Atletico on Costa/Player swap: Not interested… but we must sell to function

Diego Costa

There are mixed messages coming from Atletico Madrid regarding long-time Chelsea and Arsenal target.

When the transfer window reopens in the summer there may be a Premier League scramble for the signature of coveted goal machine Diego Costa, who either scores or assists once every 85 minutes every time he is on a La Liga field, on average.

Both Chelsea and Arsenal were continually linked with the Atletico Madrid striker before and during the January market, yet the player remained at the Vicente Calderon.

Believed to be obtainable for a £33m fee, Costa, 25, is regarded to represent value for money as whoever purchases him next - if he is to be sold - will get the benefit of his peak years as an athlete.

Considering the dearth of striking options at Ashburton Grove and Stamford Bridge, together with his proven reputation at the highest level - his goals are proving vital in Atletico's quest for top honours (they are currently third in the Primera Division, three points shy of Real Madrid) - both clubs may begin a dialogue with the club in July.

Chelsea, though, were alleged to have an advantage in that one of their loan stars Thibaut Courtois, has been equally as significant in Atletico's form this season as Costa and the club are keen to extend his stay permanently.

Could a player-plus-cash swap deal benefit both parties, therefore?

'We don't want to use any player as a bargaining chip for some other player,' said Enrique Cerezo, Atleti chief, as quoted by Sky Sports. 'You can see this in that we never sell but other teams come for our players. I don't believe Diego Costa is leaving the club next season, we won't sell him next season, but that won't stop other clubs from wanting him.'

Technical director Andrea Berta added hope by remarking that for the balancing of their books, selling an asset is an inevitability. The only question is when…

'We are a company and in order to keep functioning properly, must sell each year. However, we believe we can keep our players for at least one more season.'

image: © Carlos RM

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch