Jose Mourinho insists that Thibaut Courtois will be returning to Chelsea and ruled out a swap deal with Atletico Madrid for Diego Costa -- but did not deny holding an interest in the striker.
Atletico coach Diego Simeone has made no secret of his desire to keep Belgium goalkeeper Courtois, who is currently in his third season on loan at the Vicente Calderon, and there had been reports a deal had been struck between the clubs for an exchange.
Mourinho did confirm on Friday that Chelsea would seek to sign a 30-goal-a-season forward in his mid-20s -- and Costa, 25, exactly fits that profile -- but the Blues boss was coy as to whether the Brazil-born forward would be a target.
“Courtois is our player,” Mourinho said. “Diego is not our player. So, again, I cannot speak about Diego Costa. About Courtois, I can. He's my player.”
When specifically asked whether Courtois would stay permanently at Atletico, Mourinho said: “No, no.”
The Portuguese did not discount the possibility of Samuel Eto’o signing a new contract either. The 32-year-old can leave in the summer, and has talked up a prospective switch to Real Mallorca, but Mourinho was open to the idea.
Mourinho recently hinted that John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole -- whose deals all expire at the end of the season -- would be staying on, and on the subject of Eto’o he said: “It's not a similar situation to the boys with history in Chelsea, so we cannot compare his situation with Frank, Ashley...
“He's a different situation, but we can compare in the sense he's very comfortable, and so are we. Very comfortable. Very trustful relation with him. He's the kind of guy that, with his career, he feels very free and very comfortable making decisions just for himself. Feels good. Feels happy. Play for titles.
“He decided to come here to the Premier League to Chelsea, so Samuel is enjoying his career until the end. We'll see what he wants to do at the end of the season. Maybe he wants to go to Mallorca, as he promised his son. Maybe he wants to stay with us, or go and finish his career at Inter. He doesn't need titles, he doesn't need money.”
On whether he had ruled out the prospect of Eto’o staying, he said: “Of course not. He's a big player, even if he doesn't score 25 goals, because his contribution to the team is very high. We are happy.”
Meanwhile, Mourinho insisted Chelsea would not be purchasing any more players this January -- unless they sell again.
“[Not] unless an incredible surprising deal happens with one of our players, and because of that we have to react and make something to complete the squad... but I don't believe so,” he said. “No strikers, no.”