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Diego Costa may or may not have returned to Chelsea on Tuesday — reports

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West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Speculation increased on Tuesday that Diego Costa is ready end his self-imposed Chelsea exile and return to Cobham as per instructions from the club (here’s the Guardian, for example, with this story). Presumably, Costa would train with the reserves as planned, though his mere presence could make things pretty awkward and could thus force along his transfer to Atlético (as the Spanish side are no doubt hoping by also urging Costa to return to Chelsea).

Costa, the proverbial class clown, was always a popular player in the dressing room and will undoubtedly be a welcome presence back at Cobham if and when he returns, but unless Conte can relax his hard-line stance (with Costa doing the same as well, not to mention get into some sort of playing shape), the return will not result in any actual playing time. That said, Costa did get registered in the Premier League (but not the Champions League, to appease Atlético) so you never know.

Reports earlier on Tuesday underlined Costa’s popularity, with the Telegraph claiming that many Chelsea players believe Costa is ready to end his “strike” and return to face the music. That narrative was turned up a notch or three when the Mail reported that Costa was already “back in London” but that article was deleted soon after and replaced by a story about South Sydney FC firing their coach (hilariously enough, the comments are still quite clearly about the Diego Costa story). The Mirror also reported this story, then changed it to say that “Chelsea sources insist Diego Costa has not returned to London”. The picture used by the Mirror, incidentally, is from last October (2016).

Supporting both the Mail and the Mirror’s original claims is a story from Marca (at least they used a picture from just a couple weeks ago) with associated claims that Costa’s return is purely to help formalize and finalize his move to Atlético, after he was urged personally to do so by Simeone, Filipe Luis, and others at the Spanish club. “Developments are expected in the coming weeks” which matches the timeline proposed by earlier rumors that Atléti wants this deal done and dusted before the end of the month.

So, Costa may or may not be back in London and we may or may not be finally getting close to finally finalizing the final chapter of his Chelsea story. And what a story it’s been! (And continues to be...)