Chelsea have been in acquisition mode since new boss Antonio Conte arrived at the club from his role as Italy coach at the European Championships. Looking to bolster the London side’s attacking options, he likely didn’t plan on losing one of his best strikers.
The arrival of N’Golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi this month looked as if Conte was well on his way to rebuilding a Chelsea side that failed to impress up front last season. The arrival of these two new attacking players has done nothing, however, to quell the persistent rumours surrounding Costa’s future at the club following an indifferent season at Stamford Bridge.
While a suggested departure has merely resided in the realm of speculation, things took a turn towards reality when it was reported, via Italian news outlet Gazzamercato, that Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has claimed the 27-year-old Spain international is close to returning to his former club.
“We like him a lot, I’ll admit. We are talking to the player and working on him returning to Madrid. It’s close but I can’t say anymore.”
The comments from the Atletico supremo appear to leave little doubt that, at the very least, Costa is entertaining a move back to the club that saw him score 56 goals in 96 appearances for the Champions League runners-up.
According to ESPN however, Cerezo later denied the quotes attributed to him and the original story was amended by Gazzamercato to state that the Atletico president had said:
“We like him. We’re talking, but we’re working on various players.”
Chelsea fans will now be wondering just what the future holds for their star striker, Costa. It is clear from either set of comments by Cerezo, that the La Liga side have approached the player.
The question is, will he want to return to Spain and if so, how much will Chelsea demand for the player they forked out £32 million for only two years ago?
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena