Chelsea FC received a major transfer blow after Spanish midfielder Koke came out and revealed that he wants to stay at Atletico Madrid.

Chelsea’s incoming manager Antonio Conte was reportedly looking at Koke as an option to boost his midfield. However, the Italian might have to turn his attention to other options after the 24 year old has said that he does not wish to leave Atletico.

“For a hundred and something years Atletico Madrid has been among the best. How can I leave? Why would I want to lose all of this? To be an Atleti player is the best there is,” Koke was quoted as saying on Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo. “Atleti is special. It is a family. I am happy where I am. I am playing for the team that has looked after me since I was very little. A lot of times you don’t move for money.”

The Barcelona offer

Atletico Madrid vs FC BarcelonaChelsea is not the only club interested in signing Koke. La Liga giants FC Barcelona had also tried to sign Koke after Atletico Madrid won the 2013/14 La Liga title. However, the young midfielder, who is resolute in his loyalty to Atletico, revealed that he had turned down the offer from the Catalans as well.

“Something happened with Barça. But we had just won a La Liga title (in 2014), and I’m part of the best moment in a long time for the club, and something this good will not happen again for several years,” said Koke.

Atletico must keep their best players to break’s La Liga’s duopoly

Atletico Madrid press conferenceThe La Liga is often criticized for its lack of competitiveness as not a lot of the mid-table teams can compete with duopoly of Real Madrid and Barcelona. However, in the last few years, Atletico have not only challenged these two Spanish giants, but also  managed to  beat them on several occasions. Their 2014 La Liga triumph was testimony to the fact that they are worthy challengers to the duopoly.

However, in order to keep on challenging for the top tournaments in Spain and in Europe, Atletico must make sure that they do not get financially out-muscled by Real Madrid and Barcelona into losing their best players.