Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has extended an arm to Chelsea outcast and former Rojiblancos hero Diego Costa after publicly expressing hope that the controversial striker will return to the club when the transfer window re-opens in January.
Costa had been pining for a move to Atletico, with whom he spent four years from 2010 to 2014, ever since being coldly informed by Chelsea boss Antonio Conte in June that he would be surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge this season.
The striker then returned to his family home in Brazil and refused to return to London when pre-season began, accusing the Premier League club of treating him like a ‘criminal’.
“We cannot sign anyone until January, hopefully by then Costa and many other will come,” Enrique is quoted as saying by Marca as the club celebrated the opening of their new Wanda Metropolitano stadium – ahead of the first game to be played there on September 16.
Atletico’s transfer ban did not completely prohibit them from signing new players this summer, only from registering them. As a result, there were suggestions that a deal for Costa might be completed anyway, but with the 28-year-old ineligible to play until the ban expires.
It was also mooted at one point that he could sign for Atletico and spend the first half of the season on loan elsewhere to keep him in match condition, but that scenario also never came to pass.
Having been rumoured to be a Besiktas target earlier in the summer, Costa had been linked with a move to Fenerbahce this week as the Turkish transfer window remains open until Friday evening. Instead, the Istanbul giants have landed Spurs forward Vincent Janssen.