Atletico Madrid have emerged as the favourites to sign unwanted Chelsea striker Diego Costa, after the player apparently admitted he wanted to return to his former club.
Costa has been expected to leave Stamford Bridge since reports of a rift with manager Antonio Conte surfaced in January following a supposed lucrative offer from the Chinese Super League.
While Costa scored 20 league goals en route to a Premier League title with the Blues last season, the rift between player and manager surfaced once again after the campaign concluded with the Spain international claiming he was informed by Conte via text message that he was not wanted for the following season.
Diego Costa has told Atlético Madrid he wants to sign for them again. Not in Antonio Conte’s Chelsea plans for next season
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) 21 June 2017
Now Sky Sports journalist Kaveh Solhekol has reported that Costa is angling for a return to the Spanish capital – where he scored 72 times across three seasons.
Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio has claimed that the Blues would accept around €60m for Costa, although Conte’s admission that the striker is not in his plans may weaken the club’s hand in negotiations.
Should the 28-year-old leave as expected, the Premier League would be losing one of the most influential strikers of the past few seasons.
Since his arrival in 2014, Costa has shown the good, the bad and the ugly in the blue of Chelsea, and can definitely be said to have left his mark on the league.
The Blues continue to be linked with Everton hitman Romelu Lukaku, who could be returning to Stamford Bridge this summer after emerging as one of the Premier League’s top strikers.
Interestingly, should Costa leave Chelsea for Atleti, he wouldn’t actually be able to feature for them whilst their transfer embargo is in effect – meaning he would have to wait to become registered in January before taking to the field.