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Chelsea step up pursuit of Atletico's Costa

ESPN staff
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Diego Costa has fired Atletico to the top of La Liga, scoring 24 league goals already this season © Getty Images
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Chelsea have stepped up their efforts to sign Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa for a reported £40 million in the summer.

Club representatives were on hand to watch the Brazil-born Spaniard score the winner in Atletico's 1-0 win against Granada on Wednesday night that returns the side to the top of La Liga.

And Jose Mourinho is keen to tie up a deal ahead of the World Cup in Brazil, where Costa is expected to spearhead's Spain's title defence after making his debut for the national team against Italy in March.

Costa has scored 32 times in 42 matches so far this season and his 24-goal haul in La Liga is second only to Cristiano Ronaldo, who has 26 to date.

Chelsea attempted to lure the 25-year-old to Stanford Bridge in January but Costa was not interested in a mid-season move. At the time they faced competition from Arsenal, whose interest in the striker has reportedly passed.

The buy-out clause in Costa's contract was understood to be £30m in January, but any deal done in the summer is expected to be closer to £40 million, according to the Daily Mail.

Mourinho is keen to revamp his forward options, with Demba Ba already discussing a move away from the club, Samuel Eto'o out of contract in the summer and Fernando Torres being monitored by Inter Milan.

Torres left Atletico for the Premier League when he joined Liverpool in 2007 and talk of a return to his boyhood club as part of the deal has surfaced, though this would buck Atletico's trend of signing young players with huge sell-on potential.

The future of Atletico goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois - on loan from Chelsea - could also prove a factor.

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