Atletico Madrid have offered Chelsea a club-record fee for wantaway Blues striker Diego Costa, according to reports.
Despite currently facing a transfer embargo and missing out on the 28-year-old in the summer window, the La Liga contenders have allegedly offered Chelsea an initial €55 million – which could rise to €65 million in bonus payments – to sign the forward in January.
According to Spanish national sports newspaper Marca, a deal to bring the Spain international back to his former club is likely, but is currently being held up by the Blues “playing hardball” as a result of Costa’s unprofessional behaviour over the past several months.
The Brazillian-born player is reportedly due to be owed up to five percent of any transfer fee, a sum the Blues are apparently unwilling to fork out in the event of a deal being made.
AWOL striker regaining fitness in Brazil
Costa has not returned to Stamford Bridge after being told earlier in the summer he would not feature in Conte’s plans for the new season, with the club and the player’s fractious relationship playing out in the press on several occasions over the past few months.
The fiery striker, who has netted 52 times in 89 league appearances for Chelsea and proved integral to last season’s title-winning campaign, has not played a competitive match for almost 100 days and is believed to currently be residing in Brazil, working under the tutelage of a personal trainer.
Make no mistake about it, it appears to be very much a case of when – not if – Diego Costa will officially depart the reigning Premier League champions.
Header image: “Diego Costa / Диего Коста” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Aleksandr Osipov