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Costa’s cunning Atletico plan ruined by meddling Conte text message — report

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There are all sorts of angles and unanswered questions in this Diego Costa situation — motivations, machinations, methods ... none of it is at all clear for any of the parties involved — but here’s an interesting take from Marca, who tell a story of Diego Costa’s cunning plan being ruined by Conte’s now infamous text message.

In a development that should surprise nobody, Marca claim that Costa (and agent Jorge Mendes) were once again working on a return to Atletico already, but once Atleti’s transfer ban was confirmed (about a week prior to the drama), were hoping to low-key delay that until January or possibly next summer — January transfers are problematic for many reasons. Conte’s text message however smashed those well-laid plans to smithereens.

Marca aren’t saying that Conte’s text was motivated by Costa’s latest planned exit shenanigans, but it served to defeat those plans just the same. They’re not offering any theories for the text itself, which also weakened Chelsea’s negotiation position in any potential transfer not just for Costa but Lukaku as well. It’s entirely likely that both Chelsea and Costa were looking to end this relationship and somehow managed to make a right old mess of it.

Costa and Mendes are now back to the drawing board, claims the report, even while Chelsea insist that it’s the club who’s in charge, not the player. That may be a bit too naive for modern football, though it sounds like what Costa has to decide first and foremost is how to handle the next six months before he can be registered as an Atletico player. Los Colchoneros apparently already have a work-out plan and trainer waiting for him should he decide to simply bide his time until the winter transfer window, and also have assured that Spain national team coach Julen Lopetegui would not consider that a fatal blow to Costa’s chances for making next summer’s World Cup squad.

Marca also seem confident that Atleti’s £20m low-ball just might be good enough to get a deal done — presuming they’re actually still interested after playing all coy yesterday. For Chelsea, perhaps the smartest course of action at this point would be to take the deal and get the drama over with. It’s hardly ideal, the £20m, but the damage potentially caused by all this dragging on the rest of the summer could be immeasurably greater.