As the war between Chelsea and Diego Costa escalates, Atlético Madrid are standing on the sidelines, popcorn in hand, and watching the fun from afar. By all indications, they do remain interest in bringing back Costa and thus granting him his undying wish, but they are not exactly in a huge hurry. After all, they can’t register him until January and they probably (correctly) assume that the longer they wait, the better price they would get.
According Spanish newspaper AS, Atléti are waiting for a green light from Chelsea to start negotiations, though that green light would undoubtedly require Atléti to actually meet Chelsea’s demands over a transfer fee. According to different Spanish source, Cadena Ser, Atlético are willing to go as high as €38m (£35m), but that’s still well short of Chelsea’s valuation of £65m (£59m). Those numbers are both higher than reported in the Times (and elsewhere) recently, who claimed that Atléti were only willing to go as high as £26m and that Chelsea wanted £50m. Either way, the two teams remain quite far apart on the fee, though a few other earlier reports suggested Chelsea may be willing to lower that demand to something closer to £35-40m.
So until that happens, or if Atléti find more money in the proverbial couch cushion, this situation will remain at an uncomfortable impasse. Chelsea have reiterated their order for Costa to return to training, though that’s unlikely to be anything more than a ruse to avoid any charges of discrimination or unfair treatment from the bored lawyers, and also a convenient excuse for not paying the rebellious striker.