Diego Costa is willing to have showdown talks with Antonio Conte — and could yet play for Chelsea next season.
The Spain striker is open to a Stamford Bridge return despite being dumped by boss Conte via text message last month.
Costa is in limbo, with his preferred move back to Atletico Madrid impossible before January because of the Spanish side’s transfer ban.
However, the Blues’ long-time target Romelu Lukaku’s probable move to Manchester United has opened the door for a possible reconciliation.
The 28-year-old needs to be playing to be considered for Spain’s World Cup squad next summer — and sources close to the player insist he would return to London.
Costa rejected a new contract offer from the Blues at the end of last season, a decision which Conte saw as untrustworthy.
Chelsea are now faced with paying over the odds for the likes of Andrea Belotti or Alvaro Morata, who would each cost in excess of £70million.
They also have an interest in Swansea’s Spanish striker Fernando Llorente but he is not in Costa’s class.
A truce with Costa — even for just next season — would be a more cost-effective option, though the £180,000-a-week hitman would demand a pay rise.
Costa’s agent, Jorge Mendes, is understood to have contacted Chelsea chiefs with a view to arranging a peace summit. But senior club officials concede the final decision is the manager’s.
Meanwhile, Conte’s frustration at Chelsea’s lack of transfers is set to be eased with the completion of midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko’s move from Monaco.
The Blues will pay around £35m for the France midfielder, while another £34m is going on Roma’s Germany defender Antonio Rudiger.
Having seen Lukaku snatched from under their noses, though, fuming Chelsea are reluctant to do business with United over midfielder Nemanja Matic.
The Old Trafford club will instead turn their attentions back to Tottenham’s £50m-rated Eric Dier — as SunSport first revealed in March.
United are also finalising Wayne Rooney’s switch back to first club Everton, while Lukaku, 24, has already been training with Paul Pogba in Los Angeles ahead of the United squad’s arrival.