Here we go with the drama again. After Sunday’s good vibes following the arrival of Antonio Rüdiger, we’re back to the reality of unresolved situations such as the future of Diego Costa.
Like the rest of the squad, Costa is expected to be back at Cobham today (Monday) for the start of pre-season training, but according to news in Spain, that’s possibly not going to be the case, with Costa going on strike instead — “has no plans for a plane ticket to England” — to pressure the club into figuring out a deal with Atlético.
AS’s report claims that Costa has agreed personal terms with Atlético already — we either knew or assumed this to be the case already — but just as before, the two clubs are nowhere near an agreement over a fee. Atléti’s latest offer was apparently €30m (£26.5m) but Chelsea have been holding out for at least £50-60m.
Reports a couple days ago indicated that Costa, who had been on the brink of an exit since January, was expected to show up on the first day of pre-season, even though at the start of the summer he personally received a text from Antonio Conte about not being a part of the Chelsea head coach’s plans for next season. But since that text flew through the ether, the situation at center forward has only gotten more muddled, with Chelsea missing out on Romelu Lukaku in spectacular style and seemingly reduced to a choice between handing the keys to Michy Batshuayi or making peace with Diego. Sure, outrageous sums may yet be spent on Álvaro Morata or Andrea Belotti or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang or whoever else, but at the moment, there’s nothing really happening in any of those situations beyond idle speculation.
But, it’s not so easy to un-burn the bridges. Costa understandably doesn’t seem to be jumping at the vague hint of an olive branch from the club, having made it pretty clear that he’s going to force a transfer through to Atlético even if they cannot register and thus cannot play him until January. In fact, it would appear that he’s willing to sit on the sidelines for four months, should a short-term loan not get arranged — recent rumors have floated the idea of a temporary move to Besiktas, but that seems to be based solely on Besiktas fans inundating Costa’s Instagram with over three million (3m!!!) comments imploring him to join their team.
Should Costa fail to turn up on Monday, Chelsea will undoubtedly start docking his wages, but the drama may just be beginning.