LaLiga clubs were able to sign players until midnight on Friday, and Atlético were set for more talks with Chelsea earlier in the day as the two sides tried to strike a deal for Costa. The 28-year-old declared in June that Antonio Conte no longer wanted him and has since worked to pursue a return to Atleti — Costa has been on holiday in his native Brazil for the past 80 days and has so far refused to return to London to pay fines for missed training sessions and reconcile with Chelsea.
In addition to Costa’s refusal to fly back to England, Chelsea’s price and Atlético’s registration ban complicated any move for the 28-year-old. English and Spanish sources differ on exactly how much Chelsea demanded for their star forward, but a fee upwards of €60 million was mooted for most of the summer. Atleti — knowing Costa was not interested in a loan move and knowing that the ban would prevent him from playing before January anyway — decided to take their time in concluding the deal in hopes of reducing the fee, even with Costa training only sporadically in his hometown of Lagarto.
Well, time’s up. With the window shut, Chelsea have registered Costa for Premier League play and may do so for the Champions League — although those transactions will almost certainly be administrative in nature to fill out the numbers and prevent a possible lawsuit from Costa’s legal team. Atlético, meanwhile, will continue negotiations and will encourage Costa to end his cold war with the English champions in hopes of officially landing him within a fortnight.
As Costa’s arrival remains in limbo, Atlético will end the summer with just one signing: Vitolo, now “on loan” at Las Palmas until January. Atleti also welcomed back Luciano Vietto and goalkeeper Axel Werner back from loan spells at Sevilla and Boca Juniors respectively.
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