Chelsea Slap £44m Price Tag on Diego Costa as Atletico Distance Themselves From Their Former Star
Chelsea have slapped a £44m price tag on outcast Diego Costa after agreeing a £60m deal for Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata.
The Premier League champions announced on Wednesday that they were closing in on capturing the Los Blancos frontman and, in an effort to recoup some of that outlay, the Independent has reported that Chelsea will now demand over £40m for Costa from interested parties.
However, Atletico Madrid - thought to be front runners to land their former striker's signature - have distanced themselves from making a bid for him, according to the Daily Mirror, and such a move could end up leaving Costa in no man's land.
The Spain international was told by Blues boss Antonio Conte that he was no longer part of his first-team plans moving forward at the end of last season.
That decision from the Italian came six months after Costa's head had supposedly been turned by a mammoth bid from Tianjin Quanjin in the Chinese Super League - a January offer that put Conte and Costa at loggerheads for a few weeks before they set aside their differences and made up.
Despite the 28-year-old not having a future at Stamford Bridge though, Chelsea believe Costa can still command a hefty fee and are reluctant to budge on their current asking price.
Atletico have been seriously linked with a swoop for their former forward, but would not be able to register Costa for another six months as they continue to be plagued by a transfer embargo after they broke FIFA rules.
Any chance of Costa completing a romantic return to La Liga have also been downplayed by the club's president Enrique Cerezo, who was quoted by the Mirror as he revealed why a move for Costa may not be on the cards.
He said: "Diego Costa is a great player, he is magnificent. But, at the moment, he is a Chelsea player and you know that we cannot sign him.
"I have not talked to him for a long time, for at least a year, since he left I've spoken to him very little.
"He was in Spain for many years before, he's had a spell in England, learning English and I imagine he will return to Spain someday on vacation, why wouldn't he return on vacation?"
Costa filmed himself wearing an Atletico home shirt while on holiday in a seeming 'come and get me' plea, but question marks remain over whether he will depart for Los Rojiblancos this summer.