Shu said.
"The same can be said for Costa because Chelsea would only let him leave in June. However, the new season of the Chinese Super League will almost reach the halfway stage in June, we can't wait so long."
Along with Morata, Chelsea are interested in Everton forward Romelu Lukaku but are put off by his £70m price tag. Lukaku has scored 13 goals for the Toffees this season and was sold by Chelsea in the summer of 2014, having made just 11 appearances for the club.