Football NewsMonday 16th January 2017

Hot Transfer Window Gossip: Costa 'rejects improved Chelsea contract', Marseille and West Ham 'have Payet talks'

Hot Transfer Window Gossip: Costa 'rejects improved Chelsea contract', Marseille and West Ham 'have Payet talks'

Chelsea or China? This is the simple, if slightly unusual, choice that seems to face many Brazilian footballers at some point in their Stamford Bridge careers.

For the likes of Ramires and Oscar it was a straight-forward case of take the money and run, but Diego Costa (yes he is Brazilian really, even if he pretends to be Spanish) has to make things typically dramatic. As such, Monday’s papers are filled with various theories about the striker’s decision between hard-earned Premier League glory and decadent Oriental oblivion.

The Times reports that Costa rejected a £200,000-a-week contract offer from the Blues prior to his “bust-up” with manager Antonio Conte. The deal represented a rather generous £50,000-a-week pay rise for Diego, but he soon got wind of the fact he could get a £420,000-a-week pay rise by moving to Tianjin Quanjin, which sounded more like his cup of tea even though he had never actually heard of the team offering it.

The Sun says Costa is ready to “call a truce” with Conte and stick with Chelsea until the end of the season, which is nice of him. But even then he still wouldn’t sign a new Blues deal and would just take the Chinese dollar in the summer instead.

According to the Mail, Costa won’t be allowed to leave even if he wants to. The paper says that Blues owner Roman Abramovich has ordered the striker to “kiss and make up” with Conte – hopefully with tongues.

But the silliest line of all appears in the Star, which claims that Tianjin Quanjin aren’t able to sign Costa anyway because they already have three overseas players – the maximum amount under new Chinese Super League rules.

Maybe Costa should just move to West Ham instead. The Hammers have been looking for a striker for months and the Standard reports that they also are “increasingly open” to selling Dimitri Payet in this transfer window.

The Telegraph reveals that Marseille president Jacques-Henri Eyraud is jetting into London today for talks in which he plans to persuade West Ham to release Payet this month, although this is dependent on him negotiating the confusing route to the stadium from Stratford station.

Elsewhere, possible Payet replacement Robert Snodgrass said he is “ignoring” speculation about his future and focusing on Hull’s relegation fight (Star), Stoke City boss Mark Hughes is trying to fend off Middlesbrough’s interest in his unsettled playmaker Bojan Krkic (Mirror) and Arsenal contract rebel Mesut Ozil has told the Germany team’s official website that he is “very comfortable” in London. It’s just that he’d be a bit more comfortable if he got a 50 per cent pay rise.