Atletico Madrid are pushing ahead with plans to sign £50m-rated Diego Costa despite the striker being unable to pay for them until January.
The La Liga giants have entered negotiations with Chelsea over the out-of-favour attacker, a report from the Daily Mirror claims, and want to wrap up a deal for their ex-star regardless of the transfer embargo that is currently engulfing the club.
Atletico were banned from registering new signings until January 2018 due to breaking FIFA rules over the transfer of foreign players under the age of 18 and, if they are successful in landing Costa this summer, would circumvent their issue by loaning him out for six months.
Costa has been frozen out by Chelsea manager Antonio Conte after the Italian sent him a text signalling his intent to no longer keep the Spain international as part of his first-team plans.
The 28-year-old is desperate to sort his future out before Chelsea’s players reconvene for pre-season training in July for fear of being left out in the cold by the Blues and, potentially, Spain’s squad for next summer’s World Cup in Russia.
Atletico are the only European side with aspirations to sign Costa – the marksman they sold to Chelsea three seasons ago – but Diego Simeone’s team would likely need to cough up around £50m to bring him back to Spain’s capital.
If Oscar can start a 30 man brawl in CSL by kicking the ball at a player imagine what a world class piss boiler like Diego Costa could do
— Graham Smith (@GrahamSmithh) June 18, 2017
Clubs in the lucrative Chinesea Super League are also believed to retain a passing interest in Costa, but it is much more likely that Atleti will re-sign the 15-times capped international before shipping him out on loan to the Far East for six months to keep his match fitness up.
Costa had become a fan favourite on the terraces of Stamford Bridge for his goalscoring ability and explosive temperament, and has helped Chelsea two Premier League titles and a League Cup since he arrived in west London for £32m in July 2014.
His relationship with Conte has been fraught with tension, however, since January after his head was supposedly turned by a megabucks offer from clubs in China and, with Chelsea believed to be eyeing a reunion with former striker Romelu Lukaku, is now on his way out of the club.