AC Milan are in talks with Diego Costa’s agent about a deal for the Chelsea striker, according to Sky sources.
Jorge Mendes met Milan directors Marco Fassone and Massimiliano Mirabelli in Cardiff before the Champions League final on Saturday and another meeting is scheduled this week.
Milan are interested in three Mendes players – Costa, Porto striker Andre Silva and Real Madrid midfielder James Rodriguez.
Their top target up front is Torino striker Andrea Belotti. They made a £39m bid for him on Wednesday but Torino prefer to do business with clubs outside Italy because of an £87m release clause for foreign clubs.
Milan have money to spend after they were taken over in April in a £630m deal by Chinese investors Rossoneri Sport Investment Lux.
Costa reiterated his passion for a return to Atletico Madrid after watching his Spain team-mates draw 2-2 with Colombia on Wednesday night, but admitted the club’s transfer ban until next January is a problem.
“To not play for four to five months is a bit difficult,” Costa said. “People know that I love my Atletico team-mates and I love to live in Madrid, but I also need to think about my future.
“I know that at Atletico, it’s a great project but I have to think about it because not playing would be very difficult for me personally.
“I always want to play and to be part of the Spain national team because it’s a year where we have the World Cup next summer, so there’s lots to consider. I need to play – that’s it!”
Another option for Costa is a move to China, where his agent Mendes has strong links after selling 30 percent of his GestiFute agency to a subsidiary of Fosun International, one of China’s biggest investment companies.
The mid-season transfer window in China is open from June 19 to July 14.
In January, Tianjin Quanjian offered Costa the chance to become the best-paid player in the world, although they released a statement last month saying they had not made contact with Costa or his agent “during the past six months”.
Any move to China would be complicated because of new rules on foreign signings introduced by the Chinese FA and the fact that Costa told reporters after the FA Cup final that he did not want to move there.
Chinese clubs now have to pay a 100 per cent tax on foreign signings, with the money going into a youth development fund.