Atletico Madrid have claimed they are prepared to wait until January to agree a transfer with Chelsea for rebel striker Diego Costa.

It had been reported in Spain that a £54m deal is imminent after a breakthrough in negotiations over the past few days.

While the window to buy players is closed, Atletico were thought to be looking to get a deal completed with Chelsea in advance so he can start working on his fitness.

Costa has been AWOL in Brazil since mid-July and last played a competitive fixture in June.

It has been suggested that Costa has already travelled to Madrid this week and is also moving his family members there.

But club president Enrique Cerezo claims no transfer is close and that Atletico aren’t in any rush to resolve the situation.

He said: “What I do understand is that Costa is a Chelsea player and until January, there is time to talk to his club and with anybody else.

“We will not do anything until January. If his family is moving [to Madrid] then I do not know.”

There have also been reports in Spain that Atletico officials flew to the capital this week to negotiate terms with Chelsea.

In Pictures | Chelsea vs Qarabag | 12/09/2017

However, Standard Sport understands that Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia, who is in charge of the club’s transfer discussions of players both in and out of the club, has been away on business elsewhere.

The two clubs are playing each other in the Champions League in Madrid in a fortnight, which provides an opportunity for further discussions.

Costa has wanted to return to Atletico Madrid, who sold him to Chelsea for £32m in 2014, for the past two years.

The forward is the main target for their coach Diego Simeone, however it is believed there are some members of the Atletico hierarchy that still have doubts about bringing him back to the club, especially for the fee Chelsea want.

Before the window closed at the end of last month, Atletico intimated they would be willing to spend an initial £41m with another £10m in add-ons.

But due to a FIFA ban, Atletico couldn’t register any new players till January and they were reluctant to pay his wages without being able to pick him.

Due to a lack of match fitness, a short-term loan move to another club failed to materialise too, although Fenerbahce thought they were close to bringing him to Turkey.

Costa claimed he was told for the first time by Chelsea coach Antonio Conte that he wasn’t wanted at the club via a text message in June.

However, the Chelsea boss insists that Costa and his agent Jorge Mendes knew of plans that he’d be sold in the summer back in January.

The Spain international has refused to return to training at Chelsea for two months and is being fined on a regular basis.

Chelsea 6-0 Qarabag_ Antonio Conte press conference

He has been named in Chelsea’s Premier League squad, but he is not expected to play for the club again.

Former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane believes Chelsea will benefit from Costa, who scored 52 League goals in three seasons, leaving on a permanent basis.

He said: “They are better off without him. The guy is obviously big trouble. I know he has done well for them, but he looks to me to be a bit of a baloon. 

“Get rid of him. Have players at your club that want to be there.”

Source: https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/atletico-madrid-to-wait-until-january-for-54m-chelsea-striker-diego-costa-a3634806.html