The future of Chelsea striker Diego Costa appears to be away from Stamford Bridge, with his former club Atlético Madrid believed to be in pole position to re-sign the fiery forward. Despite the La Liga side's transfer ban being upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, they are able to sign players in this summer's window and then register them as squad players in January 2018.
According to reports from Marca, Atléti are looking to follow up their signing of Sevilla's left-winger Vitolo with Costa, who has expressed his desire to return to his former club following a troubled spell with Premier League champions Chelsea. Blues boss Antonio Conte wishes to part company with Costa, despite his impressive record of 52 goals in 89 league appearances.
While Costa appears to be a fine option for the Blues on paper, the reality of the matter is that the Spanish international has endured a turbulent time at Stamford Bridge. Despite garnering adoration from many fans as somewhat of an anti-hero, his passionate performances have often been a hair's breadth away from spilling over into outbursts of undesirable petulance and rage.
Racking up a series of bans during his Chelsea tenure for various acts of violent conduct, Costa's behaviour has arguably marred his potential to be a striking great for the Blues. Atlético will know exactly the player they will be signing, and manager Diego Simeone will be confident of harnessing the player's talents at the new Wanda Metropolitano stadium next season.
Antonio Conte has reportedly allowed Costa to miss pre-season training with Chelsea, which all but seals his move away from the West London club. Costa previously claimed that he had been informed by the Italian that he was surplus to requirements at the club, via the rather impersonal medium of a text message. It appears that their already fractured relationship is beyond repair.
Chelsea will now turn their attention towards signing a new starting striker, having missed out on Manchester United's new £75m signing Romelu Lukaku. Real Madrid's Álvaro Morata, Borussia Dortmund's Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Torino's Andrea Belotti lead Conte's shortlist to succeed Costa, however the Blues will face stiff competition to sign any of their desired choices.