Diego Costa has told Chelsea that he wants to join Atletico Madrid in January, who are keen on doing a deal.
However, Chelsea do not want Costa to hang around at the club until January.
The 28-year-old Spanish international has been told by Antonio Conte that he can leave the club this summer.
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Costa was dropped from the Chelsea squad in January when his head was turned by interest from China.
He has since insisted that he will not move to the Far East and would only move to Atletico – but the issue with the Spanish side is that they are under a transfer ban and can’t register new players until January next year, so if they do sign a player – they could train with them but would have to wait a number of months before playing for them.
Costa is understood to be keen on staying with Chelsea before moving to Atletico – but The Blues are not convinced having him around would be beneficial to the squad.
No matter what, it appears that Costa has accepted he is leaving and Atletico are hopeful of doing a deal, at somewhat reduced terms given that they are the only team that the player wants to join. AC Milan remain keen, but again Costa has made it clear he wants to return to Atletico.
Chelsea accept that they will not get a world record fee for Costa from Atletico – something they would have got from China if he had accepted a deal to move to the Far East.
Bookmakers are convinced that Costa’s next club will be Atletico Madrid – and Ladbrokes make him Evens to be signing for the Rojiblancos.
Ladbrokes spokesman Richard Marsh told TheGamblingTimes.com: “He’ll have to spend a few months on the sidelines, but our odds suggest Costa will still rejoin Atletico to rid himself of Conte and Stamford Bridge.”