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Diego Costa to hand in transfer request

It’s the headline we didn’t get to write last year.

Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Diego Costa’s lawyer has confirmed that the Chelsea forward is set to request a transfer from Chelsea, with Atlético Madrid his stated destination.

Speaking with the EFE news agency, Ricardo Cardoso announced Thursday that Costa will formally request a move away from London. Cardoso said that the Spain international’s relationship with coach Antonio Conte had deteriorated to the point where staying at the club would be “impossible,” and that Costa’s legal team would engineer a move out of England at all costs due to the coach’s “disrespect” for the player.

Cardoso also took a pop at the Blues for extending Conte’s contract and refusing to defend a player who contributed significantly to two Premier League-winning sides.

“This discriminatory behavior makes it impossible for Diego Costa to return to Chelsea while Antonio Conte is the coach,” he said. “There is no condition so that he can continue playing at Chelsea.

“We do not support playing for a club other than Atlético Madrid, the club where he had sporting success, but mostly the club where he was always respected and thought of highly by all, even when he moved to Chelsea,” Cardoso continued.

Costa’s transfer request comes amid speculation that AC Milan were stepping up efforts to sign him, and the request is a step the 28-year-old did not take last summer when Atlético had reached a stalemate in negotiations with Chelsea. Atleti simply did not want to wait and instead completed a deal for Sevilla’s Kévin Gameiro. This summer, with Costa hanging out in Brazil wearing Gameiro’s France jersey, Atleti - theoretically - have been helped by the player’s steadfast insistence on pushing through a deal that the club has struggled to push through.

We’ll see if it changes anything about his situation.