A transfer rumor of Diego Costa going back to Atlético Madrid is nothing new, but there’s a new wrinkle to it this time around.
Last year, the story was that Costa was unhappy in London and wanted to go back to Spain, but by the time all the pieces had aligned for Diego, Atléti had gone ahead and signed Kevin Gameiro instead. And so, Costa had to “tuck tail” and slink back to Conte, whom he informed of his intentions to leave as soon as the new coach had arrived at the club. Despite that auspicious start, the pair formed a productive partnership of goals and wins and eventually a Premier League title.
But in addition to the positive results, the second half of Costa’s season has also featured strong transfer links to the Chinese Super League, with Tianjin Quanjian supposedly ready to make him the highest paid player in the world. But that move may not be a done deal just yet, and according to the Telegraph, Atléti are back in the picture as well.
Unlike previous years, when Atléti strongly courted their former striker, they have been very quiet this year. So what’s changed?
First of all, head coach Diego Simeone has decided to stay. Despite rumors of Inter Milan, Arsenal and even the Argentinian national team, El Cholo will stay at Atlético for at least another season as they move into their new stadium. Simeone and Costa made for a wonderful combination before and would no doubt make for one again.
Second of all, it would appear that Simeone is intent on retooling his entire strike force this season (assuming that CAS lift their transfer ban). They already have a verbal agreement to sign Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon, as both Kevin Gameiro and Antoine Griezmann are expected to leave. Gameiro is in the shop window, while Griezmann himself has lent credence to the Manchester United rumors for this first time ever yesterday. That leaves local hero Fernando Torres, who’s 33 nowadays and nothing more than just a backup. Adding Costa to that mix, alongside Lacazette would certainly brighten Simeone’s day.
With Griezmann expected to fetch a world record fee, Atléti could certainly afford to repurchase Diego Costa. Chelsea in turn could use that money to repurchase Romelu Lukaku, while Everton have identified Málaga’s Sandro Ramirez as an option for his replacement. Sandro’s also been linked with Atlétio of course, because time is a flat circle and everything’s a rerun of a rerun of a copy of a copy of a rerun.