Wednesday 25 April 2018

Chelsea announce deal to sell Diego Costa back to Atletico Madrid

Diego Costa
Diego Costa

Ed Malyon

Diego Costa's successful stint with Chelsea has had a bitter end, but his exile will shortly be over as Atletico Madrid finalised a club-record deal to buy him back from the Premier League champions.

The Brazilian-born Spanish international did not return to west London this summer after being told via text message that Antonio Conte no longer had the 28-year-old forward in his plans.

That short, brutal message from Conte triggered a scramble for Costa's signature but the striker, who scored 20 times in Chelsea's league-winning campaign, painted the Blues into a corner by insisting he only had eyes for Atleti.

With the Madrid club, from whom Costa had moved for £32m in 2014, under a transfer ban until January, a summer transfer was mainly in the interests of Chelsea and not Atletico. And so with Costa refusing to go elsewhere and the Blues refusing to accept lowball offers from the Spanish giants, an impasse was reached that spilt beyond August's transfer deadline.

Talks, however, have continued and with the two clubs set to play their first of two Champions League fixtures this autumn, the feeling was that neither side wished to have this saga hanging over them any longer, with Chelsea announcing on Thursday afternoon:

"Chelsea Football Club has today agreed terms with Atletico Madrid for the transfer of Diego Costa.

"The transfer will be subject to the agreement of personal terms and a medical."

Indeed, The Independent understands that Diego Simeone's contract renewal, announced three weeks ago, was subject to a number of promises including the Costa deal being completed. With Atletico hopeful of booking a medical as soon as this week for their former player to return, the idea would be that Diego Costa could train with his new teammates until January and then begin the second half of the season fresh and acclimatised to life in Spain once again.

Sources in Spain suggest that the fee will be north of €50m (£44m) and a club record, exceeding the amounts paid for Jackson Martinez and Falcao.

Costa will join former Sevilla midfielder Vitolo in strengthening Atleti this winter as they look to make another assault on La Liga and the Champions League during their first season in the impressive Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.

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