Reports earlier today only indicated possible interest from AC Milan in Diego Costa, now we’ve got a potential transfer fee as well ... and it’s not the worst! It’s not what Tianjin Quanjian may or may not have offered — it’s about half that — but it’s also not what Atletico are supposedly willing to pay — it’s about double that. According to John Cross of the Mirror (not a huge fan of the Mirror as a source, but Cross is probably the best of that lot), the talks between AC Milan and Costa’s agent Jorge Mendes will be over a £40m move.
The idea that it’s an actual transfer rather than just a loan is also significant, though it doesn’t really fit with the previous narrative. Based on Costa’s words and his stated conundrum of what to do for the next 5-6 months, he’s all but set for Atletico Madrid in January. But if Milan are paying a hefty transfer fee, surely they’re not just buying him for six months and then selling at a 50 per cent loss. Costa did mention that he might be open to destinations other than just Madrid thanks to their transfer ban, but the overall understanding remains that he wants to be back at Atletico. Would Milan want to take on all that drama? Maybe, maybe not.
For Chelsea, a £40m transfer fee would be making the best out of a bad situation. Regardless of why or how the relationship between Costa and Conte/Chelsea devolved into what it is now, the club have been left with very little leverage. Sure, we could eat the contract and shutter away Costa in the Cobham dungeons for the next two years, but that would just be vindictive and stupid. We might as well try to get what we can out of him, and £40m would be a job well done by the suits involved.