Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has repeatedly tried to play up rumours of Diego Costa’s return to the La Liga side. His latest attempts have left Chelsea fuming as they prepare to fire at Atletico a second ‘hands off’ warning.
Diego Costa was an essential cog in the Diego Simeone-led Atletico Madrid side that trumped Real Madrid and Barcelona to become La Liga champions in 2013-14. However the celebrations didn’t last too long, with Premier League giants Chelsea triggering his £32 million buy-out clause to bring him to Stamford Bridge.
After a title winning debut season where he scored 20 goals in 26 league appearances for the Blues, the Brazil born Spaniard endured a woeful campaign last time around. Chelsea finished in 10th position on the Premier League table last season, with Costa scoring just 12 goals in 28 league appearances.
After Chelsea’s recent signing of Belgian striker Michy Batshuayi, there has been strong speculation that the 27-year old is trying to find a way back to his former club. The rumours were further fueled by Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo’s comments claiming that Costa wants to return and Los Rojiblancos are ready to take him back. But there has been no talk of a possible sale from the Blues camp, with new manager Antonio Conte believed to be intent on keeping Costa.
The Atletico president recently made further claims about a Costa return. After ruling out a possible move for AC Milan striker Carlos Bacca, Cerezo admitted that the club would love to have Costa back and are trying to find out if a move is possible.
“Diego Costa? We like him a lot, I’ll admit it,” Cerezo told Italian outlet Gazzamercato. [via: Football-Italia]
“We’re talking with the player and we’re working to bring him back to Atletico Madrid.
“We’re close, but don’t make me say any more.”
Just hours after his quotes were picked up by the media and became public, Cerezo claimed that he was misquoted. He contacted Spanish paper AS, and told them, “I do not speak of players at other clubs.”
However that wasn’t enough for Chelsea, who are not taking too kindly to Atletico Madrid’s aggressive public pursuit of their star striker. The club has already written a letter to request them to refrain from making comments on Costa, and are now set to fire another warning to Atletico in an effort to ensure that they realize the Spaniard is not for sale under any circumstances, according to the Telegraph.
This threatens to sour an otherwise great relationship between Chelsea and Los Rojiblancos. Current Blues No. 1 Thibaut Courtois played on loan for Atletico for three seasons before returning to Stamford Bridge in 2014, along with Costa and left-back Filipe Luis. The latter returned to Spain one season later, but the former became a vital part of the Premier League title winning Blues team.
The last season may not have been memorable for Diego Costa, but there’s no reason for him to leave Chelsea unless the club wants him to. The striker is earning a neat salary of £150,000 a week and is contracted with the club till 2019. In addition to the financial aspect, his role is not under jeopardy because of the arrival of Batshuayi. Antonio Conte will very likely be using two strikers up front, and the partnership of the new arrival and their first-choice striker is the one that the Italian is most probably considering.
Atletico’s aggressive pursuit of Costa and their president’s comments also make little sense. Los Rojiblancos have an enviable attacking force. The young duo of Luciano Vietto and Angel Correa complement club legend Fernando Torres and to top it all off, the crown jewel of the Vicente Calderon, Antoine Griezmann.