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Diego Costa claims Atletico return was close

One of the most drawn out transfer sagas of 2016 could be about to resurface in the New Year

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Chelsea v Stoke City - Premier League Photo by Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

Diego Costa has claimed that he was close to rejoining Atletico Madrid during the summer. The Spanish international was strongly linked with a move back to the Vicente Calderon after suffering a frustrating second season at Chelsea, but ultimately, the move failed to materialise. With quotes attributed from the Daily Telegraph, the forward says his family played a big part in his wish to head back to Madrid.

“Could I have gone in the summer? Yes, yes. I was about to leave. I was about to but, well, I’m happy here as well and that’s that.” Costa commented before adding, “Did I want to go? Yes, yes. I had the possibility to go to Atletico, because of a few things, the family, the life I have there but not because of Chelsea, because, here, there’s a lot of love with the supporters, with the people, so I’m here very happy, I'm very content. People love me a lot. There was one thing I wanted to change for family reasons but, well, it wasn’t to be and I continue to be happy here. It was important too that the manager, from the very first minute, said he counted on me.

Costa is in fine form after undergoing a rejuvenation of sorts under new manager Antonio Conte, and he finds himself leading the Premier League goal scorers chart with 14. Atletico’s search for a striker to pair alongside Antoine Griezmann was no secret, and the thought of having two of the most talented forwards in Europe playing together is exciting, but for now it looks as if Costa will be staying in England.

As for Atleti, the failed pursuit meant that Kevin Gameiro became the top target. Though he’s failed to make a strong impact thus far, there’s been enough bright spots that the hope is he will enjoy a better 2017.