When last we left Diego Costa and Chelsea, he was throwing metaphorical haymakers at manager Antonio Conte, claiming the Italian no longer wanted him and that there was no choice but to leave. But Costa didn’t want just to leave: he wanted to leave for Atlético Madrid, the club he departed back in 2014.
The Spain international’s desires, of course, have been complicated by Atlético’s transfer ban. Thus, he would have to get creative about where he’d play his football until Atleti could register him on Jan. 1, 2018. AC Milan have been mooted as a temporary destination, same with teams in Brazil. Costa could even take six months off and get Cholo-fit with his spot in Julen Lopetegui’s Spain team secure ahead of the 2018 World Cup.
That’s all well and good, but one small caveat: this is all hypothetical. Atlético’s biggest challenge in reacquiring Costa always has been striking a deal with Chelsea. The Premier League champions are known as tough, skillful negotiators, and last summer no negotiation took place - Chelsea told Atlético to pay €60 million or get lost (which the latter did eventually).
According to the Daily Mirror, the price this summer is similar; reportedly, it’s €56 million. The same publication claimed that Atlético’s initial offer would be €30 million plus add-ons, which could bring the total fee close to the €36 million Chelsea paid to get Costa in the first place.
It goes without saying that the €56 million fee being floated is a non-starter for Atlético; that fee is far from the club’s valuation of the 28-year-old and puts him out of reach financially. Unlike last summer, Costa has tried to tank his value by putting Conte on blast and agitating strongly for the exit door. But so far, his current club is not intimidated by his tactics.
In short: this is going to take a while, and this saga almost certainly has more twists and turns in it. Swell.