Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has explained that former striker Diego Costa was unable to rejoin the Spanish club last summer as he had no buy-out clause in his current contract at Chelsea.
The 28-year-old left the Vicente Calderon nearly three years ago after helping Los Rojiblancos to a stunning La Liga title victory and the final of the Champions League in the 2013/2014 season.
After a successful first campaign at Stamford Bridge where Costa once again won a domestic title, the Spaniard struggled for form for much of last season and was linked with a move back to his old club, who themselves were on the lookout for a replacement for Jackson Martinez.
Despite being heavily linked with a return to Atletico last summer, no offer was forthcoming from the Spaniards and manager Diego Simoene has revealed there is a very good reason why the club were unable to sign the forward.
Speaking to Marca (as quoted by the Metro), the Atletico boss said: “I was crystal clear with Diego about what we were trying to do and how long we’d wait for an answer and that’s why we’ve still got a great relationship today.
“The problem we came up against was that there tend not to be buyout clauses in England and so Chelsea could say to us: ‘we want £180m’ or ‘we don’t want to sell’.
“From my point of view both I and the club did everything we possibly could to get him back to Atletico but what happened was we set a date after which we had to take action and we signed Kevin Gameiro instead.”
Most goals & assists in Europe’s top 5 leagues this season:
Mauro Icardi (19)
Diego Costa (18)
Alexis Sanchez (18)
Edinson Cavani (18)
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 22, 2016
Whilst Atletico will be rueing the missed opportunity, Chelsea will be delighted that they chose to leave out a buy-out clause in Costa’s contract as the striker has been in red-hot form this season and has helped the Blues storm to the top of the Premier League where, they sit six points clear of second placed Liverpool.
Antonio Conte’s men will have to do without their leading goalscorer for their next league match against Bournemouth however, as he serves a one-match suspension having picked up five bookings so far this season.