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AS: Al-Rayyan begin negotiations with Diego Costa

The Qatari side have honed in on the 30-year-old as a possible marquee signing.

Lokomotiv V Atletico - UEFA Champions League Group D - Preview Photo by Mike Kireev/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Qatar Stars League side Al-Rayyan reportedly want to sign Diego Costa at all costs — and if Diego Aguirre’s side cannot acquire him in the winter, AS say, they will push for him again when the summer window reopens.

Located near the capital Doha, Al-Rayyan placed fourth in the Qatari league last season and qualified for the 2020 AFC Champions League’s playoff round. Former rojiblanco Mario Mandžukić nearly moved there last month, but that proposed transfer broke down during the negotiation of personal terms. Now, it appears they’re targeting Costa, and per AS have reached out to the player’s representation to discuss a contract.

It’s no secret that Costa is no longer the marauding, rampaging forward he once was for Atlético Madrid and Chelsea. His 2018/19 season kicked off with a brace in the UEFA Super Cup but was blighted by foot and muscular problems in addition to suspensions. And after a dynamite preseason, the former Spain international has gotten off to an inconsistent start to this campaign, too. While he appears fit and has a couple assists to his name, he has just a single goal from a single shot on target across seven appearances.

Costa retains Diego Simeone’s love and the Argentine fought hard for his return in 2017, but it seems the coach and the club have differing views on Costa’s future. AS report that Atlético do not want to lose him during the season. However, his contract expires in 2021 and he has one of the highest salaries in the squad behind only Jan Oblak. If Atleti’s hierarchy had its way, Costa would play out the season and move to the Middle East.

Atlético perhaps could get a replacement lined up in short order should Costa depart within the next calendar year. The club has long wished to sign Edinson Cavani, the Paris Saint-Germain forward who is now in the final year of his contract. The Uruguayan, however, seems close to a deal to join Inter Miami of Major League Soccer.

Simeone is also a fan of Valencia’s Rodrigo Moreno — who, of course, nearly moved to Madrid this summer — and interest in that deal could be reactivated.